Growing up, my grandparents had a house on Balboa Island in Southern California, and we spend a lot of time out there as kids: playing in the shallow bay waters, hopping the ferry over to the fun zone to play skee ball, and walking to Marine Avenue to Dad’s in the mornings for old-fashioned donuts, and back again in the afternoons for frozen bananas and Balboa bars.
It’s a place that brings back nothing but fond memories.
Of course, no surprise that over half of those fond memories involve food in one way or another.
I’m sure you’re probably all familiar with frozen bananas; they’re pretty self-explanatory: a whole banana, frozen solid and then dipped in chocolate and rolled in sprinkles (or whatever other topping you choose).
Balboa bars are basically vanilla ice cream bars presented in the same way, freshly dipped in chocolate and enrobed in the topping of your choice.
I am pretty definitively a frozen banana girl, but the Balboa bars were always tempting. I always enjoyed my bananas (coated in rainbow sprinkles, always!) but that didn’t mean I didn’t gaze longingly at my cousin’s Balboa bar too.
As with all my past decision-making dilemmas, rather than force myself to decide, I decide NOT to decide and have both instead… combining both treats into one single, awesome frozen dessert.
With that in mind I present to you: the Frozen Banana Ice Cream Bar. A simple no-churn banana ice cream, molded into bars, and then dipped in dark chocolate and rainbow sprinkles.
The best of both worlds.
While the no-churn ice cream is dead easy and pretty darn good, I don’t like it quite as much as actual banana ice cream which is much creamier and robust in flavor. But is it worth the extra 45 minutes of cook time plus an overnight rest plus another 20 minutes of churning? Debatable. That’s where the real beauty of no-churn ice cream lies: it is so quick to come together and is dead easy to make. I’m sold.
I used these silicone ice cream bar molds, which are a perfect mini size for a single serving. One batch will make 4 bars.
If you don’t have ice cream bar molds, you could also spread the ice cream base into a parchment-lined pan (a loaf pan might be the perfect size) freeze overnight, then lift it out, cut into bar shapes, insert sticks and dip in chocolate. You could also scoop the ice cream into balls, refreeze, and then dip in chocolate for banana ice cream truffles. Or go sundae style and scoop the ice cream into a serving bowl, douse with hot fudge, and pile high with rainbow sprinkles. Your call.
Frozen Banana Ice Cream Bars
Frozen banana meets Balboa bar in this easy summer treat! For maximum fun, dip in rainbow sprinkles.
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 1 ripe banana, mashed (1/2 cup mashed)
- 8 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil or unflavored vegetable shortening
- sprinkles or chopped nuts, for decoration
- Combine heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until cream holds medium-stiff peaks. Mix in vanilla and salt.
- Mash banana until smooth and place in a bowl (don’t do this first otherwise the banana will turn brown while your cream is whipping). Fold in whipped cream until smooth.
- Spread banana mixture into silicone ice cream bar molds. You should have just enough for 4 bars.
- Place molds in freezer and freeze overnight until completely solid.
- The following day, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place in the freezer to chill.
- Meanwhile, gently melt chocolate together with coconut oil on the stovetop over very low heat or in 30 second intervals in the microwave at 50% power until smooth. You can add a bit more coconut oil as needed to thin out your chocolate if necessary. Transfer chocolate to a glass or mason jar (to reduce waste, the glass should be as narrow as possible while still being just big enough for the popsicle to dip, and at least 2x the height to allow for displacement).
- Remove ice cream bars from silicone molds. Dip into melted chocolate, then press into or sprinkle with sprinkles. Place on chilled baking sheet. Repeat with remaining bars. Return to freezer until set.
Did you make this recipe?
Let us know what you think!
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The chocolate was very liquidy and hard to stay on the pops. Any advice?
Were the pops frozen solid? What kind of chocolate did you use? The chocolate should harden almost immediately after they are dipped.
My ice cream sho serves a Balboa Bar and we offer a frozen banana option. We would love to be able to offer a banana bar with no added ingredients. Like, mash the banana and freeze into a mold…..period.
Would the banana bar turn brown though? I wouldn’t want to dip it into chocolate until it’s time to serve the bar. Any thoughts?
I love to eat ice creams; it looks so yummy!! Thank you for the recipe.
Wow! I think I am in love! These ice cream bars look fab! I must buy that silicone mold so I can make them!
These look sooo good and I might just have to make them. One question, do you think it would work just as well with strawberry? I’m more of a strawberry fan than a banana fan. :)
Ah, I see this question was already answered above:)
Funny, didn’t realize there were so many banana-averse among us, lol.
While this specific recipe might not work with strawberry, luckily you can pretty much use any ice cream base recipe here, just molded into bars. Not sure if no-churn strawberry is possible, Google knows I’m sure. :)
OMG, girl. These look insane. I’m thinking you could use coconut milk instead of cream? I guess the texture wouldn’t come out exactly the same though..what do you think? I’ll have to grab some of those silicone molds asap, either way, I’ve never seen those before – so smart! I’m in love with these photos btw, they’re SO crisp and clear…beautiful!! The spinkles with the chocolate and blue background is perfect. Thanks so sharing these!
I think I’ve seen coconut milk whipped cream? If so, then it might work. The cream is whipped and then folded into the ice cream base, which gives it a light, creamy texture. If you could replicate that whip with coconut it might work, in theory. Though not sure if there’s an equivalent to sweetened condensed milk with coconut…
I love the chocolate and banana combination! It’s one of my favorites :) Cant wait to try these!
Love this! I grew up biking to the island all the time in summer and getting a balboa bar. Now I live far away but we still go back every summer. The bars are a must! I’m excited to try this. ?
I meant to ask this in the first place…do you think a popsicle mold would work? I just got some & haven’t used them yet, but I’m thinking it’s worth a try.
Unfortunately I don’t think a regular popsicle mold will work, the ice cream (unlike an icy popsicle) isn’t solid enough to keep itself together… the stick would come right out when you tried to remove the bars. The silicone mold lets you take out the molded bars without much force, so the bars stay intact.
Guess where we are right now!
Dad’s last night, tonight, tomorrow night!
Will send photos (but I think I have to do that on regular email)
Now the kids can learn how to make them at home!!!!
SO JEALOUS! I think I’m way past due for a trip back to the island. :)
I grew up in LA and every once in a while, my step-mom would get a craving for a frozen banana–and she’d drive all the way down to Balboa just to get one. Your post brought back great memories. Thanks, Lindsay!
They really are crave-worthy, aren’t they? Every time I opened this post to work on it I started salivating. Wish I had made more than just 4!!
That’s so funny, Lindsay! I’ve bookmarked your recipe–unfortunately step-mom’s birthday was just a few days ago, but it’d make a great surprise for her some time!
These look amazing! You did an awesome job!
These are great and ice cream and frozen treats are so hard to photograph before they melt and yours are PERFECT! WOW!
In this case the chocolate shell keeps the bars together longer. They didn’t get nearly as melty as regular scoops of ice cream!!
This looks amazing! Can you substitute another fruit for bananas in this recipe? Strawberries?
I wouldn’t use this exact recipe for the ice cream, as most of the structure and creaminess comes from the banana. I think strawberries would be too icy. But you can easily swap in your favorite strawberry ice cream recipe in its place, the bars are easy to mold and could be made with any ice cream recipe you like. :)