Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter “Ice Cream”

By Ann Fulton

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Those who know me are keenly aware of my fondness for ice cream! (I actually have some very funny stories that center around this beloved frozen treat…will have to get into that later!) Anyway, to satisfy my nightly cravings, I have developed a pretty fabulous chocolate smoothie but am always on the lookout for other creamy, sweet alternatives. Some time ago, I reworked a recipe I saw using frozen bananas and Nutella to rave reviews from my toughest crowd–my kids! I substituted chocolate peanut butter that I found at our local farmers market and added a couple other things to heighten the chocolate flavor and improve the creaminess. I loved it, and my older son–who doesn’t even like bananas–wanted seconds!

As often happens over time, I rework recipes.  I learn a lot by tinkering with my recipes, adding or subtracting an egg in a baked good, varying proportions of certain ingredients, and so on. This chocolatey frozen treat has, likewise, evolved.  I am including the original recipe below the printable version of my new post.  It is an enhanced version of the original and more accessible in terms of the ingredients.  Additionally, when I first started making this faux ice cream, I would add a little milk to make it creamy.  What I have since realized is that, if you blend the frozen bananas long enough, what initially begins as dry crumbles of banana will magically transform into a creamy soft serve.  From there, you may add the mix-ins for this decadent tasting flavor or any of my other flavor combinations!

Simple click on the following links for other flavor options:

Strawberries and Cream “Ice Cream”

Honey Peanut Butter “Ice Cream”

Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter “Ice Cream”
Although I have used a mini processor for this frozen treat and it does work, a full size version works best. A high-powered blender, like a Vitamix, handles the frozen bananas well, too. If using a mini processor, allowing the banana to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly is helpful. Or use the milk trick described in the notes below.

Yields 2-3 servings.
  • 3 large bananas, cut into chunks and frozen
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
  • Honey or sweetener to taste (I use a couple teaspoons honey, adding at the end and tasting for just the right amount.)
  1. Place the bananas in a food processor and process. The bananas will begin to look like dry crumbs, not a creamy soft serve. This is good. You may have to stop and stir the fruit a few times as the bananas often form a clump. (see notes)
  2. When you reach the “crumb” stage, add all the remaining ingredients except the honey or sweetener of choice. I gently mix the cocoa powder into the banana mixture, just enough so that it doesn’t poof up when you start the processor.
  3. Enjoy immediately as you would soft serve ice cream or store in freezer. This will freeze hard like regular ice cream. When I make extra to store in the freezer, I let it sit at room temperature a few minutes to soften before serving.
  • The mixture will become creamy, but if you have trouble waiting, you may slowly drizzle milk (any kind will do) through the feed chute until a smooth and creamy consistency is achieved. I used to always do this–no more than a few tablespoons–but now I keep processing, stopping to stir the bananas and scrape down the sides occasionally, until the magical moment when it all comes together as “ice cream”!
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For anyone who might still want the old recipe, here it is:

Original Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter “Ice Cream”

3 bananas, cut into chunks and frozen
1/2 cup chocolate peanut butter (see note)
chocolate milk for thinning (almond, soy, or regular)
1 rounded tablespoon cocoa powder

Place bananas and peanut butter in food processor and process until the mixture starts to blend. Drizzle chocolate milk through the feed tube while machine is going. I used approximately a quarter cup but this may vary depending on the size of the bananas and the consistency you prefer. Add cocoa powder and stir into mixture slightly before processing to fully incorporate. This will prevent the cocoa powder from wafting up and sticking all over the sides of your food processor!

At this point, it will be a soft-serve consistency and is ready to eat. A couple hours in the freezer and it will have the consistency of regular ice cream and be “scoopable”. It will eventually freeze very hard and will need to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften.

Note: You could substitute Nutella. I was also thinking a honey-flavored peanut butter would be good. You could try that with or without the cocoa powder.

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