Besides...protein ice cream is a way to get your required protein in and carve out a little indulgence for yourself. Have you tried it yet? Our friend Michelle, over at The World According to Eggface, is the QUEEN of protein ice cream. She's got a million and two recipes (which is one reason you won't find many here. She's got that covered so we can explore other realms of post-op yumminess!).
Well, when I make protein ice cream (whether an Eggface inspired recipe or not) I like to top it. And yes, yes fat-free whippage is nice. But I find myself wanting more.
So here's three cool, "off the beaten path" ideas for topping your ice cream.
#1 - Wet Walnut Topping
In Baltimore, I've only ever heard them called "wet nuts" but seriously peeps...do NOT Google this term. Especially not around your kids. (pause for obligatory chuckle...those at work...now you gotta explain why you're laughing at your computer!)
I don't know if, on the overall, this is a regional thing or not. Jen had no idea what they are. Holla if you do so I know I'm not crazy! (or at least not crazy for this reason) I used to love wet (wal)nuts on my sundaes pre-op. Chunky walnuts in a sugary syrup...mmm...what's not to love?
Well perhaps all that sugar. Yeah. That'd be it.
I have a solution. And it's goooooood.
Nik's Walnut Topping (single serving)
(after my Google search I couldn't bring myself to call it "wet nuts" anymore. I get the shivers thinking of where my name might show up in a web search!)
For those that have never heard of it (I did a quick informal poll of non-Marylanders and I think perhaps it might be regional), the original is a maple-walnut topping. It's sweet, sticky and oh-so-delicious on good vanilla ice cream! So give this version a try. It got me over the hump (pun very much intended)!
1/4 c. sugar-free pancake syrup (I like the Wal-Mart brand)
1 tbsp chopped walnuts
a dash of cinnamon and a "splick" of nutmeg (I can't define a splick...if I were to guess I'd say something like 1/32 of a tsp :)
Nuke the syrup for 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir in waltnuts and spices. Top your ice cream! The benefits: Well...since you asked...my sugar free pancake syrup has 30 calories for 1/4 c. The walnuts will set you back about 90 calories but are a source of good fat that we often lack in our new way of eating. So long as you consider this a treat...it is a darn sensible one and leaps and bounds better than traditional wet walnut topping!
#2 - Faux Fried Ice Cream
I only tasted fried ice cream once before surgery. Oh, what a dream! Now that I make protein ice cream, I wanted to find a way to replicate, but how to do it! It took some tries, but here's what I've got!
Nik's Faux-Fried Topping for Ice Cream (makes about three-ish servings)
1/4 c. Fiber One Original Cereal
2 tbsp slivered almonds
1-2 tbsp no-calorie sweetener
a few sprays of low-fat butter spray
2 pumps of sugar-free cinnamon syrup or sugar-free brown sugar cinnamon syrup
In a food processor or mini chopper, grind cereal, nuts, syrup and butter spray until a crumb forms. Here's what a good Fiber One crumb mixture should look like:
Spread on a cookie sheet (or the tray to your toaster oven) and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. When you start to smell the nuts they are finished.
Allow the mixture to cool. Scoop out your protein ice cream and roll into a ball (this works well when the ice cream is almost frozen solid and works especially well if you do NOT use skim milk to make your ice cream. Use 1-2% milk fat milk and it'll roll much better).
For extra fun, use a mini scooper and make mini-faux fried ice cream balls (try saying that five times fast!) The benefit: You all know why I LOVE me some Fiber One! It helps keep everything moving in the right direction. The American Dietary Association recommends most of us get about 25g of fiber per day. One serving of Fiber One packs 14g! That's over half your daily fiber needs! Throw some nice veggies or beans into your day and you are good to go! You can make this without the nuts to save calories but the nuts give it a bit of extra crunch. And, as I said above...nuts are good fat!
#3 - Protein Reese's Cup
Yes...I said it...protein Reese's Cup.
Nik's Protein Reese's Cup Topping (single serving)
2 tbsp sugar-free chocolate syrup (like Hershey's)
2 tbsp PB2 or peanut flour
3 tbsp milk
1/2 tbsp Any Whey unflavored protein powder
Add milk to peanut flour, one tablespoon at a time, until a liquidy, peanutty mixture forms. You want it to be a little on the liquidy sice so add more milk if it's too thick. Then add in your protein powder and stir until it thickens back up again. If you like it warm, you can nuke it about 10 seconds or so after you get it smooth.
Top ice cream with this mixture + the chocolate mixture. Enjoy!
The Benefit: For this one I think of it more in terms of damage control than of benefits. I mean, yes, I do put protein in it and that's good but check it out. If I were to go with a traditional Reese's Cup configuration (first off...I dumped at the thought) I'd be using at least a tablespoon of regular peanut butter, which is about 90 calories and 8g fat. Regular chocolate syrup is LOADED with sugar. So really...it's as much about what you're not getting as it is about what you are!
These are just a few ideas. The possibilities are truly endless! You can top your ice cream with low-carb granola or some no-cal chocolate syrup. And of course you could do some flavored whippage (I'm going to keep raving about flavoring your own whippage until the movement starts...so prepare yourselves).
If you come up with some "yummies with benefits" let us know about it!