Here's What No One's Telling You About the 1-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream You See Everywhere

Here's What No One's Telling You About the 1-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream You See Everywhere

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Meghan Splawn
Jun 21, 2018
(Image credit: Leela Cyd | Kitchn)

We're declaring this the Summer of Nice Creams, and you're all invited to join in on the fun! Nice creams aren't anything new — we wrote about the most famous one of them all, one-ingredient banana ice cream, years ago — but they're finally coming into their own as a category of dessert.

Nice creams are cool and creamy treats made from frozen fruit (and sometimes a little almond or cashew milk). Their resulting texture means you can pretty much enjoy them just like ice cream. The "nice" in nice cream comes from the fact that they are vegan and free from artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, and added sugar.

So what is there left to say?

Well, before you kickstart your summer of nice creams we wanted to talk about some of the things that go unsaid about these dreamy vegan desserts — because, for how delicious they are, they're still pretty much the cauliflower pizza crust of dessert, which means you've got to reset your expectations. But don't worry! Only good things are to come when you do.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Nice Creams Are the Cauliflower Pizza Crusts of Dessert

In the years since Faith wrote about one-ingredient banana ice cream, many commenters have been quick to point out that this icy banana treat is by no means ice cream. By definition, ice cream requires cream, and this recipe has none. Technically you could call it sorbet, but even that is a far stretch from the truth: Banana "nice cream" is not ice cream. One reader put it perfectly in the following comment:

"Following the directions makes a perfectly creamy texture LIKE ice cream. Does it taste like vanilla ice cream? No ... it's not made from CREAM!" — Iso-Ziti

Making banana nice cream and hoping it will taste just like ice cream is a short path to disappointment. We've got to say it because the expectations are sky high! Here's what you do have to look forward to: Banana-based nice creams are incredibly creamy, but they don't carry the heaviness you find in dairy or even coconut milk-based ice creams. Because a frozen banana is always the base (it's what provides the creamy texture) whether it's in strawberry nice cream or a mango number, the banana flavor is always present to a certain degree.

As far as textures go, banana ice cream is more like soft serve, which means it will also melt at a similar rate. Keep that in mind if you're a slow eater. You might end up with a pool of sweet, creamy banana smoothie if it's especially warm out!

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Why You Should Still Try It

Much like cauliflower pizza crust doesn't quite capture the chewy, crave-worthy crust of traditional pizza, banana ice cream isn't going to replace the experience of dairy-based ice cream. Does this mean you should skip making it? Absolutely not! My two young children eat banana ice cream with exuberance, in part, I think, because I don't lie about what it is — we call it fruit cream in our house and it's a regular treat. With expectations managed, everyone's happy!

Fruit-based nice cream, be it banana, mango, or strawberry, certainly has its place in your frozen treat repertoire. Nice creams are thrifty, since they don't require a special piece of equipment and make the most of frozen or past-its-prime fruit. And they are most certainly refreshing and delicious all on their own.

Read more about nice creams: Wait, What Is Nice Cream?

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