Banana Frozen Yogurt : Icy Treats

Living in Malaysia, where the whether is hot and humid, icy treats are a necessity to us, especially when we were kids. I remember, those times when I was still in my Primary school, a good friend and I used to buy the ice tube of frozen-flavoured-water, usually orange flavour. It is a crude and cheap treat for us then, costing only 10sen per tube, where I remember vividly which the uncle, who is really old but will stand diligently everyday at our school gate selling his home-made creations, will snip the knot at the top off for us. Then we would take it and pour into our mouth the sweet water that has melted and then proceed to suck on the ice. Ah, I remember feeling really cool and happy every time after the treat, and not to forget the frozen little fingers for holding on to the tube.

Then we got on to our secondary, and then it was those days of ice-cream on the stick, where there is one of my favourite, which has vanilla ice cream wrapped with very-green lime frozen ice. Definitely not the usual combination one would hear of but one that is loved by many of us. That is also when the emergence of more processed ice-creams in oppose to these home-made versions of yesteryears. Then there was also the occasional treat of McDonald’s sundae cone on top of the Value Meal, where every Saturday, after our society meet, we 1984s would walk there from our school.

Soon I came to KL, where eventually, my spending power increases bit by bit till I got into the rat race. So it is now more of indulgence in terms of calories and money for me, where I go for ice creams in Baskin Robbins. There was once, Y and I chance upon its 31% off promotion for every 31st of the month, where we both got a pint each and sat down on a bench nearby and finish it all in one sitting! Ah, those were our uni carefree indulgence days. Then I also go to Swensens’ a couple of times for their earthquake promotion only on Tuesdays, consisting of 8 scoops of ice cream of your choice, where J and I had managed to go a few times. Nowadays, when J and I just want a quick fix of icy treats, we will drop by Macdonald’s drive-thru’ and get ourselves the McFlurry sundae.

So since my histories and currents of ice creams or its like in my life, one of the special additions was my ice cream maker. It had been such a long time since my last post of my own-home-made icy treats. As I mentioned, I had tried many attempts before I fell in love with THE Chocolate Gelato, oh so smooth. Just quite-sometime-ago, I got struck again with the churning bug and churned out some really deceptively and surprisingly delicious

Banana Froyo / Frozen Yogurt Recipe
Banana Froyo / Frozen Yogurt

Banana Fro-yo
Inspired by Jaden’s Coconut Frozen Yoghurt

Jaden’s post of suggesting churning Greek yoghurt (strained yoghurt, hence more cheesy-like) to turn into one deceptively healthy icy treat got me really interested. I have been looking out for Greek yoghurt since then, and since I have been working at KLCC for the past few weeks, I had a chance upon it in Cold Storage supermarket, but was definitely put off by the price! It cost nearly four times more than the regular yoghurt! Oh well, it was never ‘cheaper’ for making one’s own ice cream/gelato/sorbet but it is definitely ‘healthier’ in the sense that you can choose what you put in it. If you ever have the time to read into those ice cream ingredients, I bet you can find hydrogenated oil as the main as well as much you-can’t-even-identify stuff even after all the science classes we put ourselves through high-school. Besides we can make all sorts of exotic flavours by harvesting on our local tropical fruits for various concoctions. Anyway, back to yoghurt, so since the Greek yoghurt is crazily expensive here, I decided to get the regular one and since I do not have the patience to strain it, I thought that banana would be a very good ‘thickener’. So I got a bunch of ripe-to-blacken banana that the seller is happily to let off for just RM1! Now we are talking ‘cheap’ and healthy!

300ml plain yoghurt (mine was slightly sweetened)
1 bunch of bananas (bout 6-8), sliced
1 tbsp of sugar (only needed if your banana is not sweet enough)
1 tbsp honey, melted

Blend the yoghurt and sliced bananas together till smooth.
Add in the sugar if needed and blend till incorporated.
Pour into a container and chill overnight. This part is crucial for the flavours to meld and develop, as well as for the banana to ‘thicken’ the yoghurt.

Next day, pour the thick ‘banana-yoghurt’ into an ice cream maker and churn for 40-45mins (or according to manufacturer’s instructions).
Then scoop, yes scoop because it will be very thick (looked like the mess in picture above) and level into a freezer-proof container.

