July 9, 2014 § 4 Comments
Last winter my mom, dad, sister and I squeezed into a studio apartment in Manhattan for a few days of family time. We stayed in the West Village and got our New York bagel fix by visiting Murray’s Bagels at least once per day. My dad, an avid promoter of the do-not-toast-fresh-bagels-theory, was thrilled that Murray’s does not own a toaster. But the real food highlight came when we visited my parents’ high school friends on Long Island, who are equally food obsessed. In other words, they are the best kind of friends. Maddee had just gone to the West Coast to visit their son in college, and had learned about the acai bowl trend. Acai is a tart berry that you can buy in puree form, and people use it to make what are essentially smoothie bowls with lots of mix-ins. Maddee made me an acai bowl by blending frozen unsweetened acai purée, a banana, some frozen strawberries, and a splash of orange juice. She served it with a spoonful of peanut butter over yogurt, along with the granola we had just made together (recipe coming soon). The acai bowl blew my mind! The tart acai balanced with the creamy yogurt and sweet banana was addictive. It’s almost like frozen yogurt! We spent the rest of the afternoon planning Maddee’s future acai bowl business. I will be the first and most loyal customer. When I got home I immediately went to Whole Foods and tried to pick up the acai purée, but they only had sweetened versions. I ended up buying it in bulk (and shipped on dry ice) from Amazon, (what can I say, I was hooked!), but my Whole Foods now actually carries the unsweetened version. I make a big batch of this purée at the beginning of the week and freeze portions in muffin tins. Once frozen, I pop them out and store them in freezer bags. (I got this genius idea from The Kitchn). Each morning I zap a portion in the microwave for 40 seconds and stir it into my yogurt.
For the Acai Purée:
- 4 acai purée smoothie packs (each package comes with 4 individual packs)
- 2 ripe bananas
- Handful of frozen berries (I like raspberries or strawberries to add some sweetness) Optional: splash of fruit juice (I omit this)
For the Acai Bowls: (Makes one bowl)
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 1/2 banana, sliced
- Other sliced fresh fruit (peaches, plums, raspberries, blackberries, whatever is in season)
- 1/8 c-1/4 cup granola, or mixture of nuts and dried fruit
- Other mix-in ideas: peanut butter or almond butter, dark chocolate chips
Make the Purée:
- Run the acai packs under warm running water for 10 seconds to slightly defrost.
- Place the acai purée in a blender or food processor.
- If the acai is still pretty frozen, it can be helpful to cut it up into chunks with kitchen scissors to help it along.
- Add the bananas, frozen berries, and fruit juice if using.
- Blend, stopping every 30 seconds or so to scrape down the sides and move the acai chunks around. Continue until the mixture is completely smooth.
- Combine yogurt and 1/3 cup of the acai purée in a bowl.
- Add banana slices, fresh fruit, granola, and any other mix-ins you like. Stir to combine.
Note: You can also combine 1/3 cup of the acai purée with a cup of greek yogurt in your blender or food processor if you prefer your acai bowl to be even creamier and smoothie-like. For the Acai Purée Leftovers:
- Scoop the acai purée into muffin tins and place in the freezer. I usually can fill 10 muffin cups or so.
- Once frozen, use a butter knife to ease out the acai cups. I find running the butter knife under hot water helps loosen up the smoothie cups.
- Place the smoothie cups in a freezer bag and store for future mornings.
- To reheat, place one smoothie cup in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 40 seconds or so, until the purée is soft but not warm.