Have you all jumped on the “nice cream” bandwagon yet? Although there isn’t a technical definition, nice cream is a frozen dessert, similar to ice cream, without dairy, eggs, or sugar. It usually consists of blended frozen fruit and, if any, natural sweeteners.
The most popular is the banana based nice cream which is just blended frozen bananas. I know, I totally didn’t believe it either until I tried it for myself one day. It truly turns from hard, frozen banana chunks into a creamy soft serve in just a matter of minutes, no additional ingredients necessary!
It’s a wonderful way to use up those overripe bananas. You know, the ones that are good for nothing but banana bread? I can’t eat a banana unless it’s half green. Once it turns yellow forget about it. My kids are the same. My husband is the only one “weird” one who can care less what color it is. He even eats them after they’ve turned black and mushy. So gross. Thankfully, this nice cream doesn’t taste anything like the overripe, mushy bananas that first go into the freezer!
The chocolate crust is adapted from my Raw Brownie Truffles, except I used pure maple syrup as the sweetener in this recipe instead of dates. It makes for an easy no-bake cookie layer, just perfect for these bars. Plus, the less we can use our oven in this summer heat, the better!
Made with wholesome ingredients, these bars make a delicious and nutritious summer treat! I hope you enjoy, friends!
- Brownie Crust:
- 4 cups raw chopped nuts, like almonds or walnuts (I used 3 cups almonds & 1 cup walnuts)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 2-4 tablespoons melted coconut oil, more or less may be needed and will depend on the nuts used
- 4 cups thoroughly frozen ripe bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
- **This makes an 8x8-inch pan and approximately 16 bars. If you do not need that many bars, you can half the recipe and use a loaf pan or make individual bars in a muffin tin.
- Line two 8X8-inch pans with plastic wrap and set aside. Don't worry if you only have one, you can just repeat the step using the same pan. In the bowl of a food processor, blend nuts together with the salt until coarse and crumbly. Don't blend too long or you'll end up with a nut butter! Add the cocoa powder, and maple syrup and pulse until combined.The dough begins to slow down the processor so continue to stop and scrape down the sides if needed. Keep a close eye and make sure it doesn't get stuck or it could blow the motor out.
- Depending on the nuts you use, you may not need much coconut oil, if any. Some nuts, like walnuts, are naturally oily and don't require much extra. The amount of coconut oil is just to get the mixture to hold together. If mixture is dry after mixing in the maple syrup, add one tablespoon at a time just until chocolate mixture holds together, like a dough.
- Remove mixture and divide in half. Press one half of the dough into each of the plastic lined pans. If you only have one, spread the first half into the 8-inch pan and press to flatten, making sure to get every corner and edge. Put into the freezer for a few minutes to set while you wash out your processor for the nice cream. After a few minutes, carefully remove the pressed brownie square in the pan, cover the top with plastic and return to the freezer on a flat surface. This is the top of the sandwich layer. Line the pan with more plastic wrap or parchment paper and repeat the same step with the other half of the dough, but you can leave the bottom layer in the pan.
- In the clean processor, add the frozen banana slices. Blend bananas until it becomes thick and creamy, like soft-serve ice cream. This takes several minutes and will require lots of stopping and scraping down the sides. It may look like it needs liquid, but don't add any. After a few minutes the bananas will be completely smooth. I always use really ripe bananas, so it's usually sweet enough as is, but you can blend in a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup if you'd like it more sweet.
- Spread the banana ice cream into the chocolate layer in the prepared pan. Top with the other layer in the freezer and press it down gently to adhere to the ice cream. Cover and freeze for several hours, preferably overnight.
- When fully frozen, lift the bars in the plastic wrap out of the pan. Cut into squares. You can dip the edges of the bars in cacao nibs, chocolate chips, sprinkles, additional nuts or just leave plain. Store bars in an airtight container in the freezer or wrap them individually in plastic wrap. To serve, remove bars from freezer and let sit at room temperature for 3-5 minutes to soften a bit. Makes 16 two-inch bars.