pretzel bites.

pretzel bites.

Friday, December 28, 2012

caramel : chocolate : candy + pretzel rod

joey and i went to college together. for a year and a half. the first half of my junior year before i went abroad and all of my senior year. he was accepted when i was a sophomore. at first i had some concerns about this plan, which is a nice way of saying i totally freaked out and had a self indulgent tantrum into my pillow when i found out because nothing would be okay again ever. i mean, i thought it was the. worst. idea. ever. so how else was i going to respond? i went to a tiny college. it seemed like everyone knew everything about everyone all the time. seriously. all the time. 
i will pause here to say THANK GOD I WENT TO COLLEGE BEFORE FACEBOOK WAS A THING.
the last thing i needed was my little brother around.  GLARBH! a little brother! at college! little brothers weren't supposed to go to college with you. they were supposed to come visit and you were supposed to let them get drunk and make a fool of themselves at a party and it was all supposed to be okay because then on sunday evening they would leave. if joey came to kenyon with me, he would never leave. he would just be there being my disapproving little brother all the time. worst. idea. ever.
i was wrong. very, very, very wrong.
having joey on campus was one of the best things that ever happened.
as it turns out college freshman and sophomore joey was not at all like high school freshman and sophomore joey. he improved immensely over time! he wasn't annoying anymore! he was hilarious and brilliant and kind and supportive and forgiving and fun. and i loved sharing a tiny campus with him. we got to eat lunch together on random weekdays and randomly bumping into him here or there always made me happy. he made his own interesting friends and i liked hanging out with them just as i liked when he came around to hang out with my friends. going to parties with him was equally fun because he's one of the greatest dancers i've ever known. and, to top it all off, he always filled up the gas tank of our car. being at kenyon with him laid the foundation for the extremely close and happy relationship we share today and i don't know if we'd know each other as well as we do if he hadn't been there. that said, sometimes pillow tantrums are okay. 
my senior year i lived in a tiny little house called a bexley and joey used to come and laze around the living room all the time. he frequently came bearing treats, and that was the year he discovered one of the great combinations of all time. pretzel rods and salsa con queso. i ate a lot of questionable things at questionable times when i was in college including, but not limited to, pizza subs made at some extremely late or unreasonably early hour--depending on your perspective--at a gas station called hotrods (all one word) that never closed. HOTRODS. (at least i wasn't eating meat.)
the last time i was awake and hungry at said extremely late or unreasonably early hour was because of my baby, and not, sadly, because i've been up all night drinking and dancing. anyway these days i imagine it would be hard to get someone to agree to go with me to a 24 hour gas station for a sub. and even if i could find someone to go with me i'm sure i'd leave sub-less, guilt and reason having directed me to purchase a string cheese, a granola bar (maybe some chex mix instead of the granola bar if i was feeling feisty), and a very old now and later. though my questionable foods group has grown considerably since my college days, salsa con queso will always have a place in my home. first of all, i have checked the nutritional information and the first three ingredients of the wondrous substance are water, nonfat milk, and monterey jack cheese, which means it was actually probably providing me with much needed protein and calcium when i was in college, and is more than enough for me to consider it wholesome, and anyway the truth is i'd probably still eat it proudly even if i couldn't pronounce the first three ingredients. it is that delicious. joey seems to share my belief that pretzels are as good or better things to dip in other things and i think we learned this from our mom, who taught us that hummus with pretzels is far superior to hummus with pita. joey introduced the pretzel rod to the queso jar, i assume, to avoid a mess. though i very much prefer regular pretzels to pretzel rods, i understand that there is a time and place for them. 
like with salsa con queso.

and caramel. and chocolate. and candy.

