I love freezer treats. But to be honest, popsicles and ice cream are not always the things that I crave in the heat of summer (I mean, sometimes, but not often). Even though I still do eat them occasionally, the high amount of sugar and dairy products leave me feeling just bleh for the 24 hours or more following the indulgence. Yes, 'bleh' is the best way to explain it, but to be more detailed, I get headaches (not brain freezes) and my stomach gets all weird and bloated and sick feeling. So yeah, I don't always reach for them when I go to the freezer for something cold in the summer, but this is why I often keep my own homemade treats on hand.
With summer coming up and the heat slowly turning on here in Oregon, I have been needing to stock up on some freezer treats, especially chilly, refreshing ones. After having a mass of overripe bananas recently, I wanted to do something fun with them (other than doing the usual and freezing them for smoothies), so I thought, 'why not make nice cream?'. And then - since you all know I love food bars and eating with my fingers- I thought to myself "why not nice cream bars?!".
So here you go! Refreshing banana nice cream bars.
The base is a rich, creamy, nutty, protein and healthy fat filled nugget and the top is a chilly, slushy, banana-y sweet nice cream. I like to enjoy these in slices, cut them up into little bites and keep them in the freezer for mini treats, or to use as toppings. I hope you enjoy them! Stay cool, my friends.
Banana Nice Cream Bars
Total Preparation: 20 minutes, ready to eat in 8+ hours
Serves: about 10 1" thick slices
Gluten free, soy free & dairy free - can be made vegan
Banana nice cream:
- 3 large, overripe bananas
- 3 Tablespoons coconut water (or coconut/ other nut milk)
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup dried coconut flakes (unsweetened)
- 1 Tablespoon flax seeds
- 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
- 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 Tablespoon collagen powder (see notes for vegan optional substitute)
- 2 Tablespoons & 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 Tabelspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- extra coconut flakes as topping (optional)
- To make the banana nice cream, blend the bananas and coconut water (or liquid of choice) together until smooth and creamy.
- Pour mixture into a shallow dish and stick into the freezer to chill while the crust is being made.
- To make the crust, in a clean/different blender, blend together all of the crust ingredients except the coconut flour. Pulse, scrape side of blender of mixture, and then continue to pulse and repeat until it is blended together well. (It will be very thick and dense so I repeated this step quite a bit.)
- Pour the 'dough' into a mixing bowl. Add the coconut flour and mix.
- Line a bread loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the bread loaf pan. Continue to press the crust down until it is even and very firm. (This makes it so that the banana mixture does not leak into your crust.)
- Take the banana nice cream out of the freezer (some parts will be frozen but most will still be a liquid) and pour/ scrape it over the crust.
- Pat the pan down a few times to pop any bubbles that may be in the banana nice cream from pouring and to evenly distribute it over the crust.
- Sprinkle some coconut flakes over the banana nice cream. Pat the pan on the counter a few more times to allow the coconut flakes to settle into the banana mixture more. (This step is optional.)
- Freeze for at least 8 hours, or until the banana mixture is fully frozen.
- To enjoy, take the whole bar out of the pan by pulling up on the parchment paper sides. Then cut it into slices (like you would a loaf of bread) or into bite size pieces.
- Enjoy immediately or keep in the freezer until you do.
To make vegan/vegetarian: Substitute 1 Tablespoon of a different flavorless protein powder or nut flour of choice instead of using the 1 Tablespoon of collagen powder (step 3).
Make sweeter: The crust is a rich, nutty, savory flavor that, alone, some people may think is too bitter. The naturally sweet banana nice cream balances it out when eaten together, but if you want to make the crust itself sweeter, add 1 or more Tablespoons of honey, coconut sugar, agave, or maple syrup to the base when blending it (step 3).
Other toppings: Other things such as dried, chopped nuts, seeds, cocoa nibs, coconut sugar, or a nut butter drizzle would be great over the top as well or instead of the coconut flakes (step 9).