Hot and hazy days call for an ice-box favourite ─ say it is so, “ICE CREAM!” Sweet, creamy and undoubtedly refreshing, who wouldn’t want to indulge in this summertime favourite? I know I do, but with another ‘seasonal must’ beckoning ─ teenie weenie swimsuits ─ dreaded bouts of foreseeable guilt supersede advanced signs of temptation. Fortunately, sunny days remain bright with an evasion of processed “sugar-free” and “fat-free” alternatives in exchange for homemade batches of fruit-flavoured frozen treats.
Recipes abound, there’s no shortage of instructions that call upon the usual suspects ─ sugar, cream, eggs, vanilla ─ and use of an ice-cream maker. Having both the ingredients and the machinery ‘chez-moi,’ the common necessities aren’t an issue. What it really comes down to, however, is the “s” word ─ SUGAR! And so, I continue to scour the net and happily find an effortless frozen recipe that calls for two things: bananas, and a food processor. Ultimately working with a blank canvas, be brave and personalize your soon-to-be congealed treat with tasty additions ─ dash of cinnamon, a handful of nuts for added crunch, and even a tablespoon or two of either peanut butter or Nutella.
Starting with the basics, follow these steps: first peel and slice ripened bananas, then place cut pieces into a freezer-proof container, and freeze for a few hours or overnight. How many bananas? Good question! As a rule of thumb, you can start with three but, just remember: if you use more, you’ll get more. So, it really depends on how large a batch you seek. Once frozen, place the banana slices into a food processor and keep pulsing ─ about three to five minutes ─ until you yield a smooth consistency likened to soft-serve. Finally, enjoy this naturally sweet delight immediately or store it in the freezer ─ once again ─ for a more solidified confection. Requiring minimal ingredients but resulting in superior taste, it truly doesn’t get any easier than this. So easy, in fact, I couldn’t resist dividing my potassium-rich batch into two and by proceeding to blend it with some cocoa powder ─ ‘et voilà,’ my very own chocolaty banana ice-cream.
Hooked on something wonderful, why stop now? Equally achievable, making homemade strawberry and blueberry frozen yogurt is next on my list. Courtesy of Just A Taste, I adhere to directions that call for three ingredients: four cups of berries, ½ cup of yogurt, and three tablespoons of honey. Like the banana recipe, begin with your choice of frozen berries and pulse the fruit using a food processor. Catering to my taste, I combine the frozen fruit purée with ½ cup of thick and creamy Balkan-style yogurt, in addition to Manuka honey. So far so good, I pour the vibrant batch of semi-frozen yogurt into a temperature-safe container and leave it in the freezer to solidify. That’s it ─ done and done!
As for overall impressions, taste is not an issue so much as texture. Clean and refreshing to the palette, both berry-inspired frozen yogurts are light and far from saturated ─ no cream, no refined sugar, no problem? Not quite! As any ice-cream maker well knows, sugar helps reduce the formation of ice crystals. Honey, on that note, has purposefully been incorporated into this somewhat health-conscious recipe. Making a valiant appearance, however slight, the ‘sweet stuff’ ─ agave nectar or other sweetener ─ does not share similar proportions as one would typically find in the rich custard original. That said, the absence of fat and white sugar in this recipe indicates a less than creamy outcome that fares closer to a ‘granita.’ Needless to say, this fro-yo recipe may cater to some but not all. On the plus side, there’s no denying this: bright authentic taste of hand-picked strawberries trump any artificially-packed tub load. So is fro-yo a go go? I’d say so! It’s definitely good as-is, and worth repeating using an ice-cream maker, at least for curiosity’s sake ─ churn baby churn!
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