This is a nice little transition ice cream, isn’t it? The deeply spiced flavors of the fall, with the cold, melting prone dessert of the summer!
But this is actually a long time coming. We were a tea and toast type of family growing up. Our breakfast would be just that – perfectly spiced chai, with buttered toast. On special occasions, my mom would sprinkle sugar on the toast, which was pretty much divine. You didn’t even need to toast the bread! Plain white bread with softened butter and sugar. Seriously, give that a try! I digress…
This was all until my sister discovered a bottle of cinnamon sugar in the spice section of the grocery store. She asked my mom to buy it (to credit my mom, she said that we could just mix the two together at home, but we claimed that we wouldn’t know the “recipe”…man, moms really do have a lot of patience, don’t they?), and then showed me how cinnamon sugar is meant to be used: also on the buttered toast that we had for breakfast! I loved it. The only problem was that it just didn’t pair well with our morning chai. Too much spice going on. What I always wanted was that cinnamon sugar toast with a glass of milk, warm or cold.
Why I never had the two together is beyond me. But this is it, people. I finally did it. This is the milky cinnamon sugar toast combo that I have always wanted. It has that distinct combo of spice, sugar and butter. This is your next breakfast.
Cinnamon Toast Ice Cream (adapted from Epicurious)
There are two fancy things going on here that I would do without: first, I used good country white loaf bread. From a bakery. Cut thick. See picture above. Sounds great, right? Mistake. I think that regular ol’ sliced white bread would be much more manageable in the this ice cream. Also much more recognizable. Do that instead.
The second is that this recipe called for molasses, and even though I know that a basic recipe of cinnamon sugar toast doesn’t have molasses in it, I still used it. Mistake 2. It adds a great depth of flavor, actually, especially as the ice cream sits for a couple days. I dare to say that it even takes on a coffee or chocolate flavor. But again, not the flavor of cinnamon toast. You could do without this as well to get the clean tastes of cinnamon, sugar, butter and bread. Mm.
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
- 5 slices firm white sandwich bread
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon molasses, optional (see note above)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp. salt
Bring milk and cinnamon sticks to a boil in a 2-quart heavy pot, then remove from heat and let steep, covered, 30 minutes.
While milk steeps, put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 300°F.
Cut 3 slices bread into 1/4-inch cubes and transfer to a bowl. Quarter remaining 2 slices and pulse in a food processor to make bread crumbs. Whisk together butter, brown sugar, ground cinnamon and salt in another bowl. Drizzle 3 tablespoons butter mixture over bread cubes and stir to lightly coat. Spread in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan. Add bread crumbs to remaining butter mixture and stir to evenly coat. Spread crumbs evenly in another shallow baking pan.
Bake bread cubes and crumbs, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes total. Cool in pans on racks, then transfer bread crumbs to a bowl.
Pour the milk over bread crumbs and let stand 10 minutes. Pour milk through a fine-mesh sieve into saucepan, pressing hard on solids, then discarding them.
Whisk granulated sugar, molasses, if using, and salt in a bowl. Stir in cream. Add the milk and whisk.
Refrigerate until mixture is completely chilled – at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Freeze custard in ice cream maker until almost firm. Fold bread cubes into ice cream, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.