caramel, chocolate, and candy covered pretzel rods. 
ingredients for the caramel:
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter (salted or unsalted, depending on how salty you like it)
1 cup light corn syrup
ingredients for the chocolate and candy covering:
two bags chocolate chips of your choice
candy or cookies of your choice all ground up
little bit of butter
to make:
1. line cookie sheets with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
2. mix the caramel ingredients over medium heat and let it boil for five minutes, stirring frequently to make sure it's not burning. when it's done, transfer it to the deepest bowl you have.
3. spread the caramel over the pretzel rod with a spatula leaving about two inches of exposed pretzel at the bottom. place each caramel rod on the parchment paper and let it set and cool for at least 30 minutes. (i actually ended up leaving them in the fridge overnight but that was because i got inspired a little too late at night and by the time the caramel had set i wanted to go to bed.)
4. prepare your candy toppings. i used crushed butterfinger, mini chocolate chips, mini m&m's, a crushed up cookie, little sour gummy things, shredded sweetened coconut, heath brickle, and gold sprinkles. i also used melted white chocolate and peanut butter and melted butterscotch, but those don't have to be ready to go in this step.  (i had almost all of these things in my pantry.)
5. line more cookie sheets with parchment paper, or if you've run out of cookie sheets just line your countertop if you have the space. melt the chocolate in the microwave with a little bit of butter. if the caramel has pooled away from the pretzel roll it either in your (very clean) hands or on the parchment paper to bring it back, then spread the chocolate over the caramel with a spatula and place it on the parchment paper. (the chocolate may spread a little and if you're one of those people who needs things to look perfect then try pouring the melted chocolate into a tall glass and dipping the pretzel rod in the glass to get nice even coverage.)
6. sprinkle your toppings over the chocolate before it sets. if you're going to use melted flavored chips of any kind, melt them and drizzle them over the chocolate, too.
7. let the chocolate and toppings set before moving them. they should set fine on their own, but i put each cookie sheet in the fridge for about 20 minutes (i only had room for one at a time) just to be sure.
in the end i had 30 pretzel rods which i arranged in threes in fancy little baggies tied with bows which i gave people as gifts. they're really delicious.

if i haven't inspired you to make caramel, chocolate, and candy covered pretzel rods, i hope i've at least convinced you that salsa con queso and pretzel rods is a winning combination. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

peanut butter pie. comfort in a few ingredients.

sometimes you just need simple, unadulterated comfort. in a pie.

ingredients:
1 jar peanut butter
1 container defrosted cool whip
1 pre-made pie crust (chocolate, oreo, or graham all work)
1/2 bag chocolate chips
a little butter
a little milk or cream
about 6 reese's peanut butter cups

scoop the peanut butter and the cool whip into a big bowl.
mix it together until it's combined.
spread it into the pie crust.
lick the bowl.
melt chocolate chips with a tab of butter either in the microwave.
add the milk or cream bit by bit.
a few tablespoons should be fine.
smooth the chocolate onto the top of the peanut butter cool whip combo.
crush the reese's cups up and decorate the top of the chocolate however you like.
put the pie in the fridge to let the chocolate harden.
take the pie out of the fridge.
eat it.
slowly.
it's very rich.

next time i think i'll incorporate some pretzel...

Monday, December 10, 2012

hanukkah donuts. forget the jelly. use peanut butter instead.

so it's hanukkah again. i was surrounded by a seemingly endless supply of jelly donuts and chocolate gelt coins at work last hanukkah. and when i say surrounded, i really mean it. they were literally in my actual physical office. i have almost no willpower as it is when it comes to sweets, and last hanukkah i was pregnant. it's no surprise i consumed an astonishing amount of treats. the truth is, i probably would have consumed the same amount had i not been pregnant, but last year i was able to do it shamelessly and with gusto. that's why, when it came time for my own hanukkah baking, i was done with fried things and i decided to go a lighter route and make lemon olive oil cookies.

this year i've been surrounded by cheerios and baby yogurt, and the closest i've come to a holiday sweets binge was on saturday night when i stood a little too close to the bowl of red and green m&m's at the christmakah party my friends were throwing. so i'm all about fried holiday treats now. this year, i decided to make sufganiyot, or fried donuts, for the very first time. 
last night jake, joey, and gaby came over to celebrate hanukkah with us and i made a very healthy, balanced dinner with the delicious things we procured at the farmers market on saturday. that's why it was okay to serve the dessert we served. not just okay, but appropriate. jake doesn't eat jelly anything, so i decided to just skip that whole part (even though i'm a jelly donut convert) and make unstuffed donuts, which are really just like dough bites. i tried, rather unsuccessfully, to put some chocolate chips in between two donuts and push them together before i fried them, but i wouldn't recommend it because most of them just separated and the chocolate fell out. besides, they really didn't need the chocolate. not when they were topped with powdered sugar, $12 ice cream, and hot chocolate sauce. let me explain:

