Brown Sugar Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sundaes
“Just jump; I won’t let you fall.”
Do you remember standing on the side of the pool with floaties wedged onto your skinny upper arms, weighing the life-and-death decision before you? Your dad, who you’d always been able to trust, was now holding his arms out and asking for a huge leap of faith. Every cell of your body knew, instinctively, not to jump into the deep end of that pool. You couldn’t swim. What if you slipped right through your dad’s hands? But again, here was your dad’s voice, full of certainty. He loved you. He would never let you get hurt.
Maybe you were actually one of those kids who threw yourself willy-nilly into the deep end of the pool with ne’er a thought for your safety, but I was the kid above: paralyzed, carefully evaluating my chances of success before moving an inch.
I’m still that same overly conscientious kid in some ways, but in other ways, I’ve changed considerably. One nice thing about moving forward so quickly these past few weeks (marriage, a new city, a new job) is how it has inspired me to look back. As I carefully set up my new classroom last week in preparation for the dozens of bright kids I knew were coming, I repeatedly found myself reflecting on the gifts my previous school, Woodlawn, gave me. One of the most revolutionary, for me, was the willingness to jump into the deep end.
My first year at Woodlawn, I remember having a healthy dose of skepticism about any new undertaking. Was the new integrated project we were discussing too big, too convoluted to pull off? Could we really pull together the portfolio presentation we were envisioning? Would all the pieces really fall into place for the film festival we wanted to put together? Every cell in my body told me the answer was no. Don’t jump. You’ll slip. Your head will go under. It’s not a sure bet.
But my colleagues were always all in: throwing floaties into the wind, jumping straight off the high dive. Their certainty — just like my dad’s voice from the pool when I was a kid — won my trust. Their confidence was infectious. I made a choice; I jumped, too.
And it was magical. We all had faith and willingness, so projects grew and branched off into other fascinating projects. The quality of our endeavors — and our students’ experience — usually surpassed what we had first imagined. I learned over time to always, always jump.
Now here I am at a new school with new wonderful colleagues and new wonderful students, and I’ve got big ideas. Big projects, big undertakings. I find myself hesitating on the side of the pool again. But this time, I have the memory of all those amazing times at Woodlawn when the beautiful outcome always turned out to be so worth that scary leap in the end.
* * *
Even as we move forward, the past can be such a comfort. One comfort food from my childhood that I’ll always love are brown sugar Pop-Tarts. I used to eat these straight from the microwave (yes, microwave, not toaster. Because I’m weird.) every single morning. In this recipe, I’ve turned Pop-Tarts into dessert! To make Brown Sugar Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sundaes, a buttery brown sugar glaze is mixed into vanilla ice cream along with hunks of Pop-Tart. It’s a nostalgic and delicious treat.
One year ago: End of Summer Berry Cobbler
Two years ago: Peanut Butter Pie
Three years ago: Wacky Candy Cupcakes: Ferrero Rocher and Reese’s Cup
Four years ago: Lemon Blueberry Cake
Brown Sugar Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sundaes
Recipe by: Adapted from Cuisinart with glaze inspired by Epicurious
Yield: 5 cups, or 10 servings
Remember eating Pop-Tarts every morning before school? Now you can relive your Pop-Tart memories with dessert. These sundaes were so amazing!
Ice Cream Ingredients:
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
Brown Sugar Glaze Ingredients:
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup (half stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 brown sugar Pop-Tarts, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes, plus more for garnish
Make sure your ice cream maker’s bowl is frozen per manufacturer’s instructions. In a medium bowl, beat together the milk, sugar, and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Add the heavy cream and vanilla, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or overnight.
Mix brown sugar glaze ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until they boil, stirring constantly. Boil for about 30 seconds to be sure brown sugar is dissolved. Pour into a heat-proof bowl and let cool completely before chilling overnight with your ice cream base.
When ready to make your ice cream, turn on your ice cream maker and pour the vanilla mixture into its frozen bowl. Let the ice cream churn until thickened (mine takes about 20 minutes but it depends on your ice cream maker’s instructions). Spoon the ice cream out into an airtight resealable container and freeze until firmer (I skipped this step and stirred in my glaze right away and it mixed all the way into the ice cream. It was still super tasty, but it didn’t have the “marbled” look I was going for. So freeze the ice cream until firmer if you want it to be marbled.) Stir in Pop-Tart pieces and brown sugar glaze, mixing just until the ice cream is “swirled” with the glaze. Serve with whipped cream, caramel sauce, and Pop-Tart stick garnish.