Banana Chocolate ‘Ice-Cream’

Hey, look – I’m writing a real post.  With a recipe and everything… craziness, I know.

So, I was looking for an easy toe-dip kind of recipe to start with.  Something the kids could help with and enjoy, something that wouldn’t heat up my house on a hot day, and something that wasn’t horribly unhealthy.  I had no idea where to start.

And that’s where Disney Junior stepped in.

Yep, you heard that right.  This recipe is being brought to you by a Disney Junior informative commercial.  (Please don’t judge.)

In this commercial a mom (I think), and her son, make a delicious ice-cream style treat out of bananas – the boys were intrigued and I thought it looked easy and fun.  So off we went.

The Recipe

Banana Chocolate ‘Ice Cream’ adapted from Disney Junior

4 bananas, sliced and frozen

2 T greek vanilla yogurt

1/2 t vanilla extract

1 T unsweetened cocoa powder

Makes approximately 1 pint.

In a food processor, pulse bananas until broken into small pieces.  Add the rest of the ingredients and let processor run until smooth and creamy.  Serve immediately as soft serve or freeze for several hours for a regular ice-cream consistency.

The Results

I didn’t really remember much from the Disney Junior commercial except the frozen bananas in a food processor.  So, I started by having the boys chop bananas, place them in a Tupperware, and then froze them all.  Seemed like a great idea until I went to dump them out and this happened:

A giant frozen rectangular block of bananas.

A giant frozen rectangular block of bananas.

Hmmm – I’m thinking next time to freeze them on a cookie sheet individually, since this did not break up well in the processor.  Eventually, with the help of my trusty pick-axe (or butter knife), I got these into smaller pieces that could be chopped up.

Pulsing was the best way to get things started – and then I realized that the bananas were staying pretty dry and crumbly.  I wanted to add something wet and healthy to get the creamy effect, so vanilla yogurt and extract it was.

The idea of adding the cocoa powder came at the end.  Because seriously, why not?!

And it was borderline genius, I tell you.

When we sampled the finished product after mixing, it soft, creamy, and lightly chocolate-y flavored.  The banana was the star, but the chocolate added a depth to it that I found quite enjoyable.  The boys liked it a lot, too.

We decided to freeze the bulk of it for later that night.

When we pulled it out, it was pretty solid – so I recommend letting it set out for a bit before serving.  At this point, it tasted just like a regular banana ice cream – with a chocolate twist.  Very satisfying and very delicious.

(Though for those chocoholics out there like me, I’m thinking doubling the cocoa would be fantastic.)

It's going to take a while to get my picture skills up to snuff, but for now, here's the finished product.

It’s going to take a while to get my picture skills up to snuff, but for now, here’s the finished product.

Chocolate Wafer Ice Cream Sandwiches

Did you know it’s been a whole…um, oh, 4 posts since my last chocolate dessert?

(Really?  Only 4?  Well, that’s not nearly as long ago as I was convincing myself of yesterday.)

Hmmm, I’m thinking I just wanted an excuse to make a chocolate recipe (though really, it being a Thursday is reason enough around here).  Plus I was in the mood to cook alone – I mean, as much as I love my boys and I love working with them in the kitchen, it’s much easier to bake on my own: less mess, less arguing, and less noise.

And sometimes, I just need a little time to myself.

So, I looked in my cupboards, googled the ingredients I had on hand…and came up with this delicious summer treat.  (What can I say, I’m an eternal sunshine optimist in this rainy land.)

The Recipe:

Chocolate Wafer Ice Cream Sandwiches, adapted from smittenkitchen

(Makes about 50 wafers and 25 small ice-cream sandwiches.)

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

3/4 c unsweetened dark cocoa powder

1 c plus 2 T sugar

1/4 t salt

1/4 t baking soda

14 T (1 & 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened

3 T whole milk

1 t pure vanilla extract

1 quart vanilla bean ice-cream

Combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and baking soda in the bowl of food processor and pulse several times to mix thoroughly.  Cut the butter into about 12 chunks and add them to the bowl.  Pulse several times. Combine the milk and vanilla in a small cup.  With the processor running, add the milk mixture and continue to process until the mixture clumps around the blade or the sides of the bowl.  Transfer the dough to a large bowl or a cutting board and knead a few times to make sure it is evenly blended.

Form the dough into a log about 14 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter.  Wrap the log in wax paper or foil and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour, or until needed.

Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.  Cut the log of dough into slices a scant 1/4-inch thick and place them one inch apart on the lined sheets (cookies will spread).  Bake, rotating the baking sheet from top to bottom and back to front about halfway through baking, for a total of 10 to 12 minutes.  The cookies will puff up and deflate; they are done about 1 1/2 minutes after they deflate.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on racks, or slide the parchment onto racks to cool completely.

(These cookies should crisp as they cool. If they don’t, you’re not baking them long enough — in which case, return them to the oven to reheat and bake a little longer, then cool again.)

Once cooled, pull out ice-cream container and let sit out for about 5-10 minutes to get soft.  Place one scoop on a cookie, top with another, and gently press to evenly spread ice-cream.  Wrap in plastic wrap and put in freezer for at least 10-20 minutes.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

I turned up a little music and had a great time singing and dancing away while making these.  (Sorry no videos for your enjoyment – really you should thank me for that.)

I was excited to use my food processor instead of the KitchenAid  – for two simple reasons; one, it is much quieter, and two, everything’s contained – so no mess!  Making the dough was a snap (though do not get tempted to add a little extra milk when the dough doesn’t seem to come together as you like.  It may cause a very sticky dough – just hypothetically, that is.)

I’d also suggest wrapping your dough in wax paper, not aluminum.  The foil really wanted to to stick to my dough (though probably my own fault), and I had a hard time slicing my cookies on it (again, my fault – probably could’ve moved to a non-stick surface).

My sticky misshapen log of chocolate.

Now, a lesson I learned (that should’ve been obvious) – the more misshapen your log, the more misshapen your cookies.  So you may want to take some time to form an actual cylindrical log.  Mine was not – and many of my cookies were funky shaped.

But I did have a few that were just fine – and they were all set to accept their duty as a vessel for some cold creamy ice-cream.

Now, I have to say these sandwiches were absolutely wonderful.  The crispy wafer cookies get just a teeny bit chewy in the freezer – which actually makes the sandwich even better!  The cookies are not overly sweet, so they pair perfectly with the sweet ice-cream.  Everyone loved them (even if it was only 50-something degress outside).

I also want to let you know that I did not, in fact, make 25 sandwiches, so I had plenty to enjoy by themselves – and they are also very good on their own, too.  Dark, crispy, and quite addicting…yum!

The best thing about this recipe, is that it’s almost like a base recipe that you can change up for your own personal preferences… change up your ice-cream to mint chocolate chip or strawberry or anything your little heart desires.  Hey, you could even add a little mint or coconut extract to the cookies and really play around with flavors.  You just cannot go wrong.

So, go forth this lovely holiday weekend and make yourself a treat.

I know you deserve it.