every tuesday, when i'm at work, josh takes rapha to a wonderful little cheese shop called valley shepherd creamery where they both sample cheeses and talk to the lovely girl who works there, who, it turns out, graduated from kenyon college 7 years after i did. (is there no end to the smallness of this world??) rapha helps josh decide which cheese to buy. seriously. he has a very discerning palate for a 7 month old. valley shepherd also sells delicious jams and cookies and breads and ice cream. expensive ice cream. the most expensive ice cream i have ever seen in my life. $12 pints of ice cream. josh and i talk about it a lot. what could possibly justify that astronomical price? is this the ice cream to end all ice creams? is there really a discernible difference between this ice cream and, say, ben and jerry's? there was, obviously, only one way to find out. so yesterday, when we stopped in to pick up some cheese for dinner we finally pulled the trigger and bought a pint. the flavors they had available were the good kind of bizarre, but not all of them would go with fried dough. i was having a little trouble choosing between boozy eggnog, brambleberry crisp, salted caramel, and roasted strawberry buttermilk when i saw the obvious choice. the buckeye state. peanut butter. ohio. meant to be.
after dusting the donuts in powdered sugar i whipped up some chocolate sauce by melting a little butter, some chocolate chips, and a drop of the milk left over from the donuts, which i whisked together and then poured on top of the donuts. that was before the ice cream. it was the right thing to do.

this is the recipe i used. i halved it and used lowfat milk instead. please don't think i have the ridiculous notion that using lowfat milk would make deep fried pieces of dough smothered in chocolate sauce and topped with peanut butter ice cream healthier in any way. i used lowfat milk only because there's actually a chance we'll get through it before its expiration date and i'm not much of a whole milk drinker. as far as i could tell, the substitution worked just fine.
 
ingredients:
1 cup flour plus more for dusting
1/8 cup sugar
1 1/8 teaspoons yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm milk (105-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon room temperature butter (i hal- melted mine)
3 cups vegetable oil for frying
powdered sugar for dusting

to make:
1. combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt and then add the egg yolk and milk and mix it together for about a minute either using a dough hook or a spatula. add the butter and knead until the dough is shiny and smooth looking. it'll be pretty sticky. form it into a ball, transfer it to an oiled bowl, and let the oil coat it. cover it and let it rise in a warm spot for about an hour or so.
2. punch down the dough and then roll it out on a floured counter until it's about 1/4 inch thick. use any kind of small, 2 inch round glass or cup you can find--i used a candle holder--to cut out dough rounds. i think i had about 18. transfer them to a floured baking sheet. lightly cover the baking sheet with saran wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes. the dough will rise and the rounds will be about 1/2 inch thick.
3. when the 30 minutes is up, heat the oil over medium in a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven and until it reaches 350 degrees F. line another baking sheet with paper towels. using a spatula, carefully put the dough rounds into the oil one at a time. depending on the size of your pot you should be able to fit 5-10 at a time. fry them until the bottoms are golden brown and then flip them over with a fork until the other side gets golden, too. this could take anywhere between 30 seconds-1 1/2 minutes. the dough will puff up considerably and when its done frying, use a slotted spoon to pull it out piece by piece and drain on the paper towels. (you can use a wire rack if you have one)
4. dust with powdered sugar and serve with whatever decadent toppings you can think of!
it was a successful hanukkah dinner. jake and gaby gave rapha the loudest toy in the history of the world, we drank great wine, joey finally admitted he likes brussels sprouts, i laughed so hard i nearly peed, we devoured the donuts and licked the plates clean. the pint of $12 ice cream is gone. turns out it was worth every penny.

Monday, November 12, 2012

kenyon college and the new cookie.

two weeks ago we had a hurricane.

last year we had a hurricane, too. irene. before irene, the mayor basically put the city on lock-down. the subways closed. people were evacuated. shopkeepers put those lines of tape up in their windows (does that actually do anything?!). we bought spaghettios and water and granola bars and batteries for the flashlights we don't have. friends who live alone came to sleep in our living room. i spent the entire day leading up to it watching the weather channel and talking to as many people as i possibly could about the impending storm.

will it happen? will it be bad? how bad?
 
i'm not sure i've written about this before, but i love the weather. i love talking about it. thinking about it. planning around it. i check weather.com compulsively--i generally find it has a more realistic hour-by-hour forecast than accuweather.com--and pride myself on knowing whether or not it's going to be a tom's kind of 53 degrees, or a socks and boots kind of 53 degrees. i think everyone would be happier if they checked the weather at least once a morning.
 
