This ice cream continues to baffle me with it’s deep complexity and addicting flavor! The whole idea came about during a conversation with a good friend, first we were talking about alternative sweeteners, which lead to her telling me that she loves roasted bananas for dessert. I thought roasted bananas sounded like a good base for ice cream, and we were off and running with ideas for spices and toppings!
I thought about adding cardamom or maybe even cinnamon, but ended up going with vanilla bean, (it’s my favorite spice). I used the entire vanilla bean in the base of this ice cream – that’s right, the whole pod (not just the seeds) gets blended up for incredible depth of flavor. If you’re using a high powered blender like a Vitamix, you don’t even need to strain your ice cream base. The pieces of vanilla bean are so small you don’t notice them, but you can run the ice cream base through a fine mesh sieve if you’d like!
Tip: Try to buy your vanilla beans from the bulk spice section in your local health food store – it’s much cheaper, and you can buy them as you need them for best freshness! For me the price difference is about $1.50 each (at the health food store) vs. $4.00 each at the grocery store spice section!
For the bananas, peel and cut them in half lengthwise. Then brush them with a small amount of avocado oil and place them flat side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brushing them with oil is critical, otherwise they tend to stick to the parchment paper in a sticky gooey mess, (I wonder how I know that)!
After you’ve roasted them, they’ll be a nice golden brown. I had a couple of black ends where the banana was thinner, and I just cut them off so the ice cream wouldn’t be bitter.
The first batch of bananas I tried, I didn’t set a timer and filled the house with black smoke, (my charred little bananas ended up in the trash). The moral is to set your timer and check regularly toward the end of the baking time! I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong impression, this is a really easy recipe as long as you don’t leave the bananas in the oven for an hour whilst you’re outside grilling!
Once you have your caramelized bananas, place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Feel free to strain the mixture if you think your blender didn’t quite get it smooth. It’s really important to thoroughly chill your ice cream base before freezing it because the bananas are still warm from the oven. Otherwise, your freezer canister will melt before your ice cream is completely frozen, which will make for an icy ice cream.
When your ice cream is done churning in the machine, it will look like the above left hand photo. If you dip a spoon in, the ice cream will be more set up, stay on the spoon, and not slide right off. Finally, transfer the ice cream to a container and place it in the freezer for a firmer texture.
This ice cream will turn rock hard after it’s fully frozen, simply place it in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes before eating it for the best softened texture. Once you’ve softened it again the texture does remain in tact, (nice and creamy) it just gets too hard to eat when it’s fully frozen!
And… while this ice cream is perfectly good on it’s own, I never know when to leave ‘perfectly good’ alone, so there’s caramel sauce too! Since caramel sauce is such a good basic recipe to have around, I’m giving it to you separately, (Double Salted Coconut Caramel Sauce) because it needs to go on everything!!!
- 4 ripe bananas, yellow with a few black spots
- avocado oil for brushing
- 1 - 13.5 ounce refrigerated can coconut milk (Native Forest is great)
- 1 additional refrigerated can of coconut milk, cream skimmed from the top of the can
- 1 whole vanilla bean, cut into ½" pieces
- ⅓ cup Grade A maple syrup (more or less to taste depending on how ripe the bananas are)
- ¼ Teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel and cut the bananas in half lengthwise. Lightly brush them with avocado oil and place them flat side down on the parchment paper.
- Roast them until golden, 15-20 minutes, being sure to check often towards the end of the baking time.
- When the bananas are caramelized, set them aside until they're cool enough to touch.
- Meanwhile add the rest of the ingredients to the blender. Just to clarify, you're using 1 whole can of refrigerated coconut milk + only the cream from the second can of coconut milk. You can reserve the extra coconut liquid for another use like a smoothie.
- When the bananas have cooled, add them to the blender with the rest of the ingredients, and blend until smooth. Strain the ice cream through a fine mesh strainer if your's isn't completely smooth, (I didn't need to strain mine).
- Thoroughly chill the ice cream base in the refrigerator, 3-4 hours, before freezing.
- Freeze the ice cream according to your machine's instructions. This recipe is sized for a 2 quart ice cream machine. The ice cream is finished when it starts to set up, and it will stay on a spoon without sliding right off.
- Transfer the ice cream to a container, and place it in the freezer for a firmer texture.
- This ice cream will freeze hard as a rock after it's fully frozen, and you'll need to soften it for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator before eating.
This ice cream is great served with my Double Coconut Caramel Sauce!
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