Tomorrow is my birthday and I'll eat this cinnamon toast crunch ice cream all day if I want to. Last year's birthday theme was pies but with the social distancing this year I kind of wanted something a little more freezer-friendly so I didn't end up with a million leftovers. Plus, I've been craving something cool.
I've loved the idea of cereal milk ice cream ever since I first heard that Christina Tosi was making it at her Milk Bar stores. When I finally got my hands on it, though, I found it underwhelming.
Tosi uses plain, albeit lightly caramelized and toasted corn flakes, and I found the ice cream to taste more like stale milk than anything else. I dunno. I just prefer my ice cream sweet, I guess.
So when I found a froyo place in Little Toyko called Bae (which has sadly since closed) selling cinnamon toast crunch soft serve I had to try it. And it was everything I had hoped cereal milk ice cream would be.
I grew up in a strict no-sugar-for-breakfast household (except on weekends when pancakes and waffles were welcome) so cereals like Cinnamon Toast Crunch were rare, reserved only for hotel breakfasts and weekends at my grandparents' house.
Now, of course, I can eat sugary cereals whenever I want. And yes, yes, yes, you better believe I want it as ice cream. So I plan on celebrating turning 32 by scooping a this over an ooey-gooey brownie and maybe drizzling on some hot fudge too, just for good measure.
For this ice cream, I soaked the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal in the sweet cream base not once but twice. I gave it an extra kick of cinnamon flavor from a whole cinnamon stick, cracked in half and steeped in heavy cream. And because I used an ice cream base instead of frozen yogurt, it's even richer and creamier than its soft serve cousin.
My goal was to make an ice cream with that unmistakable Cinnamon Toast Crunch flavor — not just a cinnamon ice cream. Cinnamon is a warm spice with a bit of heat to it, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch the cereal is for kids.
So I didn't want a spicy cinnamon ice cream, even a mild version. (That said, if you're interested in an ice cream with warm spice flavors, that's what orange-cardamom ice cream is for.)
I really wanted to lean into the cinnamon sugar flavors and there's just no better way to do that than to go right to the source. I swear this post isn't sponsored by General Mills, btw. (Though, GM, if you're listening — I'm open to collabs!)
This cinnamon toast crunch ice cream is a smooth, sweet ice cream with visible swirls and whorls of cinnamon. It tastes just like the cereal, and is so good served with whole or crushed cinnamon toast crunch cereal as a topping.
notes on ice cream making
- I used my fave Ben & Jerry's sweet cream ice cream base for this recipe. It uses both milk and heavy cream. I've made it with skim milk and whole milk and both will work, but whole milk with its higher percentage of milk fat will give you a creamier ice cream. Skim milk will give you an ice cream with a lightly crystalized texture. I haven't tried making ice cream with non-dairy milks, so do your research if you want to try ice cream with one of them!
- Milk will burn if you try to boil it, but heavy cream can be boiled safely. I steeped the cinnamon sticks in the heavy cream on the stove but soaked the cereal in the cold milk on the counter. Once I strained the cereal out of the milk and combined the milk and heavy cream, I soaked even more cereal in the mixture to make sure it had as much time as possible to soak up those cereal flavors.
- This will work with whatever ice cream maker you have, and will also work using the good ol' trusty ice cream in a bag method. If you're in the market for an ice cream maker, I reviewed some popular models here.
- Make sure you plan enough time for the ice cream base to chill after you make it but before you churn it. Ideally this means letting it sit in the fridge overnight (8 hours).
- Right after churning, your ice cream will have an almost soft-serve like consistency. Let it chill in the freezer for at least 2 hours before scooping.
- To prevent freezer burn, press a sheet of saran wrap down across the surface of the ice cream before you put the lid of the container on.
- If you want a slightly softer ice cream add an extra 1-2 tablespoon of sugar. I've done this with as much as an extra ¼ cup of sugar (1 cup sugar total) which makes a really smooth, soft ice cream. But it melts quickly and can be a little trickier to scoop.
other recipes you might like
- orange-cardamom ice cream with hot fudge swirl
- flaky brown butter cinnamon roll pancakes
- one scaled down (epic) mini cinnamon roll
cinnamon toast crunch ice cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1½ cup milk
- 2 large pasteurized eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 oz cinnamon toast crunch cereal
- Follow your ice cream maker's instructions for pre-chilling the ice cream maker bowl. Some models require an overnight chill in the freezer, others can self-chill. If using the ice cream in a bag method, make sure you have enough ice and salt.
- In a medium sized bowl or 2-cup measuring cup combine milk and half (about 2 oz) of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Break the cinnamon stick in half and place it in a small pot over medium heat with the heavy cream. Bring the heavy cream to a low boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer 20-30 minutes.
- Place a wire mesh strainer over the mouth of a large bowl or measuring cup (at least 4-cup capacity). Pour the heavy cream through the strainer to remove the cinnamon stick pieces. Then pour the milk through the strainer to remove the cereal pieces. Discard the soggy cereal and cinnamon stick.
- Add the rest of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch to the milk and heavy cream mixture. Set aside at room temp for 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl vigorously beat two whole eggs with a whisk until pale and frothy, about 1-2 minutes. Set a timer so you know when to stop.Gradually whisk the sugar in to the eggs. Put a kitchen towel under your bowl to hold it in place if necessary. Once all the sugar is added, whisk vigorously 1 minute more.
- Place the wire strainer over the mouth of the bowl with the eggs. Strain the milk and heavy cream mixture into the bowl, removing and discarding the soggy cereal.Whisk to combine the eggs and cream. This is your ice cream base.
- Transfer the ice cream base to an airtight container in the refrigerator and chill overnight (at least 8 hours).
- The next day, pour your ice cream base into your ice cream maker and follow the instructions to churn it. If using the KitchenAid attachment, it should take about 20-30 minutes. The ice cream is done when it has climbed up to the top of the bowl and has a consistent texture all the way through. It will still be quite soft.
- Transfer the churned ice cream to an airtight container. Press a sheet of plastic wrap across the surface of the ice cream to prevent freezer burn. Chill at least 2 hours before scooping.
- Serve with crushed or whole pieces of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal on top.
- For a sweeter ice cream with a texture closer to soft serve, you can add 1-2 tablespoon or up to ¼ cup more sugar. Fair warning: This ice cream will also melt a lot faster if you leave it out, and will take a little longer to firm up in the fridge.
- Heavy cream is safe to boil on the stove. Milk is not. Milk will burn. Do not try to take a shortcut by combining the heavy cream and milk on the stove.