The first (almost) 80 degree day has finally hit west Michigan (79 degrees…close enough) and I couldn’t be happier! I always go through this really funny stage between winter and summer where I stare at my closet and have no idea what to wear. It’s like my brain has been trained for so long to wear warm, heavy clothes and it’s not quite sure what to do. As northerners, I think we hit a point in the spring where we still don’t trust mother nature when it comes to dressing ourselves. I stare at my short sleeve shirts or dresses in my closet and think “what if it starts snowing or a gusty downpour hits?! Sweater it is”. It takes a few days of breaking into a full sweat at work before I finally start to trust that Michigan spring is here.
Now that I have dusted off my shorts and started soaking up some rays, I’m already thinking about cold desserts. I have been dabbling with the idea of trying to make some “nice” cream or “healthier” ice cream. Now let’s not jump the gun here, I still love me the good ol’ regular ice cream, but you know warmer weather is here, which means bathing suit weather y’all…hint, hint it’s time to lose what I call my winter coat.
My winter coat is those extra 2-5 lbs that help keep my organs warm in the winter LOL. Anyone from the northern Midwest should be able to relate to this. I find it to be evolutionary. It’s seems only normal to gain a few pounds in the winter considering I move less outside and enjoy more comfort-based dishes to keep me warm in the winter.
But I’m a firm believer that all foods fit so that doesn’t mean it’s time to cut every food I enjoy out of my diet just to lose this winter coat. However, there are ways to cut calories while still enjoying the beautiful warm weather. These nice creams are a great way to do so! As much as the flavors of Halo top ice cream and other low-fat ice creams are delicious, the artificial sweeteners kill my stomach.
These nice cream bars have whole food ingredients and can be tailored to your specific dietary needs. If you’re dairy-free, sub the chocolate chips for Enjoy Life dairy-free chocolate chips. If you’re gluten-free, sub the whole wheat flour with almond or another gluten-free flour.
And you know what the really NICE thing is about these bars? They take so little time to make and only require 8 ingredients. As far as prep time goes, you can’t really beat about 15 minutes. I always have frozen bananas on hand for smoothies, oatmeal, and now nice cream bars 🙂
Start by making your crust. You want to combine the flour, agave nectar, and coconut oil until they are barely combined. Basically, they need to be able to stick together if you clench your fist and push down into the flour mixture.
Next, take a loaf tin, one rectangular pan, or individual muffin tins would work well too. Pour the crust evenly into the loaf tin and push down until both of the bottom of the tin is crusted. Place in the freezer for 5 minutes.
While the crust is chilling, blend your bananas in a food processor until nice and creamy (about 1-2 minutes). Then add your go-to flavors! I’m a chocolate-lover so that’s where I geared towards, but you can mix and match whatever flavors sound good to you. Once you’ve got your ingredients lightly pulsed until evenly combined, fold in the chopped chocolate chips (save some for topping). Pour the chocolate mixture into your tin and evenly spread with a spatula. Top with the chopped chocolate chips and freeze for about 2 hours.
Once fully frozen, cut into 8-10 pieces and enjoy immediately…preferably on a sunny day on a beach somewhere in northern Michigan 🙂
8-ingredient Chocolate Nice Cream Bars
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 Tbsp agave nectar (can sub with honey)
- 3 Tbsp refined coconut oil, melted
- 2 bananas, frozen
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2-1 tsp pure maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp coconut milk, unsweetened
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, chopped
Start by preparing the crust. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, agave nectar, and coconut oil using a plastic spatula. The flour mixture should be slightly crumbly, but stick together if you push your knuckles down into the mixture.
Using a loaf tin, spread the crust evenly along the bottom of the tin and press the crust firmly down so there are no holes between your crust. Place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.
While the crust is chilling, prepare the filling using a food processor or blender. Start by blending the bananas until they are nice and creamy, about 1-2 minutes depending on the strength of your food processor.
Once the bananas are creamy and well-blended, add the cocoa powder, maple syrup, and coconut milk. Pulse until just combined. Fold in about half of the chopped dark chocolate chips.
Pour the filling over the crust and spread evenly. Top with the rest of the chopped dark chocolate chips.
Freeze for about 2 hours, cut into squares, and enjoy immediately. Store in the freezer.