Nice cream

Let me dive into the delicious subject of 'nice cream' with you, sharing my tricks for this healthier version of ice cream.

Before we start, let me introduce myself. My name is Alicia and I am a 32 year old food blogger from Belgium. I live in Brussels, together with my 3 cats, and I grew up in the United Kingdom living off British boarding school food, which gave me a special relationship with classic British food. Give me a good old apple crumble with custard over a fancy crème brûlée any day! I love to cook and experiment in the kitchen, as well as recreate traditional recipes with my own little twist. My favourite foods are dim sum and homemade pasta, the latter of which I really enjoy making myself. You can follow my foodie adventures on Instagram under the name @aliciasfood and find my recipes on my blog.

But what is nice cream?

OK OK, well nice cream is the best of both worlds: a delicious, ice cream treat, but with none of the sugar and dairy content of a regular ice cream. The first time I had nice cream was a few summers ago. A friend made it for me and I was so surprised at how easy it was to make. Let me dive into this delicious subject a little deeper with you…

How do you make it?

The best thing about nice cream? You don’t need an ice cream maker or churner to be able to enjoy this snack. KitchenAid has an ice cream bowl attachment that makes it super easy to make your own ice cream at home, but it has to fit in my humble freezer. Which means that I can’t have anything else in it. Which will never happen. So until I have a bigger space for a bigger freezer, I will be making nice cream instead. So what DO you need? Just a blender! I made mine with the K400 blender from KitchenAid and it really works a treat! A food processor is also an option, but the blender makes for a smoother result.

Honestly, I have nothing against regular ice cream but sometimes you need something lighter and faster to make. So how do you get it so sugary and dairy-free without losing the creaminess and sweetness of a regular ice cream?

Simple: bananas!

Bananas bring a creamy texture and sweet flavour to your healthy nice cream but they keep it light as well. The trick is to freeze the bananas and make them act like the element that cools and freezes all the other ingredients too, so the texture becomes like ice cream.

Today I have two different recipes for you. One is banana based and, for all you non-banana-lovers out there, I also have a non-banana-based nice cream, which not only stays creamy, but also brings summer flavours to your table whenever you need it!

The banana nice cream is a chocolate one, kind with nut butter. I chose peanut butter but you can choose any type you like. I also tend to go for the natural butter, that does not have too much sugar in it, so I can tweak it myself later with liquid sweeteners, such as honey or syrup, if I want.

The second one will take out the bananas and replace them with any frozen berry you like. I like to grab a bag of mixed frozen berries to satisfy my cravings, but you can mix and match - or not - as you prefer! This recipe also contains any type of yoghurt you like. You can go plant based, to keep it dairy free, or you can give regular yoghurt a go. Personally, I really like coconut yoghurt for this.

So once I’ve made it, how do I serve it?

This depends on your preferences. Either serve the nice cream straight from your blender, which will make it a little smoother, or you can place it in the freezer for a bit in a container, or small oven tray, which will help firm it up so you can serve it in real ice cream scoops.

The smoother version is best served like a smoothie bowl. That way you can just top it with your favourite toppings: chocolate chips, honey, almond slivers, grated coconut, fruit… the list goes on.
But, if you prefer the scoops, then you can definitely choose to serve it in an ice cream cone. Perfect for getting kids to eat more fruit!

Chocolate Banana Nice Cream

Ingredients:

For the nice cream
• 3 bananas
• 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 tablespoon of nut butter
• A nice splash of (plant-based) milk
• 1 tablespoon of honey / syrup

Toppings
• Almonds slivers
• Dark chocolate chips

Cut the bananas into chunks and place them on a tray, lined with baking paper, in the freezer for a couple of hours. Once frozen solid, place them in the beaker of the KitchenAid K400 blender with the cocoa powder and nut butter and the optional splash of (plant-based) milk. Blend until smooth on medium speed for a minute or so.

Serve immediately, or place in a container, cover it, and leave in the freezer for around an hour before serving in scoops. Top with suggested toppings, or others, according to your preferences.

Berry Nice Nice Cream

Ingredients:

For the nice cream
• 200 g of frozen berries
• 200 g of (plant-based) yoghurt (I suggest coconut yoghurt!)
• 1 tablespoon of honey

Toppings
• Extra frozen berries
• Some honey

Blend together the frozen berries, the (plant-based) yoghurt and the honey until smooth in the KitchenAid K400 blender. This should not take more than a minute, on a medium speed. Once blended, add into a container, cover it, and place in the freezer for an hour or two. Remove, break into pieces and re-blend for a great texture! Serve with the extra toppings. You can also serve immediately after blending for a faster nice cream.

OK, this was yummy, what’s next?

Next, you let your imagination run free! Create combinations that you enjoy with ingredients you love. Experiment during summer with seasonal ingredients, combine bananas with other fruits or freeze other fruits to combine with your favourite (plant-based) yoghurt. And, finally, you can go extra crazy with toppings! Seeing as this nice cream is so… nice, maybe your toppings can be a little more naughty than usual?

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