My little family and I returned from a trip to Michigan a few weeks ago and the boys developed colds just a few days later. I know from growing up in The Mitten that the weather patterns can be unpredictable, but I truly didn’t expect snow in the middle of May. 🙂
Nolan, like many little ones, I assume, is not one for much eating when he isn’t feeling well, especially if he’s complaining of a sore throat. I didn’t have to think too long about a special treat that I knew would cheer him up and provide him essential nutrients: nice cream!
My nice cream formula is easy to make if you have some frozen bananas on hand, which I typically always do. In a recent Bountiful Basket, we ordered thirty-eight pounds of bananas, most of which we peeled, chunked, and froze. I’m ready to whip up nice cream at a moment’s notice!
I decided to make this batch using cherries, for a few reasons. First of all, cherries are in season now. I wish I could have brought some back from Michigan—the United States capital of cherries, if you didn’t already know—but my family spoiled my boys with nearly more gifts than I could transport back to Arizona, so I bought some here instead. 🙂 Secondly, cherries are loaded with antioxidants and known to aid with sleep, which the boys tend to get less of when they aren’t feeling well. This nice cream was bound to be a win-win before the fruit hit the blender. Lastly, I missed cherries! Haven’t done much with them since my first-ever pie from scratch. We were overdue for more cherry deliciousness.
I topped Nolan’s nice cream with vegan whipped cream—made from coconut milk—but you could opt out to save on the sugar. The splurge—which also included a melted dark chocolate bar drizzle and mini-chocolate chips—was totally worth it to see my sick babe smile.
FORMULA BASE: NICE CREAM
- 2 frozen bananas (or fresh bananas and ice)
- ¾-1 cup specialty ingredients –> I’m using 1 cup of pitted sweet cherries.
- ¼-½ tsp extract of choice (optional, and amount depends on flavor intensity) –> I’m using ¼ tsp almond.
- Pitted medjool dates as needed for sweetness –> I’m not using any.
- Juice or plant milk until desired consistency (start with just a splash) –> I’m using a touch of almond.
- ¼ cup extras for mixing in by hand (optional) – think nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc. –> I’m topping my nice cream with mini-semi-sweet chocolate chips (vegan).
If you plan to make whipped cream to accompany your nice cream, place a mixing bowl in the fridge to chill while you prepare the other components. Start by pitting your cherries. This device saves some time, but your hands will do just fine.
Combine all ingredients (except the extras) in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Scoop the mixture into a bowl and fold in any extras you are using by hand. Cover and place in the freezer while you prepare your toppings (if any).
Whipped coconut cream:
- 1 can coconut cream or full fat coconut milk
- Powdered sweetener to taste (start with ¼ cup) –> I’m using a heaping ¼ cup of powdered turbinado. You can easily make powdered sugar out of higher quality vegan sugars by using the dry blade on your Vitamix or other high powered blender. (Remember, white, refined sugar lacks nutrients and flavor and tumbles with bone char to achieve its color. Definitely not vegan.)
- ¼-½ tsp extract (depending on flavor intensity) (optional) –> I’m using ½ tsp vanilla.
- 1 pinch-¼ tsp spices (optional) –> I’m not using any.
Chill your can of coconut cream/milk in the fridge overnight. After your nice cream is tucked away in the freezer, prepare your powdered sugar and remove your chilled mixing bowl from the fridge.
Empty the can into the bowl and whip with a hand or stand mixer until smooth and creamy, about a minute. Add sweetener (and extract and spices, if using) and continue whipping until smooth and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. This whipped cream will not quite achieve the height and stiffness of dairy whipped cream, but it will become a bit fluffy nonetheless. Store any extras in the fridge.
Assemble your nice cream sundae and absolutely, enjoy!