Start to Finish: 5 minutes, plus freezing banana the night before
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Whether it's for a breakfast pick-me-up or a post-workout protein builder, chocolate smoothies package appealing flavor, texture and satisfaction -- as well as ease of preparation -- in one little 8-ounce glass. Put a whole banana in the freezer the night before, and you will have already done most of the heavy lifting.
1 medium banana, frozen
¾ cup milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Pinch of Vietnamese cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coffee (or instant)
2 tablespoons French vanilla protein powder
1 packet organic stevia
Heavy kitchen knife
Loading the Blender
Place a whole banana in the freezer the night before you want your smoothie. Leave it in the freezer while you set up everything else for your smoothie, as you don't want it to thaw. Pour the milk in the blender, followed by the dry ingredients: cocoa powder, cinnamon, ground coffee, protein powder and stevia.
Peeling the Whole Banana
Remove the banana from the freezer and slice off a half-inch at the top and bottom with a heavy kitchen knife. Carefully incise the outermost curve of the banana just to the depth of the skin, about 3/16 inch; if you cut a bit more deeply, you will still be OK. Repeat with another cut on the inside curve, with the point of the knife.
Pull off the peel in pieces by breaking off edges nearest the incisions. As the banana begins to thaw rapidly, the last pieces will come off more quickly and in bigger sections.
Slice the banana in 1-inch chunks and add these to the blender.
Blending and Varying
Cover the blender and puree the smoothie ingredients for 15 seconds. Once the ingredients begin to blend, lift up a corner of the blender and press the faster "blend" button for about 10 seconds, or until all the banana pieces become pulverized and smoothly incorporated. Pour the smoothie into a glass container and serve.
You can vary the smoothie by replacing the banana with mango, kiwi, blueberry, raspberry or berry mixes, or by adding green ingredients such as spinach. Flavored milk such as almond milk, different flavors of protein mix, regular cinnamon for Vietnamese, and varied sweeteners such as honey can also be substituted.
- Photo Credit Viktorija Kuprijanova/iStock/Getty Images
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