Can be serve soft immediately (J’s sister and I had a huge spoonful each) or store in the freezer.
Before serving from the freezer, take it out for bout 5-10mins in room temperature or bout 30mins in the refrigerator.

Yields: approximately 1 quart

Homemade Chocolate Gelato Recipe : Ultimate Chocolate Fix

Before this, during the summer at the other side of the world, the food blogging communities had gone into the frenzy of making icy desserts which got me totally hype up and weak to my knees. After all, living in this part of the world where it is practically summer everyday, it seems so right to have my icy treats all the time. I love the local favourite is of course such as ais kacangsai mai lou and cendol, but sometimes, some dessert are just universal, yes, that is ice cream. I believe it is one dessert that no one can say no to, besides chocolate of course.

Well, after getting bombarded with all the ice creams, gelatos, sorbets and frozen yoghurts, I nearly succumb to getting an ice cream maker. I told myself, if I found one that I can afford, I would definitely buy it. Then one day, while out with J, at a fair, I saw a tiny one on promotion and nearly bought it but in the end got against it because it cannot fit into my mini refrigerator. I was nearly devastated. Then on that week itself, J’s mum wanted to exchange some gifts from the points she collected from the credit card, and voila, J chose that ice cream maker itself for me! I was totally ecstatic.

Kenwood Ice Cream Maker
Kenwood Ice Cream Maker

So it came, and I excitedly tried out a few recipes. My first banana ice cream, with my own adaptations of recipes came out too hard. I wouldn’t really call it ice cream though as I made it without cream, if you’re a long time reader, I mentioned before why I usually go for alternatives. Then the next one I tried was mango ice cream (I don’t really know what type so universally I will call it ice cream even without cream), using gelatin which has better texture. Then I tried one mango frozen yoghurt, which was also not so perfect yet.

Then I came across recipes for gelatos and I got hook instantly. No cream but still rich in its way. As gelatos are uncommon here, in fact I believe I never had one before, so I must try it! I was inspired by a recipe from The Traveler’s Lunchbox, where she explained what gelato is all about and then try out three different recipes for us to gape at. I chose the recipe that she and her husband decided was best.

Now the verdict from me? It was totally utterly (pardon the pun but it was necessary) delicious! Now I would understand what the craze about gelato is all about. The texture was just right with enough richness and feel, and the taste was incredible, the ultimate chocolate fix for any sudden crave. J mention it was a little bitter, but it was because of me as I had reduced the sugar level and used really dark chocolate due to my affinity for, of course chocolate, which I overlook as a personal preference. Nevertheless, J likes it too, and I promise to come up a vanilla (his favourite flavor) gelato soon. After this gelato, I believe I would never eat another chocolate ice cream again the same way.

Homemade Chocolate Gelato Recipe
Homemade Chocolate Gelato

Chocolate Gelato
Source: The Traveler’s Lunchbox

Although I had reduced the sugar content for my own version of chocolate heaven, I believe sticking to the original quantity below would be fine and safest for all to love. Anyhow, I believe it would be good. Oh ya, since my freezer was a quite strong, I would take the chocolate out and leave it for about 5 minutes (really impatiently) and then start digging in. Now I have to make another batch.

2 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
1 cup Dutch cocoa powder, sifted
4 large egg yolkspinch salt

Coarsely chop chocolate.
In a saucepan, bring milk, evaporated milk and half the sugar to a simmer, stirrin till the sugar dissolved.
Remove pan from heat and add the cocoa powder and chocolate, whisking till all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Get ready a large bowl of ice and cold water.
In a bowl, beat the yolks and remaining sugar and salt with electric mixer till thick and pale.
Add hot chocolate mixture in a slow stream, whisking, and pour into saucepan.
Then cook the custard over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until a thermometer registers 160°F (for me, I follow Melissa’s advice and go by instinct, watching not to let it boil)
Pour custard through a sieve into a metal bowl set in ice and cold water and cool.
Chill custard, covered until cold and preferably overnight.
Then freeze custard in an ice-cream maker.
Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden for several hours.

Yield: about 1 quart.