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Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream: Banana Ice Cream with Chocolate Speckles

July 7, 2013

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I have a confession.  I actually hate bananas – as a fruit that is.  On the other hand, I absolutely love the flavor of bananas whether it’s banana pudding or banana bread or caramelized bananas fosters.  So of  course, as I flipped through the pages of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream book and saw the recipe for a banana ice cream with caramelized white chocolate speckles, I knew that I had to make a batch immediately.

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The recipe follows the standard Jeni’s tried and true egg-less formula of using corn starch and cream cheese to create a reliable base.  A puree of bananas added an intense flavor and what makes this recipe so special is the addition of chocolate speckles.  With no white chocolate on hand, I decided to make do with semi-sweet chocolate instead.  After all, bananas and chocolate has long been a great partners-in-crime.

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And how do the speckles make it into the ice cream?  With the magic of coconut oil.  Remember those chocolate shells that formed a shell when you poured it generously over a bowl of ice cream?  Well, the true magic behind is the chocolate sauce is one simple ingredient, coconut oil.  The oil becomes brittle when cold so when you pour the chocolate sauce made with coconut oil into the ice cream maker as it churns the ice cream, little speckles form evenly throughout.

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After the ice cream finishes churning and at least four hours in the freezer later, the banana ice cream was ready to be shared.  I decided to build a sundae with chocolate dipped Belgian waffle cookies and a little bit of the leftover chocolate bombe shell poured over the ice cream goes a long way.  There is something so wonderful about shattering the shell with the back of your spoon and digging into the creamy sweetness.

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And now, for the recipe…

Jeni’s Banana Ice Cream with Chocolate Speckles

Makes about 1 quart

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out, seeds and bean reserved
  • 2 ripe bananas (I used more like 3)
  • 1/2 recipe Chocolate Bombe Shell (below), warmed
  1. Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.  Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.  Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
  2. Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla seeds and bean in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
  3. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat.
  4. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.
  5. Cut the bananas into chunks and puree in a food processor.  Blend the bananas into the hot cream mixture.
  6. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath.  Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the vanilla bean.  Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.
  8. When the ice cream is ready, drizzle the warm chocolate into the opening at the top of the machine and continue spinning until it is completely incorporated.
  9. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid.  Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Chocolate Bombe Shell

Makes enough to coat 6 to 8 scoops

  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  1. Combine the chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler and heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is almost melted.
  2. Remove from heat and stir until completely melted and smooth.  Let cool and then store, covered in the fridge.  The chocolate will keep for 3 weeks.
  3. To use, you can melt by leaving it in a warm place for half an hour or so, then stir until smooth.  Or scrape it into a bowl and set it in a warm bowl of water, let stand and stir occasionally.  You can also melt it in the microwave, heating it for 20-second intervals and stir often.  Do not over heat.
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