Treatsie Tuesdays! (Chocolate Banana Ice Cream)

Holy. Stinkin’. Smokes.

I’m almost speechless. I mean, really. I just sat here for about 10 minutes with my curser blinking, longing for me to type out a description of this magical concoction, but I’m too busy trying to pick my jaw up from the floor.

This ice cream is knock-your-skirt-off fabulous. (Was that a little brash? I apologize. I can get that way when I’m stunned from delicious desserts. Please excuse my misdemeanor.)

Here’s the deal. The title sounds simple, right? Chocolate Banana Ice Cream. What could be the big deal? Most of us have experienced a chocolate and banana combo once in our lives. And it’s … good. But, I’m telling you. This ice cream is not just good. It’s explosively delectable – and I have no idea why. Maybe it was just what my taste buds demanded in that moment. Or maybe it was the fact that it was a pretty grueling day on the emotions, and this ice cream was just the thing to pick me up. Emotional eating, anyone? Yikes. Maybe it’s that it was blazing hot out and all I wanted was to not be sweating profusely from my armpits. (Ice cream is a top runner in my anti-sweat campaign. Oh – you didn’t know I have an anti-sweat campaign? Well, I do. It’s … a work in progress. We’ll get there.)

Regardless of why this tasted so amazing, it has changed our life a little bit. Andy, who is loyal to the bones about his Orange Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, said it was the best ice cream he’s ever had. Say what?! (I really need to stop doing that. Trying to be all ghetto. Jeesh.) This boy dreams in orange-infused chocolate. He’s a sucker for it. So the news of his adoration for this frozen cream left me at a loss. Wow. This stuff has power.

Let’s talk about the ice cream, shall we? It’s super smooth and very creamy. It’s the real deal, made from homemade custard. No cutting corners with this guy. He’s all calorie-laden and completely worth it. It has a deep chocolate flavor with a subtle banana undertone. There are no chunks. There are no bells, whistles, or harmonicas involved. There are just the simplest of ingredients that meld together to form a paradox of simply complex flavors. It is the kind of cream that is good all on it’s own. It doesn’t cry out for toppings or whips or drizzles. It is so beautifully independent. And it deserves every second of spotlight.

Remember when Andy and I went to Vermont a few months back for a wedding? I wrote about our trip to The Special Place and our ice cream cone treats. I had Chocolate Banana, and it was unreal. I wanted to try and recreate it. So, Andy and I did our research, then went out and got an ice cream maker (best investment ever).

I have a special guest photographing with me today. He’s tall and handsome and has kissable lips. (Not for you. Just for me. He’s all mine.) It’s the one and only … Andy!

*Special Note: Some photographs have man hands, and some have lady hands. Andy wanted me to ensure you that his hands are indeed manly and the lady hands are not his. They are mine. We traded cooking and photographing every once in a while. Cuz we’re a team like that.

Alright, let’s dig in. First up! The victims… mwah, ha, ha, ha, ha. (So creepy.) You’ll need: Half and half, sugar, eggs (you’ll only want the yolks from these bad boys), unsweetened cocoa powder, a banana, and a pinch of salt.

Now, you want to add your half and half to a medium sized pot. Slowly heat it over low – you do not want it to boil. Check on it periodically while your working on assembling the other ingredients.

While that is heating, work on separating your eggs. And yes, I do mean work on it. Poor Andy had some troubles trying to separate the yolk from the white. Want to see?

Yep, that yolk is on its way to the whites bowl. After multiple attempts, we decided to switch spots. He’d photograph. I’d separate.

Do you know how to separate the yolk from the white? All you do is crack the egg, gently pull the shell apart in half, and slowly rock the yolk back and forth between both sides, allowing the white to fall into a bowl underneath. Please put a bowl underneath. Your counters don’t desire to be covered in egg whites. You can even keep the whites and make a meringue! Or mousse! Or an omelette!

Once you’ve got your egg yolks in the bowl, add in some sugar, a pinch of salt, and cocoa powder.

