It is the latest Internet sensation of the recipe world.
Mix a pint of softened ice cream with 1½ cups of self-rising flour and voila, the perfect loaf of sweet bread.
Don’t be surprised if it appears in your in-box soon, or if 15 of your friends repin it on Pinterest. It’s making the rounds as quickly as the recipe for chocolate cake in a mug did in 2009.
It sounded too easy to be true, so naturally, I had to give it a try.
I made it first with butter pecan ice cream and then with cherry cordial. It worked both times. Both were pretty plain, and not very sweet, sort of like a soft version of a scone.
I was surprised when I looked in the oven window and saw the loaves were rising perfectly, despite being made with cold ice cream.
It makes sense when you think about it: Ice cream has fat, milk, sugar and flavoring, while the self-rising flour has flour, baking powder and salt — essentially the ingredients for a basic loaf of sweet bread. And that’s why it works.
There’s a similar version in cyberspace that calls for a pint of ice cream, a white cake mix and three eggs. I haven’t tried that one yet.
You have to wonder where a recipe like this gets started, but in this case we know the source.
James Schend, a food editor for Taste of Home magazine in Greendale, Wis., said the recipe really began to catch on earlier this month when Taste of Home staffers posted it to the magazine’s Facebook page and also pinned the recipe on Pinterest.
Its “likes” and “repins” quickly began to multiply into the thousands.
“This has been out there for a while, but has picked up speed again,” he said.
Schend said it caught the magazine by surprise because the recipe has been around for several years. Taste of Home, which prints recipes submitted by the public, received it in 2006 from Katherine Kehlman, a reader in Greenville, S.C., and published it in 2008.
After a little digging, Taste of Home editors traced the recipe to Southern Living Magazine, sometime around 2005. Kehlman submitted it for one of Taste of Home’s “cooking for two” editions, having cut the recipe in half. (We’re printing the doubled version here, which bakes in a standard 8-inch loaf pan.)
Coincidentally, Schend was working at Southern Living at the time and recalls when the recipe was being vetted in the magazine’s test kitchen.
Schend thinks one of the reasons for the recipe’s popularity is its simplicity.
“Readers are always looking for something quick, easy and fun,” he said, noting that the recipe is a good one to make with kids because it’s hard to mess up and requires very little measuring.
This sweet bread, however, may not be sweet enough to satisfy everyone.
Schend agreed that the bread is “fairly mild flavored.” That’s why the magazine includes a few tablespoons of sugar in the recipe. He suggested home cooks get creative with the recipe to pump up the flavor. If you’re using bourbon-flavored ice cream, add a shot of the real thing. Or add some sliced fresh strawberries to a loaf made with strawberry ice cream. Chocolate chips, fruit, pretzels or nuts —– be liberal with the add-ins.
Schend said a favorite in Taste of Home’s test kitchen was making the bread with Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby flavor ice cream, and then adding in extra pretzels, peanut butter and fudge.
I made a mental note to try it again with the dark chocolate ice cream and some add-ins.
Here’s the recipe so you can try it too.
ICE CREAM BREAD
1 pint ice cream, any flavor, softened
1½ cups self-rising flour
2 tbsp. sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Use a mixer to combine all three ingredients.
Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan, before removing to a wire rack.
Makes 1 loaf.
Notes: This recipe works best with full-fat ice cream, not light versions. This recipe can be cut in half. If halving, bake in a 5-inch loaf pan. As a substitute for self-rising flour, place 2 teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt in a 2-cup measure. Add enough all-purpose flour to measure 1½ cups. Stir to combine.