Holiday Desserts Tradition: No Food Waste

Banana Date Cranberry Nice Cream with a Thin Crispy Gluten-Free Cookie

Stretch leftover bits of ingredients and desserts into actual holiday desserts (or anytime desserts!). This Banana Date Cranberry Nice Cream was made with leftovers from my freezer. It's vegan and gluten-free.Stretch leftover bits of ingredients and desserts into actual holiday desserts (or anytime desserts!). This Banana Date Cranberry Nice Cream was made with leftovers from my freezer.

This morning, both to avoid scheduled paperwork, my nemesis, and to get ready for family coming to Philly for the holidays, I inventoried my freezer. I did this right after my morning oatmeal (which included ground flax, turmeric, cinnamon, kale, and blueberries). First the savory food, then make dessert—balance!

Banana Date Cranberry Nice Cream with a Thin Crispy Gluten-Free Cookie

Holiday Desserts from Leftovers

Aside from the usual containers of nuts and seeds, reduced aquafaba, date and prune pastes, ganache, and Vanilla Pastry Cream, I found the following items. Most were not enough for a party dessert, but I wanted to change that.

  1. Brownie Thins, a half bag that had baked too hard
  2. Tahini Cookies marked Original, A, A1, A2, B. Here I have enough to serve and ask for opinions.
  3. 3 pieces, or more accurately chunks, of cake – about 1 1/2 cups.
  4. Biscotti – enough to serve.
  5. Thin Crispy Gluten Free Cookies, shaped into Tuiles – enough to serve
  6. The aforementioned Ganache and Vanilla Pastry Cream
  7. A big container of frozen bananas
  8. 1/2 cup frozen cranberries

I can definitely make a number of holiday-worthy desserts for 6-8 people from those ingredients, and I will tell you how to use up categories of bits and pieces of leftover desserts in next week’s blog post.

Banana Date Cranberry Nice Cream

But, this morning, it was the frozen bananas and cranberries plus the jar holding 2 diced dates in water in my refrigerator that were calling to me. (I’d have liked to add more dates but was committed to using only what I had.) I decided to make Banana Date Cranberry Nice Cream, which can be served on its own or alongside other sweet treats.

The bowl of my standard food processor was in the dishwasher, so I used my Robot Coupe. It had remnants of the chocolate I’d chopped but I don’t see that as a dirty bowl, do you?

Nice cream with ingredientsHonestly, I expected to need a ‘sweeter’ sweetener and more of it. I used just 1 tablespoon of silan (date syrup), figuring I’d stick with date flavor. As I said, I fully expected to need to add some maple syrup, because of the addition of raw cranberries, but this Nice Cream tasted just sweet enough. The dates were still chewy, and the cranberries added a bit of welcome tartness but not too much.

Banana Date Cranberry Nice Cream

Banana Date Cranberry Nice Cream with a Thin Crispy Gluten-Free Cookie

Banana Date Cranberry Nice Cream

Fran Costigan
I’m used to cooking cranberries in a liquid with sweetener and to using plant milk when I make banana-based Ice Cream, aka Nice Cream, but I today, I decided to follow my new idea. This recipe could not be easier—and it is super healthy too. 
Makes 1 1/2 cups, double to make a larger batch, sweeten to taste.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 3 frozen bananas, chunked
  • 2 diced dates, soaked in water just to cover (save 1/3 cup of the soaking liquid)
  • 1/3 cup frozen or fresh cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon silan or dark maple syrup, more to taste

Instructions
 

  • Put the 3 chunked bananas, the 2 diced chopped dates, and 1/3 cup of the frozen cranberries into the bowl of a food processor. My machine is very powerful – think the high-speed blender of processors – so the frozen fruit got to a creamy but still chunky puree quickly. Process until creamy, chunky.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of date soaking water and 1 tablespoon of silan.
  • Pulse/process to combine. You want a smooth puree with bits of the dates and cranberries still visible.
  • Freeze for 45 minutes.
  • Serve in chilled dishes.

Notes

Notes: If you’ve made Nice Cream before, you know it needs to go into the freezer to firm up. That isn’t the case with a Yonas or Swirlio from what I hear, but I don’t have either of those. I checked the progress of the Nice Cream at 15-minute intervals. At 30 minutes, the sides were hardened so I mixed them in. At 45 minutes, the Nice Cream was ready to serve in chilled dishes.
Serving suggestions:
  • For breakfast or brunch, I’d serve the Banana Cranberry Date Nice Cream as a special topping for waffles, French toast or pancakes.
  • Or to make holiday desserts, I would likely add a shard of one of the over baked brownie thins, or a cookie.
  • Certainly, you could add any of the following as mix-ins: cake or cookie crumbs, chopped nuts, cranberries and pecans.
Keyword Nice Cream
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Banana Date Cranberry Nice Cream with a Thin Crispy Gluten-Free Cookie

I am sending warmest wishes to each and every one of you, my dear readers, for a happy, healthy, peaceful holiday season, whatever the season means to you. I deeply appreciate your support.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Dianne Wenz, who helps me with my blog and newsletter, and Anja Marais for maintaining my website, and of course, the team (a.k.a. family) at Rouxbe.

 

With appreciation,
Fran

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