Spiced Banana Ice Cream Recipe

You scream, I scream, we'll all be screaming for ... the recipe for Spiced Banana Ice Cream, a rich-tasting banana ice cream, made slightly exotic and especially memorable with a trio of pantry spices.

Spiced Banana Ice Cream by Kitchen Parade

Cross-eyed. So go my eyes when a store shelf battles with my brain. It’s a confrontation of choice versus convenience, niche versus necessary, extravagance versus enough. A hundred toothpastes? mustards? light bulbs? dog food? Do we really need so many choices? Y’know, wouldn’t just a few be enough?

In fact, research shows that when confronted with more than five options, people just pick one, almost blindly, ignoring labels and price differences – or they walk away empty-handed, unable to make any decision.

So it’s been with me and the ‘gallon-size’ ice cream cookbook The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments by pastry chef, cookbook author, food blogger and Paris bon vivant, David Lebovitz. Please don’t take this wrong. I’ve lusted after David’s ice cream cookbook since its debut in 2007. If anyone knows ice cream, it’s David. He inspires, he educates. When the Perfect Scoop arrived, sure enough, it was love at first lick. One recipe after another got a ‘must make’ checkmark. Too bad it was January, not the best month weather-wise or diet-wise for ice cream.

Enter Spice Dreams: Flavored Ice Creams and Other Frozen Treats. It’s a ‘pint-size’ ice cream cookbook from Sara Engram and Katie Luber, authors of The Spice Kitchen. (Remember the Chocolate Ginger Spice Cookies? Remember Broiled Grapefruit the spicy way? Swoon.) The very day after its arrival, there we were, swooning again, this time over an oh-so-banana banana ice cream, gently deepened by a trio of pantry spices, cinnamon, cardamom and the killer spice here, nutmeg. Turns out, this is Spice Dream’s cover recipe and deservedly so.

Fewer choices. More and more, for a simpler life, that’s my first choice. What’s yours? How do you react to a shelf of products? How do we decide among 100 choices?

SPICED NUTS In a small skillet, melt a tablespoon butter with a tablespoon of brown sugar, let gently sizzle for a couple of minutes. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg, then a couple of tablespoons of pecans or walnuts and cook for another minute, stirring often.

ALANNA’s TIPS This is a custard-based ice cream which takes three steps, cooking the custard, chilling the custard, then processing in a commercial ice cream processor. What is half & half? Ha! Half & half is one of the dairy choices that I’m happy exists. It’s just a mixture of half cream and half whole milk, it’s perfect for ice cream and means buying just one carton, not two. To my taste, chocolate sauce overwhelms the lovely but delicate banana flavor in this ice cream.


Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Time to table: 5 hours
Makes 3-1/2 cups
  • 1 very ripe banana (I used a 'black banana')
  • 1/4 cup half & half
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2-1/2 cups half & half
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

CUSTARD Purée the banana and 1/4 cup half & half in a food processor until smooth. In a medium saucepan, stir together the banana puree and brown sugar. Add the 2-1/2 cups half & half, spices and salt. ‘Scald’ the mixture – this means to bring it just to a boil on medium heat without allowing it to actually boil, stirring very often to avoid scorching. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks and brown sugar. A quarter cup at a time, add the hot mixture to the whisked eggs, whisking in each addition before adding more. (This is called ‘tempering’ – the objective is to equalize the temperature of the two mixtures so that the egg won’t cook and form lumps.)

Return the mixture to the saucepan, whisking the entire time. On medium heat, cook the mixture until it thickens, gently stirring the entire time. The custard is done when you can dip a metal spoon into it, then draw a clean line along the spoon with a fingertip or an instant-read thermometer reads 170F – 175F. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla.

CHILL Transfer to a refrigerator dish, cover and refrigerate for at least three hours and as much as a couple of days ahead of time.

PROCESS For soft ice cream (my favorite texture for homemade ice cream), process the mixture in an ice cream processor about an hour before serving. Otherwise, process and then transfer to a freezer container and freeze until solid.

SERVE & SAVOR If you like, top with Spiced Nuts or chopped banana.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE (How many calories in Spiced Banana Ice Cream? How many Weight Watchers points in Spiced Banana Ice Cream?) Per Half Cup: 126 Calories; 6g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 75mg Cholesterol; 64mg Sodium; 16g Carb; 1g Fiber; 12g Sugar; 2g Protein; Weight Watchers 3 points This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized' with an increase in natural banana sweetness and a reduction in sugar.
Many thanks to publisher Andrews McMeel for a complimentary copy of Spice Dreams. (Product Disclosure)
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite ice cream recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Become a Kitchen Parade fan on Facebook!

More Ice Cream Recipes

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An ice cream maker just might be the perfect Father's Day gift! A few years back, a fellow foodie was surprised - shocked, she said! - that I didn't have one. I bought one the same day and haven't looked back since. It's just so fun to make unusual ice cream recipes, small batches, just enough for supper, say, with everyday ingredients and none of the artificial calorie-laden additions found in store-bought ice cream.

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© Copyright 2010 Kitchen Parade

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. This may be one of the best homemade ice creams I have ever seen. It sounds absolutely delicious!

  2. I have tried making banana sweeter, mixing it up with chocolates or strawberries. But making it spicy? Sounds interesting! And an ice cream at that?

    Curiosity is making me crave =)

  3. Yes, please! I'm all about banana, and this sounds awesome. I need to come up with a dairy-free version ASAP!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna