My favorite cereal growing up was always (and will continue to be) cinnamon toast crunch. I’m a big fan of cinnamon, the spice, in general. Cinnamon doughnuts, cinnamon coffee cake, cinnamon french toast, and now cinnamon ice cream. Did I mention cinnamon doughnuts? These are some of my favorite things. Like in The Sound of Music, but so much better because I get to eat all of these things. Give them all to me now. These days, I only eat plain and boring cheerios every morning because it’s “healthier” and “good for you.” Welcome to adulthood, everyone. It isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Definitely no fun and games like I was promised. Is it too late to return it?
Whenever I go out to get frozen yogurt late at night because that’s when I want it the most, I only eat cinnamon flavored frozen yogurt topped cinnamon toast crunch. On occasion I’ll have pistachio froyo because sometimes I feel like living on the edge (watch out I’m unstoppable), but I’ll still only top it with cinnamon toast crunch because I’m not that wild. Let’s not get crazy. I never would’ve thought to make cinnamon toast crunch ice cream, if it wasn’t for all those late night trips to our local frozen yogurt shop. So in a way, it’s a good thing I listened to those late night cravings because if I hadn’t, then this whole genius situation would never have happened. You wouldn’t be able to enjoy it. Moral of the story is that if it’s late at night, like way too late to eat anything, but you still have a craving that won’t go away, you should definitely listen to those cravings. That’s the way to go. You’re living life right.
This summer I’ve been slacking in the ice cream making department. What is wrong with me?! I’m sorry. This is only the second time I’ve dusted off that trusty ice cream machine, the first being this too-good-to-believe ice cream peanut butter cookie sandwich situation. Although I’ve dropped the ball this time around, I do plan on righting my wrong as soon as possible. I’m no stranger to ice cream though, and just in case you’re on the lookout for even more awesome ice cream goodness, check out this Breakfast Ice Cream and this No-Churn Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream. They’re both the bee’s knees. If bees had knees. Late night summer ice cream party anyone? I think it’s a must.
Let’s start by soaking the cereal in milk first. You know how you’d eat cereal and if you walked away from it for too long or if you ate it too slow and by the end of it they’d get super soggy? It’s a weird texture but the milk left at the end is just fully concentrated with optimal cereal flavor. That’s what we’re trying to achieve.
Pour the milk over the cereal and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
**Note: The longer the cereal sits in the milk, the more flavor you’ll get in the milk. So if you can, leave it soaking overnight in the fridge covered well with plastic. Overnight isn’t necessary, but just thought I’d throw it out there in case it interested you.**
Line a fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth and place over a saucepan. Then pour the milk and cereal through it and allow to drain. Grab the sides of the cheesecloth and squeeze the cereal as hard as you can to get all of the milk out.
Combine the remaining ingredients. Heavy cream, sugar, cinnamon, cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean.
**Tip: Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and then scrape out the pods and throw those into the pot, but for more vanilla flavor, throw in pieces as well. We’ll discard them later.**
Set the saucepan over low to medium heat and allow to heat through. It should come to a simmer, but definitely not boil, so keep an eye on it.
Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl, until completely combined.
Slowly stream in about a cup of the warm milk/cream mixture while continuously whisking.
**Tip: This technique is called tempering. We’re adding a bit of the warm liquid to the eggs, only to then add them back into the saucepan. If you were to add the egg yolks without doing this step, you run the risk of them cooking and scrambling. Then you’d have scrambled egg ice cream. Yummy right?**
Pour that back into the saucepan again, while continuously whisking. Then switch over to a wooden spoon. Cook on low to medium until thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.
**Note: To prevent curdling, make sure you whisk constantly while the custard thickens. You might think you’ll be okay to walk away and work on something else, but that’s a bad idea. As soon as you walk away, the custard with curdle. That’s a true fact.**
Once thick, strain the mixture into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve. This will catch any bits and pieces that are wonky in the custard. Wonky is a technical term.
Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and let chill in fridge for at least 4 hours. Make sure the plastic wrap directly touches the top of the mixture. This will prevent the top from forming a skin.
**Tip: You’ll find that the ice cream will churn a lot better when the custard is super chilled. I recommend making it the night before and letting it chill in the fridge overnight.**
Pour the chilled custard into an ice cream maker and churn until thick and creamy. The amount of time will vary among different machines and brands. Add a few handfuls of crushed cereal at the very end.
**Note: This step is completely optional. Here’s the lowdown. If you add the cereal to the ice cream at this point, later on, the cereal will get soggy. It’s just science. So if you don’t like soggy cereal, then don’t add it. If you don’t mind it, it does add a texture to the ice cream. You can also just save this step and top the cereal with crushed cereal right before serving.**
Pour the ice cream into a container or pan, and garnish with more cereal on top (just for looks and so people know what flavor it is).
Place in the freezer and let chill for 4 to 6 hours. Overnight is best, because it’ll full freeze and be perfect, but I know that waiting an entire night to eat this is torture so you don’t have to wait that long. I’m not a monster.
To fully bring the kid out of us all, serve the ice cream in sugar cones and top with a sprinkling of crushed cinnamon toast cereal because it just seems right. It feels right.
Try this cereal technique with anyone of your favorite cereals. Just omit the cinnamon at the beginning and swap out the cereal flavor. Captain Crunch, Apple Jacks or Coco Puffs would be great as well. The possibilities are endless.
If you’re a lover of cinnamon like I am, then meet your new favorite ice cream flavor. This is for the kid in us all, and because of the fact that cereal is involved, I’m almost 99.9% positive that you can eat it for breakfast. Yay, ice cream for breakfast! Yay!
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3 cups cinnamon toast crunch cereal, divided
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 vanilla bean, cut and seeds scraped
- 5 large egg yolks
- In a large bowl, combine the milk and 2 cups cinnamon toast crunch cereal. Allow to sit for at least half an hour. Once the cereal is soggy, pour into a saucepan through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. Bring up the sides of the cheesecloth, and squeeze all of the milk out. Toss the cereal.
- To the saucepan with the milk, add the heavy cream, sugar, cinnamon, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla bean seeds. Set over medium heat, and bring to a simmer.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until well combined. Slowly stream in about 1 cup of the warmed milk mixture, while whisking constantly, so that it doesn't curdle. Pour that mixture into the sauce pan and cook over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until thick. Remove from heat and discard the cinnamon sticks. Pour the mixture into a bowl, through a fine mesh sieve. Cover the top directly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until chilled, at least 8 hours
- Pour the chilled ice cream base into your ice cream maker and churn according to instructions. It should have the consistency of soft serve. Fold in the remaining cinnamon toast crunch that you've crushed between your hands. Cover in plastic or airtight containers and freeze until firm. Can also be kept in freezer for up to 1 week. Serve with cones or bowls. Enjoy