LC Oh, The Places You'll Go! Note
Yes, cereal milk. So simple. So unabashedly retro. So sinfully indulgent. And so brilliant as to belie the childlike genius of the pastry chef who conceived it. Although cereal milk may sound mundanely like what you’d pour down the drain from your seven-year-old’s breakfast bowl, this incarnation is actually quite a lot more inspired than that, with a rich, sweet complexity that we’d never dreamed could be derived from a box of Corn Flakes. Or Fruity Pebbles. Or Cap’n Crunch. Or just about any cereal you crave. The sweetly steeped milk is seriously stunning just sipped on its own, though don’t doubt its transformative abilities when shaken into a White Russian, whirled into ice cream, transformed into panna cotta, or in just about any other thing calling for plain old milk. And should you find yourself contemplating boxed breakfasts of yore as you sip your cereal milk, we urge you to take a twirl through The Great American Cereal Book, from which the above photo is taken. Its quirky look at iconic cereals from the past century and all manner of related factoids and ingredients, from bran flakes imbued with vitamin B1 to pastel marshmallows, make for some truly scintillating cocktail party chitchat.
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 30 M
- Makes about 2 1/2 cups, serves 4
Heat the oven to 300°F (149°C).
Spread the Corn Flakes on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly toasted. Let cool completely. (Toasting the Corn Flakes before steeping them deepens the flavor of the milk.)
Transfer the cooled Corn Flakes to a large pitcher. Pour the milk into the pitcher and stir vigorously. Let steep at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, collecting the milk in a medium bowl. The milk will drain off quickly at first, then become thicker and starchy toward the end of the straining process. Using the back of a ladle or your hand, wring the milk out of the Corn Flakes but do not force the mushy cereal through the sieve. (We compost the mushy remains or take them home to our dogs.)
Whisk the sugar and salt into the milk until fully dissolved. Taste your cereal milk after you make it. If you want it a little sweeter, don’t be shy; add a little more sugar. If you want a more mellow cereal milk, add a splash of fresh milk and a pinch of salt. Store the cereal milk in a clean pitcher or glass milk jug and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Cereal Milk Variations
- Fruity Cereal Milk
It’s got an endearing pinky-peach color and it makes killer milkshakes. Follow the recipe for Cereal Milk, substituting 2 cups Fruity Pebbles for the cornflakes; do not toast the Fruity Pebbles. After measuring the cereal, crush it with your hands to be the texture of coarse sand or gravel, then steep in the milk as above.
- Sweet Corn Cereal Milk
This mellow-yellow milk is good straight or over cereal, and it’s great poured over toasted cornbread. We use it mainly in a filling for an ice-cream pie. Follow the recipe for Cereal Milk, substituting 2 1/2 cups Cap’n Crunch for the cornflakes; do not toast the Cap’n Crunch. After measuring the cereal, crush it with your hands to be the texture of coarse sand or gravel, then steep in the milk as above.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
There is really nothing much to say other than, why didn’t I think of this?! It is plain delicious straight out of the fridge. I originally planned to make ice cream and maybe a White Ruskie. So, I made 1 1/2 times the amount. Unfortunately, my two boys and I polished the whole thing off before I got a chance to do anything. I ended up making another 1 1/2 batches to make the ice cream and the drink. I made both the regular Corn Flakes version and the Cap’n Crunch version. Both are excellent, but the Cap’n Crunch one needs no extra sugar at all—I’m glad I tasted it before adding the 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Cap’n Crunch is much sweeter than Corn Flakes and made the cereal milk perfectly sweet with no added sugar.
Even though I live near the Momofuku bakery, I had never tried the cereal milk, as I couldn’t quite see the point of paying for something I could make simply by neglecting a bowl of cereal for a couple of hours. Having tried this recipe I am now even more dead set against buying cereal milk because it is so incredibly easy and delicious to make at home. I used Grape-Nuts, because that’s what I had on hand, and the result was pretty fantastic. The addition of salt and brown sugar pushed the recipe over the edge from something a bored child could make to something approaching, if not genius, exactly, then uncomplicated bliss. Also, I didn’t compost the cereal or feed it to my dog. I ate it, and it was delicious.