Hellooo good lookin’.
Rarely do I eat desserts, but one of my very favorites has always been ice cream. So it was pretty tragic when I discovered I was lactose intolerant last year and that one of my beloveds was a cause of my body’s unhappiness.
My husband isn’t lactose intolerant though, so there was no reason he couldn’t keep getting sweet treats from our favorite ice cream shop. He definitely didn’t adopt a sympathy dairy-free diet, and I don’t blame him. I mean, c’mon… ice cream.
Obviously any time he would get ice cream I would take a few tiny nibbles. I mean, c’mon… ICE CREAM. A few tiny nibbles was all my stomach could handle though. And let’s be honest, a few tiny nibbles is almost worse than eating none at all!
But because of the magic of frozen bananas and food processors, I now have a vegan (and healthy!) homemade substitute for my precious lost ice cream.
Basically, nice cream is frozen bananas that have been blended into sweet, creamy bliss. And really truly, that on it’s own tastes pretty fantastic. But when you start getting a little fancier with the flavor add-ins you can create some ridiculously incredible stuff.
For the first So Much Yum nice cream recipe I decided to go with rocky road. Which is kind of an odd choice because I actually didn’t like rocky road ice cream growing up (though my sister loved it). As I’ve discussed in previous posts, I was more of a vanilla gal. Plus NUTS in ice cream? Seven-year-old Melissa was like UM NO.
My palate has slightly evolved since my childhood though, and nuts are now allowed in desserts. Chocolate is also an acceptable replacement for vanilla at times.
A wonderful thing about nice cream is that it’s so easy to whip up and there’s no need for an ice cream maker! Plus it’s way healthier than regular ice cream, or even most vegan ice creams for that matter.
One super important thing to take note of for this recipe is the almonds. They MUST be toasted. The toasted almonds help provide that classic rocky road flavor, which is obviously important. Otherwise it would be chocolate nice cream with irritating, flavorless crunchy bits. And to that, twenty-seven-year-old Melissa would be like UM NO.
Almost all sliced almonds you’ll find aren’t pre-toasted, at least in my experience, so I included toasting instructions in the recipe below to assist with that vital component. No excuses! Toast those almonds.
As far as the marshmallows go (also an important part of rocky road), if you can’t find vegan ones or don’t care as much about keeping the nice cream 100% vegan, then regular mini marshmallows would work just fine. I used Dandies Marshmallows, which I found at Whole Foods Market, but Trader Joe’s also carries their own store brand of vegan marshmallows. Those ones are regular size though, not mini, so you’d have to chop them up. Totally doable, but I’m all about convenience. Gimme the minis please.
This rocky road nice cream is so perfect for warm summer days, and won’t ruin your summer bikini body! 😉 Unless you eat the entire batch in one sitting. But I can’t be held responsible for that.
- 6 extra large (~800g) ripe bananas, pre-sliced and frozen
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp agave
- ½ cup sliced raw almonds, toasted (see directions below)
- 1 cup vegan mini marshmallows
- If sliced almonds not already toasted: Preheat oven to 350°F. Evenly spread almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool completely.
- In a food processor, blend the frozen bananas until completely smooth and creamy. This will take several minutes. Scrape down the sides and lid as needed. You may need to blend in two batches if your food processor is small.
- Add cocoa and agave, and continue processing until completely combined.
- Transfer banana mixture to a large bowl. Add almonds and marshmallows, and stir to combine.
- Scoop nice cream into a freezer-safe container (I use a metal loaf tin), cover with plastic wrap (I also wrapped mine in a plastic bag for extra cold protection), and freeze for at least 4 hours or until at desired firmness. If left longer (overnight or for multiple nights), the nice cream will continue to harden slightly but will still be scoop-able with an ice cream scoop. Nice cream can also be eaten right away without refreezing but will be more like soft serve (which is as equally delicious).