A while ago, my friends and I stopped by Momofuku Milk Bar and sampled a lot of different sweet treats. Being the adventurous food lover that he is, Ray tried a cereal milk milkshake in addition to the compost cookies, corn cookies, cake truffles, and crack pie we already had (talk about sugar overload!). While I was quite happy to scarf down all of them, the milkshake was my favorite. It tastes exactly like the milk you drink out of the bowl after you finish the cereal. The concept sounds like a gimmick, but after trying it, it cements in my mind that sometimes gimmicks actually work! And when they do, they can be really exciting.
So corn flakes works well as a milkshake flavor. The question is, does it work well as an ice cream flavor? It sure does! I found Christina Tosi’s original recipe for cereal milk ice cream here, which calls for ingredients like gelatin sheets and freeze-dried corn powder. I gave some thoughts to it, but since I didn’t have those special ingredients and had no idea where to get them, I ended up testing this new flavor with the milk infusion method.
For this recipe, I used unsweetened corn flakes, but you can definitely try it with your favorite cereal. How about Oreo O’s? Or frosted flakes? Honey Bunches of Oats (my favorite cereal of all time, by the way) sounds like a good choice too! If the cereal you’re using is already sweetened, then make sure you readjust the amount of sugar that goes into the custard. Just give it a taste and see if more sugar is needed. The key here is to not do this on an empty stomach. Or taste test the cereal milk too many times. This is incredibly difficult, I know.
I made some cornflake crunch as an afterthought. I don’t know if it has something to do with the use of too much butter, or too much salt, or the milk powder, but it just tasted…a bit off. Now that I have a container of the crunch in my fridge and don’t want to let it go to waste, I might have to incorporate it into a cookie recipe. Hopefully, it’ll be something more promising.
Cereal Milk Ice Cream
(makes about 1 quart)
2 cups milk
2 cups cereal
¼ tsp salt
½ cup sugar
5 large egg yolks
1 ½ cup heavy cream
Combine the milk and cereal in a container and let it soak for 30 minutes. Strain out the cereal with a fine mesh and reserve the cereal milk (this should yield approximately 1 ½ cup of cereal milk). Heat the cereal milk with salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it begins to boil. Remove the milk from heat.
Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a separate bowl and whisk lightly. Gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks to temper them, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Add the heavy cream to the custard, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
*Toasting the cereal before steeping them deepens the flavor of the milk. I was short on time so I didn’t try it this time, but 15 minutes in a 300F oven on a parchment-lined baking sheet should work.
*If you want a more intense cereal milk flavor, just substitute the 1 ½ cup of heavy cream with 1 ½ cup of cereal milk (I attempted to steep the cereal in cold heavy cream and it didn’t work well).