Chunky Coco Monkey Ice Cream
(Not so) fun fact: I used to be able to polish off an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s chunky monkey ice cream in less than an hour. With a group of girlfriend’s, our individual B&J’s in hand, and a chick-flick on the screen, this was the best way to unwind after a stressful exam week. I’d like to say that I just went ice cream crazy during stressful test weeks, but truth be told, I was ice cream obsessed and I would find myself having pints of ice cream for dinner instead of a regular meal at least a few times a week.
I’m sure you can guess how this ended. Consuming pints of B&J’s worth over 1200 calories with 200% DV of saturated fat, 112 grams of sugar, 88% DV of cholesterol, and other gunk left me feeling pretty miserable. Falling into a vicious cycle, I would feel awful and stressed, so therefore eat a pint of ice cream to feel better. Then, as I began to gain weight I would cut out B&J for a few weeks and replace it with protein bars and chalky-tasting low calorie snacks. Health wise, I was torturing my body: restricting it, forcing myself to eliminate certain foods & diet, and then, sequentially, bingeing.
On a much happier note, I soon after woke up to health: real food, healing my body, and nourishing it with foods bursting with health and radiance. I, for the first time in ages, felt sparkly again – all because of some plants and positive energy. Instead of restricting myself to the things I loved, I learned to enjoy them in a healthier and more wholesome way. Ice cream was never to be reduced again to the vice I needed when I felt lonely or overwhelmed – it became a treat to share with those I love and to encourage health and wellbeing.
With all that said and done – this is ice cream, friends. Completely raw, vegan, and refined sugar free ice cream that absolutely everyone will enjoy. With sunshine and lovely weather here to stay, this ice cream is absolutely perfect for enjoying on long afternoons or after a dinner outside. The best part is, of course, that you’ll only need a blender and freezer to make it – no fancy ice cream machine needed. Of course, I have a soft spot for B&J’s chunky monkey flavor, so this is a bit of a spin on it with added rich coconut flavor for something extra delicious. Using walnuts and cacao nibs are wonderful little superfoods to boost the nutritional goodness of this ice cream even more, and frozen bananas and dates add all the sweetness you could ever need.
Sweet and ripe bananas + creamy coconut + sticky sweet dates + luscious vanilla + crunchy walnuts + rich cacao nibs = the chunkiest, monkiest, most delicious raw vegan ice cream to ever be!
Chunky Coco Monkey Ice Cream
Makes about a quart of ice cream
5 ripe bananas, frozen
5 medjool dates, pits removed (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes)
1 can coconut milk, refrigerated overnight (BPA-free can, please!)
1 vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped
½ big cup walnuts
⅓ cup cacao nibs
Slice bananas into coins and freeze for at least 8 hours, or overnight. You can conveniently place your can of coconut milk into the refrigerator at the same time.
The next day remove your can of coconut milk from the refrigerator and gently flip it upside-down. Open the can and gently pour out the clear liquid floating on top into a small cup – reserve this liquid. Scoop out the hardened cream at the bottom and place it in a high-speed blender along with soaked dates (discard the water the dates were soaking in). Blend on high until coconut cream is extra smooth and creamy and dates are incorporated. Add in a tablespoon of reserved coconut water to thin if necessary.
Add in frozen banana coins and vanilla bean and continue to blend, using a taper or rubber spatula, until mixture is thick, creamy, and resembles soft serve ice cream. If necessary, add in a tablespoon or two of reserved coconut water to thin out the texture. Add in walnuts and cacao nibs and blend for a few seconds more until completely mixed.
Eat ice cream immediately (straight out of the blender is totally fine!!) or spoon into a freezer-safe dish, loaf pan, or container. Freeze ice cream 3-4 hours to set. When ready to devour, let the ice cream sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to soften up a bit. Enjoy!
Note: ice cream will keep for about a month. If you leave ice cream in the freezer for a long period of time, I would suggest putting the whole thing back into the blender and re-whipping it up. This way the texture is nice and creamy!