my weather obsession started my freshman year in college when i spent my first winter under the seemingly unceasingly grey ohio skies. it felt as if the sun would disappeared for weeks at a time, which would have been entirely unbearable were it not for two things. first, suicide lights. the entire college campus--i went to kenyon college, by the way, which has actually made a number of "most beautiful campus" lists more than a few times--is about a mile long, and there's a wonderfully romantic, tree lined path that runs the length of it, dividing north campus from south campus. it's called middle path, which is probably the least original part of an otherwise fascinating place full of generally wonderful people generating and sharing interesting ideas, not the least of which is that a liberal arts education is still of some value. every november we'd come back from thanksgiving break to find the trees along middle path wrapped with beautiful, hopeful, soul-warming christmas lights. you can't understand how necessary and helpful these bright little lights were until you've been without sun for days at a time and the ten-day forecast predicts a steady, unremitting cloud cover. by the time the missing sun actually set and darkness enveloped the campus each day, those twinkling lights instantly washed away the dreary grey. they were so necessary and helpful, in fact, that someone actually named them "suicide lights." it's terribly morbid, i know. the second thing that made all this bearable was the inevitable and eventual return of the long-missing sunshine, which was so utterly  missed that its reappearance actually changed the entire nature of the campus--the physical structures and student body alike--and like lovers in a long distance relationship, the glorious reunion instantly washed away all the pain and sadness of the separation. what had been bleak and drowsy became, under brilliant (if chilly) sunshine, beautiful, wonderful, exciting, full of opportunity, meaning, happiness.
that's why i started checking the 10 day forecast. because i realized that it was pretty much going to determine what i'd be doing and how i'd feel doing it for the next week and a half. i am convinced that weather.com was created by and for slightly compulsive and overly anxious people like me who like to plan and plan and plan!
so last year news of a hurricane in new york city had me glued to the weather channel. we watched. and waited. and nothing happened. that's not entirely fair--irene did terrible damage to a lot of the northeast. the city was largely spared though, and in the morning sunshine, the preparations seemed laughable. but sandy was going to be different, they said. sandy was going to be bad. really really really bad. the subways closed again. people were evacuated again. shopkeepers put those lines of tape up in their windows again (maybe it does actually do something), and josh and i prepared again. this year, instead of buying gallons of water though, we bought beer and wine and baby food. we went to our local slightly-too-expensive-but-completely-wonderful and fancy grocery store and stocked up on root vegetables and crusty bread and gourmet cheese. we got honey crisps and a box of black bean bisque. greek yogurt and brussels sprouts. fresh parsley and eggs. okay, we got spaghettios, too. and on my way to the cash register i threw a bag of chocolate chips into our basket. just for good measure. i didn't know what i'd grabbed until later. these weren't any old chocolate chips. they were bigger, flatter, rounder discs of chocolate just made for people like me, who think that a chocolate chip cookie is more about the chocolate than the cookie, and they promised an exceptional chocolate chip cookie experience. they're actually called "super cookie chips."
 
we went home. we sat under our skylight and listened to the wind and flipped back and forth between this weather channel and that one, and we waited. and when the wind finally quieted and the water finally receded, sandy had done her damage. she had devastated parts of this glorious, seemingly impenetrable city in unimaginable ways.

we're very lucky and park slope lost some grand old trees but little else. but other parts of brooklyn, just a few miles away, are like alternate universes. it's unclear if or when life will be restored for them. every single person i know in my neighborhood has participated in the relief effort in one way or another, and though i haven't yet found the words to describe how happy i am to live in the kind of community that has responded so immediately, so eagerly, so powerfully, to the devastation sandy left behind i will simply say that it's life-affirming.
 
after sandy the city basically shut down for a week and josh stayed home. we had no trouble cooking up all those gourmet goodies we bought for the storm. it took me the longest, in fact, to get around to using those magical chocolate chips--i just couldn't decide on the right recipe. it was worth the wait though. according to josh, the cookies i baked with the super chocolate chips are the best cookies i've ever made. they were so good, in fact, that i made them again two days later.
 
ingredients:
2 1/8 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 sticks butter. use regular salted butter instead of unsalted. trust me.
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla
chocolate chips. super chips if you can find them. the whole bag. that's like, two cups.

to make the cookies:
1. preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. heat the butter so it's about 3/4 melted. mix the flour, salt, and soda.
2. beat the 3/4 melted butter with both the sugars, then add in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. when it's all mixed slowly add in the flour mixture and beat until it's incorporated, then dump in the chocolate chips and mix again.
3. make giant cookie balls! forget about walnut sized scoops. this recipe calls for very large cookies. so go ahead and use your hands and grab about two tablespoons at a time. spread them evenly a couple inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the edges start to look kind of crunchy and the middles still look pillowy soft. that's when they're done. perfectly, deliciously, wonderfully done.