Grab your banana, peel it, and mash it all up. Feed it to your baby, if you have one. Then grab another banana, peel it, and mash it all up – this time adding it to your cocoa mixture.

Whisk it all up, my friends.

Now – you’re going to need to add the hot cream to this mixture, but listen up. That cream is hot – and your eggs are cold. When cold eggs interface with hotness, they cook. We don’t want scrambled egg ice cream. Blech. What we need to do is temper it.

Dunk your 1/2 c. measuring cup into the hot cream. (Please don’t scald yourself. Be careful.) Now, while whisking your cocoa egg mixture, slowly drizzle the hot cream into the batter, whisking constantly. This is going to slowly heat up the yolks, but not flash-cook them. Soon your batter will be warm and your eggs will turn custardy and not scrambly.

Repeat this until you have a half cup of cream left in the pot. Return the pot to the stove over lowish heat.

Grab a strainer and put it on top of your pot. Slowly pour your batter through the strainer and into the pot. This will remove any clumpage from the bananas or over-heated cream. It’s not a necessary step, but it allows the ice cream to be super velvety.

Heat that up over medium-low heat and stir constantly until custard-like and can coat the back of a spoon. (About  7 minutes for me.)

Now, here’s the hardest part. You’ve gotta pop that sucker in the fridge and let it chill for a few hours. I know, I know. I wanted ice cream right away, too! But it really won’t freeze right if goes into the maker all hot. It’s got to cool down. Be patient, dear friend. Go watch a movie, or clean the bathtub, or go on a bike ride, or snuggle with your children, or scrub permanent marker off your walls (Marissa!), or call a friend. These things will help you in your waiting.

Once your few hours is up, you get to churn your ice cream!

Umm … well … you see … the thing is … I don’t have photos of the ice cream churning process. 😦

I know. I’ve let you down. But, you see, I was hanging out with Andy and sometimes we have too much fun together and I forget to do important things like photograph steps to Treatsie Tuesday. Please don’t be mad. Just make this ice cream, eat it, and you’ll forget that you were even upset with me.

I’ll tell you that I used a Cuisinart ICE-21 model ice cream maker. It works magically. And is one of the best rated on Cook’s Product Reviews. They know their stuff.

Churn your ice cream and enjoy! Straight out of the maker, it was so creamy. It set up real nice, and when you gave it a taste, it would melt perfectly on your palette – sort of similar to a frosty. After a few hours in the freezer, it will harden more like ice cream.

Also – this could be really great with agave nectar instead of sugar. I tossed around using agave, but decided I would use sugar since it was my first time. If you’d like to substitute agave nectar, use 2/3 cup agave for every 1 cup of sugar.

It’s amazing, as is. But you can get jazzy and give it a good drizzle of salted caramel sauce and a sprinkling of chocolate confetti.

My friends? Enjoy.

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

(from All Recipes)

I halved the recipe to serve just Andy and myself, with a good cup of leftovers. This recipe should yield about 8 servings.

Also, the first four ingredients make up your ice cream base. Play around with other ingredients to make various flavors. Omit the cocoa, add a splash of vanilla and substitute fresh mashed strawberries to get strawberry ice cream. Take out the banana and add in chopped peanut butter cups and pretzels near the end of the churning process to get a fun spin on chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream. The sky is the limit.

4 cups half-and-half cream
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 bananas)

Instructions:

Pour the half-and-half cream into a heavy saucepan, place over medium-low heat, and heat until barely simmering, stirring frequently. Turn the heat down to low.

Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, salt, cocoa, and banana in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.

Slowly pour about 1/2 cup of hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Repeat three times more, whisking thoroughly before adding each additional 1/2 cup of hot cream to the egg yolk mixture. Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot cream, and whisk constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens and will coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 8 minutes. Do not let mixture boil.

Pour the ice cream base into a bowl and allow to cool in the refrigerator for a few hours. Once chilled, pour into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Remove the ice cream and enjoy! Pack the leftovers into a freezer safe container. Freeze for up to 2 months.

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