Today, on this most romantic of holidays, on an occasion when we owe it to the ones we love to tell them just how much they mean to us, I’d like to take a moment to proclaim my undying devotion for my one and only, my tried and true. A constant source of support and comfort who not only makes my life infinitely better, but who I know will be there for the long haul…through thick and thin, for better or for worse.
I’m talking about, of course – the Akron Canton Regional Airport.
For those of you who aren’t attached in some way to Northeastern Ohio, this post will likely have little to no emotional impact on your day – feel free to go about your business and scroll through to the “Recipe” portion of this page (I won’t take it personally, I promise!).
But, for those of you local bumpkins who adore this little gem just as much as I do, I invite you to buckle up and enjoy the ride, as I attempt to capture in words something I feel so deeply in my soul.
There are few things in this world that cause me as much anxiety as traveling by plane, but unfortunately, as someone currently tangled up in the inescapable web of corporate-leaning pursuits, it’s a regular and necessary part of my existence.
Even more than air travel itself, I despise airports. The crowds, the gross bathrooms, the pre-packaged yogurt parfaits…the feeling that you might not actually be a human, but rather some strange soul-less robot shuffling from gate to gate in a fuzzy haze of your own misery.
But, Akron Canton Airport (or CAK, if you’re nasty) isn’t your typical airport. It’s special, and different; a true unicorn of regional airports.
Let’s start with your arrival time. Two hours prior to departure? Nah. Why bother? Half an hour is PLENTY soon enough. Especially when parking is a breeze and there’s an actual CHAUFFEUR waiting to drive you to the main entrance (even though the parking lot is literally 30 feet away from the front door).
The TSA agents are generally friendly and chatty, but also quite quick and efficient (because when you work at CAK, you need to be personable and good at your job). You’re in and out of security in about three minutes, which is made possible by the fact that there are typically ZERO other people queuing in front of or behind you.
Once you’re through security, you’re welcomed by signs like this, which assure me that even though I’m not at home and the journey ahead seems long and arduous, I’m but a mere few steps away from everything I could ever want and need in life:
The icing on the cake? A beaming, beautiful Cinnabon! And it’s not just any Cinnabon – it’s the World’s Best Cinnabon (but would you expect anything less from the World’s Best Airport?!). The lingering, almost overwhelmingly sweet and cinnamon-y scent is particularly potent due to the small square footage of the building, but I’m not complaining – it just adds to the overall captivating experience.
My favorite gate at CAK (and mind you, there are approximately 8 of them in total) is Gate G3, which is situated directly opposite the Cinnabon. I love watching the staff spread frosting over the freshly baked rolls, and hearing the constant whir of the blenders, crushing ice for blended coffee. Most of all, I love watching customers place their orders – witnessing the facial expression that is equal parts shame and excitement; knowing they’re about to make a big mistake, but also, “I don’t give two s**** because hey it’s the airport, and the rules of society and human decency don’t apply.”
Later on, when you return from your travels, road-weary and worn, CAK is there to welcome you with open arms. Again, you’re in and out in a matter of minutes (save for any time spent at Baggage Claim).
And remember the nice chauffeur who dropped you off at the airport entrance a few days ago? Well, he’s back – and he wants to know how your trip was, if your landing was smooth, and if Bentonville, Arkansas got as much snow as Cleveland this week? (it never does, in case you were wondering).
60 seconds of friendly chit-chat later, and I’m back at my car, bags loaded in the hatch, and I’m headed home – just a short hike up 77 North. It’s pure bliss, and oh. so simple.
…Just like this no-churn ice cream (how’s that for a smooth transition?!)
This recipe really started with leftover cinnamon rolls – on the day prior, I made brioche-based cinnamon rolls FROM SCRATCH courtesy the Half-Baked Harvest cookbook (it’s amazing – go buy it!). As they were baking in the oven, and I took a whiff of that familiar cinnamon-y smell, I couldn’t help but think of my beloved airport. I knew I needed these delicious treats to somehow magically transform into ice cream, but me being the lazy blogger that I am, I wanted to create a recipe that was as simple to navigate as CAK itself. Traditional ice cream with all its bravado just wouldn’t do in this case – no, I needed a tried and true no-churn base.
At one point in my blogging life, I was very against the idea of no-churn ice cream, because it felt like a short cut. But you know what? I’ve learned that there’s NOTHING wrong with shortcuts, especially when they taste this delicious. No-churn ice cream really benefits from great inclusions, which is why it’s a perfect base for this cinnamon roll variety. If you have leftover cinnamon rolls, you can throw them in like I did, or you can use any cinnamon-based pastry or cookie (like snickerdoodles!). Truly, you can skip the inclusions altogether; because the base is infused with cream cheese and cinnamon, it tastes just like a cinnamon roll already!
The finishing touch? A drizzle of cinnamon roll icing, which really takes this no-churn recipe over the top. The end product tastes exactly like a cinnamon roll from you-know-where, but in ice cream form!
I hope you love this no-churn ice cream just as much as we did! And I hope, much like the Akron Canton Regional Airport, it brings you comfort in times of despair.
Happy scooping! And safe travels 🙂
No Churn Cinnamon Roll Ice Cream
Yield: 1 (Heaping) Quart
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 to 3 leftover cinnamon rolls, chopped into large chunks (or sub with sugar cookies snickerdoodles)
- Small pinch of salt, or to taste
- 1/4 cup leftover cinnamon roll icing (or easily make a small batch of this one)
- In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream with an electric hand mixer on high for two to three minutes until it becomes whipped cream.
- In another medium sized bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, softened cream cheese, cinnamon, and vanilla until well combined.
- Gently fold in the sweetened condensed milk mixture into the whipped cream, and gingerly stir together until just combined. Fold in the chopped cinnamon roll, reserving some to sprinkle on the top if desired. As a last step, swirl in the cinnamon roll icing.
- Move to a storage container if desired, then top with remaining cinnamon roll crumbs. Cover with plastic wrap, and store in the freezer for at least 4 hours. When ready to eat, let it rest on the counter for 10 or 15 minutes before eating so it gets nice and soft.
- For extra drama, serve with a warm cinnamon roll! Enjoy 🙂