these will go quickly. and you'll want to make them again soon, too.
i know it's sort of wrong to say this, but it was really nice to have josh home for a week. we went for walks, we took naps, we read, we ate, we ate some more, we got addicted to the show homeland, we smushed the baby and said "look what rapha's doing right now! look how cute he is!" over and over and over again, and we actually managed to watch a movie. during the day. this is quite an accomplishment for people who have a six month old. what movie did we watch? liberal arts, of course, which was filmed at kenyon college.
 
it was warm today. sandals and no jacket and make up errands to run just to stay outside warm. but tomorrow it'll be cold and rainy. and i'll be ready.  www.weather.com. you know you want to.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

lemon rosemary olive oil cake. and a sweet new year to all!

 last week i was in synagogue and i saw a little girl wearing a striped dress i was absolutely positive was a hannah anderson dress and little folded socks with frilly ruffly things on them poking out of shiny black mary janes and i was transported to the holidays of my childhood, during which i exclusively wore hannah anderson dresses and little folded socks with frilly ruffly things on them poking out of shiny black mary janes. i suppose i rather liked (or at least didn't mind) this holiday and otherwise unspecified fancy occasion uniform, though i'm sure if i'd been in charge of my wardrobe i would have worn only the incredibly ornately puffy and beautiful easter dresses i lingered near whenever we made a trip to a department store. (tutus seem to be all the rage for little girls now and i imagine i would have been perfectly happy to wear a tutu on any given day.) but there was something so wonderfully sweet about this little girl in her stripes and socks and seeing her somehow rounded out the holidays for me.
 
there's a certain feeling i get every year around rosh hashanah. it's usually warmish out still, though the summer heaviness is always gone from the air and though i'm left mourning the passing of the deliciously long and easy summer days, when we're able to remove our air conditioners and throw our windows open to the freshness of the still gentle breeze, and when i find myself delighting in the return of my beloved honey crisp apples at farmers markets and grocery stores alike, i'm able to welcome the movement, the change, the passing. and every year it's synonymous with rosh hashanah.

so this year, when i was menu planning with my mom for the 26 people my parents hosted for the joyous new year celebration, chocolate just didn't seem appropriate. and neither did pumpkin. we're not that deep into fall yet. summer's still more than a distant memory. i wanted something bright but savory. fresh but rich. i found this rosemary olive oil cake. it was almost perfect. but it needed lemon. and pomegranate. and then it would be just right.
 
ingredients:
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup good olive oil
1 tbs. honey
2  tbs. rosemary (or more if you'd like)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
pomegranate seeds

to make:
1. preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and spray a 10 inch loaf pan with cooking spray, or spread olive oil over the pan if your mom is out of cooking spray.
2. beat the eggs and then add the sugar and beat until the mixture gets a little lighter and foamy and then slowly drizzle in the olive oil and keep beating.
3. add the rosemary, lemon zest, honey, and lemon juice and stir to combine.
4. whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in another bowl and then slowly add it to the wet mixture and beat on low.
5. pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and a skewer comes out clean when you insert it into the center of the cake.
serve this cake with pomegranate seeds and rejoice in gratitude that you've lived to see the miraculous arrival of another season.
shana tova! a sweet and happy and healthy new year to all!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

cereal milk ice cream. it's a thing.

when jake and joey and i were young we weren't allowed to eat sugary cereals. the sweetest we could get away with was honey nut cheerios, which i didn't even like. joey loved them, and i secretly harbored resentment that he got to eat something sweet for breakfast. toucan sam teased me with his beautiful, colorful fruit loops. that little green leprechaun taunted me with his intricate marshmallowy lucky charms. and those cookie crooks with their dog, always in search of cookie crisp, well i could sympathize with them. there i was, eating my tan regular cheerios and tan rice crispies--so what if they make noise in milk. i bet cocoa crispies do, too--dreaming of what could be if only my mom didn't insist on depriving us of certain delicacies. just as i vowed i would eat as many candy bars as i pleased when i was a grown up, i also vowed to eat sugar cereals for breakfast every day of my life.
 
