Cinnamon Toast Crunch Ice Cream
Have Breakfast for Dessert Tonight
"The Breakfast Cereal Gourmet," written by David Hoffman, who also wrote "The Easy-Bake Oven Gourmet," is taking cereal recipes far beyond Rice Krispie Treats and Chex Mix. He creates meals like Frosted Banana Pancakes with Frosted Flakes and Tomato Gratin with Grape Nut topping.
It makes sense. Americans consume huge amounts of cereal. The average person eats about 10 pounds or 160 bowls of it a year, and breakfast cereal ranks third in the list of grocery-store items bought by Americans -- after soda and milk. In fact, most of the vitamins and minerals children get are from cereal.
What Trix, Lucky Charms and Cap'n Crunch were to the '60s, and Freakies and the "Monster Cereals" were to the '70s, Cinnamon Toast Crunch was to the '80s -- the cereal that defined a decade.
It was introduced in 1984, and the first generation of kids reared on it are now of college age, which probably explains why at the University of La Verne in La Verne, Calif., a key complaint students had in a 2002 survey regarding the cafeteria was that Cinnamon Toast Crunch was consistently unavailable. School officials, sensing potential unrest on their hands, quickly took action -- and awarded the food-service contract to a new provider.
Many colleges now allow students to vote on what cereals they want offered in their dining facilities, and ranking No. 1 (hanging chads be damned) for the last three years at the University of Minnesota, at the University of Wisconsin, and at the University of Georgia (just to name a few) is Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
The people have spoken.
In a heavy saucepan, combine the heavy cream and the half and half. Add the cinnamon.
Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixture and then add the pod. Set over medium heat and bring just to a boil.
In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar. Whisk about 1 cup hot cream mixture into the yolks, then return the mixture to the pan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, just until the mixture begins to thicken, about 7 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill at least 8 hours or overnight.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
In a bowl, combine crushed cereal, butter, and syrup, and toss to mix thoroughly. Spread on a foil-lined baking sheet and place in the oven 4 minutes. Cool, then break into small pieces.
Strain the chilled custard into the container of an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. Add the cereal pieces and turn several times just to fold in. Pack the ice cream into the freezer storage container and freeze until ready to serve.
Makes about 1 quart