While most people claim that they could never go vegan because they couldn’t give up cheese, my main hesitation always centered around ice cream. Growing up we had ice cream as our nightly dessert more often than not, and in the summer we were pretty much daily patrons of the ice cream man. The constant availability of “Lobster Tracks”, “Moose Tracks” and “Deer Tracks” ice cream at every meal once I got to Colby definitely didn’t help me kick the habit, and I never thought I’d be able to quit eating ice cream completely to go vegan. (Am I talking about ice cream like it is a drug? Maybe. But, hey, I really liked ice cream.
Luckily, despite popular belief, being vegan doesn’t mean giving up all the foods you’ve ever loved and eating exclusively kale salads and chia seeds (although, to be honest, I do eat my fair share of kale and chia). There are vegan versions of pretty much every food and (for the most part) they are delicious. Grocery stores sell an amazing variety of vegan ice cream options and even Ben & Jerry’s is working on developing vegan flavors! The two main things that helped me adjust to the vegan ice cream life were getting an ice cream maker (thanks Jeff and Michelle!) and the discovery of FoMu, an all vegan ice cream parlor 10 minutes away from my apartment. In fact, FoMu may have made the transition a little too easy, since now I’ll pretty much eat there at any chance I can get.
Making vegan ice cream was the first time I actually thought through food science principles to develop a recipe. It was really interesting to be able to put my chemistry degree to good use and think through the interactions between the different ingredients. My original plan for this post was actually to talk about the science behind making a good vegan ice cream, but I bought a copy of Between the World and Me this morning and I can’t stop reading it long enough to type that up right now, so I’ll save that lesson for my next ice cream recipe.
Roasted peanut butter banana was one of my favorite flavors at FoMu, but unfortunately they recently discontinued it. I was sad to think that I would never get to taste it again, so I pulled out my ice cream maker in an effort to recreate it at home. Banana and peanut butter is one of my go-to snacks and this ice cream pairs the two perfectly for a rich and creamy treat on these disgustingly hot and muggy days. It’s a peanut butter flavored base made with coconut milk, with chunks of oven roasted banana and peanut butter ribbons throughout. While I’ve thankfully moved past my ice cream a day habit, it’s always good to have a recipe in the vault for when the ice cream cravings hit hard.
For the Peanut Butter Ice Cream Base:
- 1 can coconut cream**
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/4 tsp salt
**Coconut cream is a thicker, higher fat variety of coconut milk. It’s essentially a can of only the thick part of the coconut milk that usually settles to the top of the can. This is different than cream of coconut, which is a sweetened version used for drinks like piña coladas and will not work in this recipe. If you are unable to find coconut cream, you can just use a second can of coconut milk instead**
For the Peanut Butter Ribbons:
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
For the Roasted Banana Pieces
- 1 banana, peeled and halved lengthwise
- coconut oil, for drizzling
- Combine the coconut milk and coconut cream in a saucepan over low heat and gently whisk until the fat and liquid are combined.
- Add in xanthan gum, sugar, vanilla and salt and continue to whisk until the mixture starts to thicken slightly.
- Remove from heat and carefully poor the mixture into a blender and blend for 30 seconds. **This step is optional, but I really think it helps to develop a creamier consistency**
- Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. While it is chilling you can prepare the roasted bananas and peanut butter ribbons:
For the peanut butter ribbons:
1. Combine peanut butter, coconut oil and powdered sugar in a small sauce pan.
2. Stir well over low heat until thoroughly combined.
3. Pour mixture onto a piece of parchment paper and place in the freezer
4. After around 15 minutes, remove it from the freezer and slice it into smaller 1-2″ pieces
5. Leave the pieces in the freezer until adding into the ice cream
For the roasted banana pieces
1. Place the halved bananas on a baking sheet
2. Drizzle lightly with coconut oil
3. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes
4. Remove from oven and cut into smaller 1″ pieces
5. Remove from the refrigerator and stir briefly. The mixture will be very thick, almost a pudding consistency and stirring it will help break that up into more of a heavy cream consistency.
6. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers instructions, for mine it takes around 20-25 minutes to reach the right consistency.
7. Once the ice cream is approaching its desired consistency slowly add in the peanut butter ribbons and roasted banana pieces and allow the churning of the ice cream maker to distribute them throughout the ice cream.
8. Depending on your ice cream maker and how long you churn it for, you may want to freeze the ice cream for a little longer until it reaches a more solid consistency.
9. If you don’t devour it in one sitting, store the ice cream in an air tight container to prevent the development of ice crystals. This ice cream tends to get very hard when it sits in the freezer, so be sure to give it ample time to thaw (or microwave it for a few seconds at low power) before scooping it.