but then a sad thing happened. i actually grew up. and though i obviously haven't outgrown my sweet tooth, the idea of mixing sugary cereal with milk is now abhorrent to me. it makes the milk turn unsavory shades of grey and brown and takes a perfectly good, sweet, and crunchy snack and makes it all soggy and mushy. actually, that's not even true. i don't even like most sugary cereals even as snacks. they just don't taste right to me. cereal isn't supposed to be vibrantly colored or full of marshmallows. i'll take special k and smart start over them any old day. but there is one sweet cereal i love so completely i almost never buy it for fear i'll eat through an entire box while standing in my kitchen with the cupboard door open, pretending that each messy handful will be my last. cinnamon toast crunch. it is the most perfect sugar cereal in the history of the world.
but i can't eat it for breakfast. or anything, really. or rather i can't eat breakfast when i wake up. i need at least two hours for my system to get working before i'm even remotely hungry. i know that goes against all the breakfast rules, but what can i do? i love breakfast foods in general though, and firmly believe they may be eaten at any time of day. (i actually frequently prefer non-breakfasty foods for my first meal. a steaming bowl of butternut squash soup on a cold winter morning or a refreshing serving of gazpacho on a steamy summer one.) last march, while i was pregnant, i made myself a giant plate of banana chocolate chip pancakes and ate that for dinner and it made me happy for weeks. i frequently eat bagels, eggs, and veggie sausages for dinner when i don't feel like cooking. so when my friend molly and her girlfriend michelle invited us to molly's birthday shabbat dinner with a breakfast theme--shabbat sh'breakfast--i was thrilled. not only were all the guests asked to bring delicious breakfast foods, we were also instructed to come in our pajamas. nothing could be better because by the end of a good shabbat dinner i always find myself longing for some nice elastic pajama pants...
there's an egg dish i always prepare when we host brunch. it's the easiest thing in the world to make because there are no rules whatsoever. eggs, veggies, herbs, cheese, a bit of flour, some salt and pepper. bake it till it's done. it is delicious. and a perfect way to clean out the refrigerator. but that alone wouldn't cut it for molly's birthday. i had to make something outrageously breakfasty. luckily, over dinner the week before my friend jessi mentioned something inspiring she'd been reading about. cereal milk icecream. cereal. milk. ice cream. just pause now and think about it. it makes so much sense it's astonishing it took this long for it to become a "thing." i was determined. i looked up a bunch of recipes that called for sugary cereals i don't approve of but didn't see any reason i couldn't swap them out for cinnamon toast crunch. so that's just what i did...
ingredients:
1 container whole milk
about 1/2 box cinnamon toast crunch (or sugary cereal of your choice)
1 cup heavy cream (make sure it's cold)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
4 egg yolks
leftover cinnamon toast crunch all crushed up (optional)
bananas, brown sugar, and butter (optional, but highly recommended!)
 
to make:
1. pour the cereal into a gigantic bowl and pour the whole milk over it. stir it around so all the cereal gets wet and then let it steep for about an hour. when it's done strain the cereal out. you may be enticed to eat it. go right ahead. the remaining milk will look a little brownish or greyish. that's okay. that's cereal milk. 
2. combine the cereal milk with the sugar, salt, and vanilla in a small pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
3. while that's heating whisk the egg yolks in a medium pot. then slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks while continuously whisking so the eggs don't scramble. cause that would be gross. then heat the medium pot with all those ingredients over medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. now you have custard.
4. pour the cold cream into a big bowl, and then pour the custard into the bowl and stir to combine. chill the mixture for at least six hour, or overnight if that's easier.
5. you can freeze according to your ice cream machine's instructions. or you could add some banana that you sauteed on the stove with some butter and brown sugar. because what's cereal without banana? i added this divine mixture to the ice cream when it was done freezing and i transferred it to a tupperware. (i'm sure plain old sliced bananas would be good, too.) then i covered the top with a layer of crushed cinnamon toast crunch. i recommend doing this, too.
molly's birthday party was wonderful and rapha made a cameo in his excessively cute pajamas. the food was all delicious and, i am happy to say, i can now recommend eating this ice cream atop a multi-tiered pancake and nutella birthday cake. or apple cinnamon challah french toast casserole. though it's delicious on its own, too.
maybe, just maybe, there was something to my mom's no sugar cereals rule, however cruel it felt when i was young. and for the most part, it stuck. it's not very often i indulge in a box of cinnamon toast crunch. luckily, the one i bought is extremely large and there is still plenty left over. in fact, i think i'll go munch on some right now...