To my surprise, the scrumptious gourmet dishes I've been enjoying lately didn't come and haunt me relentlessly during my meditation hours, as I almost expected they would. There is one thought, however, that kept sneaking in there inadvertently from time to time: that of Heathy's lovely Blueberry Cardamom Ice Cream which I made shortly before I left. Of course, it was all gone by the time I got back (bad, bad Don!), so one of the first things I whipped up was a batch of plain vanilla and carob ice cream.
In a moment of sheer inspiration (and no doubt feeling particularly naughty and dessert deprived), I decided to serve these in a Banana Split - something I hadn't had since my childhood. Whoa! This was beyond delish and would cause any Dairy Queen to blush in shame!
The Best Banana Split Ever
Bananas (1 per serving)
Andy's Vanilla and Carob Ice Cream (or your favorite raw vegan Ice Cream)
Your favorite Chocolate Sauce, gently warmed up
I'd been meaning to try the following recipe for ages. Totally outstanding in both taste and texture!
Vanilla Ice Cream Base:
Posted by andypdx on Raw Freedom Community
1 Cup cashews (no need to soak)
1 1/2 Cup water
1/3 Cup raw agave
1/4 tsp salt (+/-)
1/3 Cup raisins (This is the secret ingredient that imparts the rich/buttery flavor)
1 vanilla bean
1-2 Tbsp Cacao butter or Coconut oil or young coconut meat
Take all the above ingredients and blend in Vitamix for a couple of minutes...or at least until all the solids have blended away.
NOW, pour the mixture through a sprout bag. This will catch all of the tiny cashew/vanilla bean particles, and make the final product much more silky smooth.
Now, you have a perfectly good vanilla ice cream base, but who wants to eat plain ol' boring vanilla!?
At this point, I add any of the following to the base...
Carob (about 2 Tbsp)
Cocoa nibs (a small handful)
Raw cacao powder mixed with cocoa butter
The exact quantity of each of the above ingredients will vary based on taste and the quality/moisture content of your ingredients, but I usually add anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup total volume at this stage in the game.
Now, place the ice cream base and your flavorings back in the Vitamix, and blend just long enough to get everything mixed well.
At this point, it is best to 'pre-chill' the mixture. If you simply dump the mixture into the ice cream maker now, it won't set up properly, and it will be less firm than even soft serve. Place it in the fridge for a few hours, or if you've gotta gave that ice cream ASAP (trust me, I've been there!), put the mixture in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. You want it to be cool, but not to the point where ice crystals are starting to form. (SPECIAL NOTE: do not use the ice cream maker 'bowl' to do the pre-cooling. The base will freeze to the bowl, and the batch will be ruined.)
When the mixture is sufficiently cool, pour it into the ice cream maker, and let it go! After about 20 minutes or so, it should be ready!
~ I used less agave than Andy calls for and closer to 1/8 tsp salt.
~ I didn't feel up to passing the mixture through a sprout bag. The texture was still awesome!
~ Andy was right about the raisins, they do give a delicious buttery flavor, however, they lend the ice cream a slightly darker shade than you'd expect for a vanilla ice cream.
~ As I don't own an ice cream maker (putting an early order for Santa right now, though!), I poured the mixture in ice cube trays. It did the trick. I could have blended the resulting cubes in the Vitamix but didn't bother.
For the Chocolate Sauce, I used Heathy's version which she says she makes all the time. It's easy to see why, it is fantastic! Her recipe will be going in the raw dessert ebook she's working on so I can't share it with you. However, Karen Knowler shared this favorite recipe of hers with her readers this Easter. Sounds mighty yummy!
Thick & Dreamy Chocolate Sauce
By Karen Knowler
Oh-My-God. That’s really just about all I can say.
• ½ cup raw chocolate powder*
• ½ cup agave nectar*
• ½ cup raw cashew butter*
• 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1. Simply place all ingredients into your food processor (this works better than a blender) and process into a thick runny chocolaty goo! It’s a miracle! About 2 minutes worth of pouring and whizzing for the most amazing creation ever.
RAW COACH TOP TIPS
• This is awesome as it is – just by the teaspoon (!) – but could be used as a dip for fresh strawberries or other decadent fruits, or as a drizzle for a fruit salad or raw cake or fruit pie.
• Freeze in ice-cube trays for instant cool chocolate chunks!
• Add one frozen chunk to a smoothie or nut milk for instant choco-ness!
• Why not add some raisins and/or nut pieces into the mixture for something a little more, um, “fruit ‘n’ nut”– like?
• This mixture should keep well and happy in the fridge (covered) for a few days without any issues whatsoever. (If it lasts that long).
• Oh, the possibilities are endless!
• PS: Who needs a copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” anyway?
Banana Split Assembly
Carefully slice a ripe banana in two, lenghtwise and place on serving plate or bowl.
Add a few scoops (or pieces) of vanilla and chocolate ice cream.
Drizzle with warmed up chocolate sauce.
Top with chopped walnuts.
Enjoy without a hint of guilt!
Doing a bit of research, I just found out that the classic banana split is made with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream, pineapple, chocolate sauce, walnuts, sometimes whipped cream, and the infamous cherry on top. Ah well... Guess now I have no choice but to make some more. Dang!