Growing up, my grandparents, aunts, and my family all went camping together over the 4th of July in Lone Pine, at the base of Mt. Whitney. The campground itself is about six miles outside of Lone Pine proper; it is a dry campground, meaning pit toilets and spigots for water, and unless you bring a solar shower, y’ain’t showering. We would celebrate my birthday on the 5th; side note: my grandma without fail would bake a cake and bring it up when she and my grandpa came(usually a day or two later after my family), just so I could have a proper birthday cake on my birthday. We would hike and fish and play in the stream and go exploring and offroading in our Jeep. There wasn’t cell service or electricity; it was pure uninterrupted bliss. Midway through the trip, like clockwork, either my grandpa or my dad would decide we were going to go on an adventure. My sister and I would ask, “Where are we going?” to which he would reply, “Crazy.” We would drive into town to the Frosty Chalet for soft served, hand-dipped in chocolate ice cream cones. It was always such a treat to sit down to a cold, sweet, delicious ice cream cone, as we were all hot, sticky, covered in dirt, and probably some fish guts too. Coming from our mutual love of ice cream, wherever we travel, we eat ice cream at least once. It’s a tradition, just like cinnamon rolls and egg burritos are on Christmas Day.
With that being said, one of the biggest things I miss about not being able to eat dairy is, as you might guess, ice cream(cheese is a close second though). I have tried the soy and almond variations of ice cream and liked most of them, but it is so expensive to buy. I thought regular ice cream was expensive, and then I started buying dairy free and paying double the price for half the volume. It is ridiculous. Add that on to the fact that many ice cream places don’t have a dairy free option(I wouldn’t expect them to, but it would be awesome if they did), and it is kind of a bummer to go out as a family for ice cream to uphold the tradition, and not be able to eat any of the thing I love so much.
So being the resourceful young lady that I try to be, I decided that making my own dairy free ice cream must be cheaper than buying it, and it must taste better too because everything that is homemade tastes better! I searched online for recipes, and found that a lot of them called for ingredients that I wasn’t so sure about like xanthan gum(where do you even buy that?) and others, but I finally came across one that looked relatively simple. Cocoa powder, bananas, almond milk, and sugar. It was simple enough and pretty healthy looking too, so I tried it. The result was a great base to start with! I, personally, think it needs to be a little less banana flavored, but it still was really good.
2 ripe bananas
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
In a microwaveable bowl or cup whisk 1/2 cup almond milk with the chocolate cocoa and sugar until fully incorporated. Microwave for 40 seconds and then stir.
Place bananas plus the remainder of the almond milk into a blender along with the cocoa mixture and purée for about 10 seconds.
Place mixture in the ice cream maker and process for 20 minutes or until thick.
Serve right away or store in the freezer for later use or to firm up a bit more if desired.
NOTES: I topped mine with chocolate chips and cinnamon, which made it better, but it still needs some help. My sister and I decided that crushed Oreos, mini chocolate chips, or peanut butter cups could be mixed in as it is in the ice cream maker to give it a better and more ice cream like flavor. Next time, I am going to try it with Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk instead of regular to see if I can intensify the chocolate flavor and get less of a banana flavor.
I hope to find and try a mint chocolate chip recipe soon; it is one of my favorite flavors. If you have a recipe that I should try, feel free to comment with a link to it, otherwise I will make sure to make an update post once I perfect a couple different flavors.