So it’s National Ice Cream Month, as I found out from the buzz around the blogosphere. Yesterday was National Ice Cream Day? You don’t say. Well, for me, there’s no month for ice cream, and definitely nothing as paltry as a day for it. It’s ice cream year—as it has been in my life for the past 19 years and will continue until I’ve lost my teeth and my veins explode from too much cream and sugar.
I apologize, but I love ice cream enough not to confine it to the sweltering month of a California July. The cool and creamy stuff on the end of a spoon, the most perfect iced cream with the finest of granulations that take it just one step past frozen custard towards granita. The most perfect of foods. When I’m old and wrinkled and it doesn’t matter what I eat, I’ll have ice cream for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. The kitchen counters will be lined with ice cream makers, and I’ll have an industrial freezer.
Since it’s not quite that time yet, I have room in my stomach for other favorite foods. Among them are apples and salad, but the one that got me through freshman year in the dining halls was cereal. Crunchy and sweet, with numerous textures and flavors, I ate cereal for dinner. And really it’s not such a stretch—cereal is, after all, good at anytime of the day. It’s almost as perfect as ice cream. Every time I take a bite, the thought “I love cereal,” runs through my mind and occasionally slips out my mouth. Enough so that a friend gave me a cereal cookbook.
My newly re-discovered favorite cereal at school was Cinnamon Toast Crunch. With a truly defined cinnamon sugar flavor, not quite as unique and vague as the electric orange Captain Crunch, Cinnamon Toast Crunch was one of the few sugar cereals I could justify eating for dinner. It’s a great cereal in perfect miniature toast-like squares with swirls of rich brown cinnamon sugar in every bite. It’s as good as every memory and as every commercial ever said.
It took a while for the idea for a cereal infused ice cream to come along, and I’m sorry. Mostly for myself. Because now that I’ve combine the two, the cereal aspect allows ice cream to be eaten at anytime of the day…I hope.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch Ice Cream
Inspired by The Breakfast Cereal Gourmet and my love of cereal
The Breakfast Cereal Gourmet is the kind of cookbook with outrageous ideas, and recipes that don’t quite follow through. Lucky Charms encrusted fish? Hmmm, not quite what I’m looking for but hey, if it’s what you’re into… So I took the idea of Cinnamon Toast Crunch Ice Cream and used my general vanilla ice cream base and it was delicious. The best. This technique would work with any cereal, as proven by the ice cream at Momofuku Milk Bar.
Notes: I enjoy soggy cereal, in fact when I eat milk and cereal I’ll make it, let it soak for bit and then come back later to eat it. Delicious. Most people– my family– prefer cereal that retains a bit of its crunch however. If you are most people, do not add cereal to the ice cream during the last five minutes of churning. If you’re like me however, then add some cereal, let it freeze, and the day after you’ll have soggy cereal ice cream. Mmmm.
2 ½ cups low-fat milk (one or two percent)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
¾ cups white sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup crushed Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, for sprinkling
1. Mix together two cups of milk with one cup of cereal and set in the fridge overnight. Repeat with the whipping cream and remaining cup of cereal. This allows the milk to absorb the flavor and sugar granules off the cereal.
2. Strain the floaty bits of cereal from the milk, there should be approximately 1 ½ cups of milk remaining. If there is less, add a little of milk to top it off. If there is more, it’s totally fine. More flavor! Strain the cereal from the cream and then add the ½ cup of milk to the cream. Set aside. Mix together the 1 ½ cup cereal-milk with the vanilla in a saucepan and heat until boiling. Set aside.
3. Beat together the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and cinnamon until pale and thick enough to hold loose ribbons. Slowly add the hot milk while continually beating until just combines. Return egg mixture to heat in a saucepan and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until thickened. Do no boil! Remove from heat and stir in the cereal-cream-milk. Refrigerate the ice cream base until cool. Freeze according to ice cream maker’s directions. Before serving, sprinkle with crushed cereal for a nice crunch.