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Eat It: All-Natural, 100-Calorie, No-Fat 'Ice Cream'

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I love to read food and healthy living blogs in my spare time. In the last few weeks, I've been seeing the same frozen treat pop up in various incarnations all over the healthy living blogosphere: banana soft-serve "ice cream."

With a mild intolerance to lactose, I can't even glance at ice cream without getting a bellyache. I rely on soy and coconut versions when I have a craving, but the former have an ingredient list as long as my arm and the latter are expensive! When I heard that there was a way to make soft-serve ice cream with no dairy, no cholesterol, no artificial ingredients, no added sugar and no preservatives, I was intrigued but skeptical. Then I saw the results on one of my favorite food blogs.

I decided to give it a whirl. To prepare, I cut up three bananas and put them in a plastic container in the freezer over the weekend. Last night, I broke out my food processor and whipped up a batch of Easy, Breezy Banana Soft Serve.
Served with a drizzle of homemade chocolate syrup on top, this was a simple and decadent dessert.

My 17-year-old meat-and-potatoes eating brother cleaned his bowl, and so did my ice cream snob of a boyfriend. The proof is in the (frozen banana) pudding!

There's really no recipe involved, but the instructions and some tips are below.

Freeze some bananas. (I froze four so I could have four servings, but freeze as many or as few as you'd like.)

Place frozen bananas in the bowl of a food processor. (NOTE: This doesn't work with a mixer or blender, so you have to have a food processor.) Pulse several times to break into smaller pieces, then turn on and run for about five minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

The bananas will start to resemble soft serve in a few minutes. It will be chunky and gooey at first and will clump together, but after a few minutes, it will take on a pale yellow, fluffy texture.

Transfer to a bowl and place in freezer for about 15 minutes, if you'd like, or serve immediately. (Makes four 1/2 cup servings)

Serve with your favorite chocolate syrup or ice cream toppings. I mixed a tablespoon of real maple syrup with about 2 t unsweetened cocoa powder (60 calories, 0.5 g fat), but you can use another chocolate syrup or enjoy it plain. The boys want to have this again tonight, and they want to have some peanut butter on top!

Each serving has about 100 calories, depending on the size of the banana you use. If you need a recipe, you can find one here.

Other serving suggestions:
  • This would be a neat, healthful dessert for a dinner party. Make the "ice cream" just before guests arrive, then put in the freezer until dessert. Serve a variety of healthier toppings: Raisins, granola, coconut flakes, berries, low-calorie chocolate sauce, chopped nuts or a drizzle of peanut butter would all be delightful!

  • Or, use this banana ice cream as the basis for a banana split. Forgo the ice cream and banana and top three scoops of soft serve with crushed strawberries, chocolate sauce and crushed pineapple. Add a few chopped peanuts, a small squirt of whipped cream and a cherry. You'll save tons of fat from the ice cream and still get that banana flavor.

  • Mix mini chocolate chips or peanut butter into the bananas before serving.

  • Place a scoop of your banana mixture between two graham crackers (try chocolate ones!) and roll the edges in nuts or granola. Freeze for an hour, then serve. VoilĂ ! Ice cream sandwiches.

Would you try this recipe? What is your favorite better-for-you dessert?