Some people love cereal. They want nothing else for breakfast. They even like it as a dessert or a snack.
I'm not one of those people.
It wasn't always that way. As a kid I loved sugary cold cereals (Cocoa Pebbles were my favorite), but as an adult, I started to believe my mother when she said they might not be good for me. It took a few years of eating non-sugary cereal for breakfast every day to help me realize cereal is no treat. Not only do the healthful cereals not taste as good, they also are monumentally unsatisfying. If I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast, I would be starving an hour later. That's no way to start the day.
The latest food craze now is "Cereal Milk", popularized by Christina Tosi of the Milk Bar. The concept comes from the belief that the milk at the bottom of your bowl is the best part of the cereal. I have now seen this idea repeated in food blogs everywhere. Cereal milk is now a flavor for ice cream and cake frosting and pie custards.
Is the milk at the bottom of the bowl the best part? My memories from my cereal-eating days wouldn't agree. I suppose as a very small child eating chocolate cereal I liked the chocolate milk at the bottom of the bowl. Otherwise, it was just the nasty puddle I had to clean up off the breakfast dishes. In fact, I rarely ever drank the milk at the bottom of the bowl because for years I had a greedy cat who would perch on the kitchen table next to my bowl and immediately stick his head in the milk as soon as I put my spoon down (spoiled kitty).
Despite my misgivings about how gross cereal milk is, I had to admit part of me sees the appeal. Why not have a dessert that is subtly flavored with a sweet cereal without having to put the actual cereal in the dessert (the cereal itself would only get soggy)?
With my curiosity piqued and my sense of adventure activated, I decided to try it. I invited my family over for Father's Day. I wanted to create a dessert that my nephew would eat. He doesn't like cake (hates frosting) or pudding or any other soft desserts. In truth he doesn't like too many foods in general. Among the few desserts I see him eat are cookies and ice cream. I decided to bake giant chocolate chip cookies and make a super-sized ice cream sandwich with cereal milk ice cream.
Tosi uses Corn Flakes for her ice cream. I wanted something sweeter. I used Cap'n Crunch. While I wouldn't replace a regular dessert with Cap'n Crunch, I have enjoyed it as an adult as an indulgent breakfast. I thought it might make a fun ice cream flavor.
I decided to use a Philadelphia style ice cream with no custard base. Part of my rationale for doing this is that ice creams without the enrichment of the eggs have more intense flavor. I wanted the cereal to be the primary taste. Also, it's much easier and faster to just throw the milk, cream, and flavoring into the ice cream machine than it is to cook a custard. Ice creams without a custard base are perfect for lazy cooks.
I soaked the cereal in two and a half cups of milk. I used more milk than the original recipe calls for because I knew I would lose some of it in the soaking process. I let it soak overnight and then measured out two cups.
I mixed it in the blender with cream, vanilla, and some sugar and then churned it in my ice cream maker.
I used the classic Nestle Toll House pan cookie recipe. Then I baked it in my cookie-shaped baking pans.
I spread the soft ice cream between the giant baked cookies and froze the whole thing.
What else did I serve?
I made a platter of deviled eggs in three flavors. One was avocado, cumin, chili, and lime. One was bacon and smoked paprika. One was classic mustard and capers.
We had a simple salad of farm market lettuce dressed with good olive oil, white wine vinegar, and a touch of honey.
Main course was lamb shanks with classic risotto.
I have no photos. I was enjoying the dinner so much, I forgot to take any.
How did the ice cream taste? It was really good. The cereal came through nicely. I would try this again and maybe even try a different cereal. I could try peanut butter Cap'n Crunch instead.
Cap'n Crunch Cereal Milk Ice Cream
- 3 cups Cap'n Crunch cereal
- 3 cups milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Place the milk and the cereal in a large bowl and soak overnight.
The next day, strain the cereal from the milk. Measure out the remaining milk to make 2 cups.
Mix milk with remaining ingredients in a blender.
Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.