Ingredients: Bananas

Strawberry and Fresh Mint

38 weeks into pregnancy and the ice cream cravings have finally hit hard. Vanilla Haagen Dazs with smashed Chocolate-Vanilla “Trader” Joe-Joe’s followed a solid week of Dr. Pepper floats.

My birthday dinner at Purple Yam (Ditmas Park, Brooklyn) concluded with Halo-Halo, a Philippine iced desert with sweet beans, palm seed, cocogel, agar agar, coconut sport and jackfruit topped with flan and purple yam ice cream. Wowzers. Forget about 8-ingredient desserts at home. I whipped up the following (pictured) in 5-10 minutes from 1-2 ingredients.

The Banana Ice Cream recipe has been floating around the blogosphere and I was psyched to puree something in the food processor other than my usual hummus. Strawberry and Fresh Mint Pops were an excuse to play with the Zoku Pop maker and experiment with homemade mint simple syrup. Not to mention, you can find teeming quarts of Jersey strawberries, 2 for $10, at most farmer’s markets in the area. And they are just about perfect.

Banana Ice Cream (sans cream)

  • 3-4 very ripe bananas, sliced and frozen in a single layer
  • A food processor
  1. While still frozen, add banana slices to the food processor. Pulse until the bananas clump; using spoon, scrape banana clumps evenly around blade and continue to process until smooth.
  2. Magically, the clumps turn into a creamy, soft-serve-textured icy treat. Scoop and serve.

Strawberry and Fresh Mint Pops

  • 2 cups chilled, or frozen and thawed ripe strawberries
  • 1/4 cup mint simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 2-4 Tbsp cold water
  1. In a blender, add strawberries and syrup and puree. Add water and puree until the mixture is thin enough to be poured into any ice pop molds.
  2. Pour into molds and freeze. Pops frozen in the Zoku are ready to eat in 10 minutes.

Fresh Mint Simple Syrup

(Good for a month in the fridge. Add to iced tea, bourbons, rums, melons and berries with tasty results.)

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch mint–fresh from the farmer’s market is best–rinsed well
  1. Mix sugar and water in small saucepan (2 qt) and heat over med-low while stirring until dissolved. Syrup is ready when it goes from cloudy to clear. Remove from heat.
  2. Rub mint leaves between hands for a few seconds to release minty oils. Add a large handful of mint leaves to the pan of syrup; submerge leaves with spoon and let steep 30-60 minutes.
  3. Remove mint leaves. Transfer syrup to a glass Pyrex measuring cup and let cool. Store in an airtight glass bottle in refrigerator.