We sat curled up on the couch, braving the steady stream of chilly air that snuck through the seams of the industrial windows. I knew those things were going to be trouble the moment I laid eyes on them, but at the time I didn’t care. I was entranced by the immense amount of natural light they let into the main living area. And their ability to open downward, making them perfect for rainy days. Except we hardly ever have rainy days. This, much like the situation with the cold, I didn’t conceive until after we were months deep into our lease. After I had fallen in love with our little home at the top of an old warehouse, ten times over.
That evening, our bodies were wrapped in blankets, our feet in two pairs of socks. It was cold. But not cold enough to squander his insatiable craving for ice cream. A craving I tried so hard to suffocate with copious amounts of chocolate and other sugary things, but I had no luck. As it turns out, you can’t just sweep a man’s ice cream craving (or any craving, for that matter) under the rug because it comes back full force days later. When it’s five below zero. It’s too cold for ice cream, I told him. But he didn’t care. He wanted it. Bad.
I untangled our feet and went to abandon my comfy spot on the couch, hoping he’d drag me back down and make me stay. Because I like to think that the warmth from my body reigns supreme to the satisfaction that comes with eating ice cream. Turns out it doesn’t, because he let me go into the cold. And so I put on an extra pair of striped long johns, his slippers, one of his thermals, a sweater, and a down parka. All of this to make ice cream for the man who complains about not getting warm waffles in the morning, but then he sleeps through breakfast when I finally get around to making them (side note: I have waffles every morning, he’s just not up early enough to bask in the deliciousness). Despite not getting waffles on demand, this man is loved. I hope he knows that.
When the ice cream was ready, I scooped it into pretty bowls and we shivered on the couch and laughed about the fact that our loft was 57˚ and we were shoveling spoonfuls of frozen, milky goodness into our mouths. It was then that I decided to order a space heater. Because eating ice cream next to a surge of heat seemed much more enjoyable than the current situation, which was eating ice cream on our frozen couch, swaddled in so many blankets we could hardly move.
To tide us over until aforementioned heating device arrived, I took a page from the book of a little punk I used to nanny. Let me preface this by saying it was not my proudest moment. I retrieved my hair dryer from the bathroom and used it to heat our blanket cave, to which Thom completely objected up until the moment he realized he could feel his toes again. I’m going to go ahead and say that you should not use a hair dryer as your own personal heater because it absolutely is not safe. Unless your living room is 57˚. Then I’d venture to say that keeping warm takes precedence over any risks or dangers associated with using a hair dryer for anything other than drying your hair.
But really, don’t do it.
Notes: This recipe calls for more coconut milk than usual because the cereal absorbs a lot of the milk (about one can’s worth). I’ve made this with light coconut milk (and almond milk – holla!), but if you do this you’ll want to soak the cereal overnight. It won’t be nearly as creamy as the full fat coconut milk variety, but it’s pretty damn close. Growing up, I always loved fruity cereal milk so I went with Cascadian Farm Fruitful O’s. But feel free to use any kind of cereal you want – a few favorite cereals are Original Puffins, Peanut Butter Panda Puffs, and Chocolate Koala Crisp.
PS – I’ve got a s’mores version coming at you once the temperatures start to rise. Complete with graham cracker cereal milk, fluffy marshmallows, and chunks of rich dark chocolate.
CEREAL MILK ICE CREAM
5 cups cereal
5 1/4 cups full fat coconut milk (3 cans)
1/4 cup cane sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Add the cereal to a large mixing bowl. Cover with coconut milk and stir to combine. Place a large, heavy plate on top to ensure the cereal is sumberged the entire time. Refrigerate for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Once the cereal has soaked, use a fine mesh strainer to strain the mixture over a medium saucepan; make sure to firmly press the cereal mush to get out as much coconut milk as possible. After you’ve pressed out as much of milk you can get, scoop the layer of thick cream that formed on the bottom of the strainer into the pot. Set the saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the sugar and vanilla extract; bring to a boil and whisk vigorously for 45 seconds. Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Allow to cool for 30 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Once chilled, pour the mixture into the bowl of your ice cream machine and mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Eat ice cream immideately (it will be somewhat soft) or transfer to a container and freeze until ready to consume. Thaw for 10-15 minutes before serving. Top with crushed cereal, if desired.
Yield: about 1 quart