Little evokes the simple pleasures of summertime quite like a frothy glass of ice-cold root beer. The ambrosial medley of sassafras, licorice, nutmeg, and vanilla make this elixir one of the most refreshing. On a recent balmy Sunday evening with my family, I satisfied our craving for sarsaparilla by making root beer ice cream. A little more outré than the classic root beer float, but almost as easy to make.
Root beer ice cream recipes are fairly straightforward: milk, cream, sugar, egg yolk, vanilla, and root beer extract. What is less straightforward is finding root beer extract… Armed with a list of the aforementioned ingredients, I headed to the nearest grocery store. When Safeway didn’t have the extract, I drove to Mollie Stone’s. And when Mollie Stone’s didn’t have it, I popped over to Draeger’s. And when Draeger’s, the epicenter of the epicureal, failed to produce the exotic extract I gave up. I grabbed a six-pack of Henry Weinhard’s and vanilla ice cream for floats and headed home.
Fortuitously, on my drive it dawned on me that I could make my own extract by reducing a few bottles of the root beer that I just bought over low heat until I had about half a cup of sassafras-flavored molasses. The homemade extract added the perfect amount of full-body flavor to the ice cream base. To capture the fizzy effervescence of traditional root beer, I added one unreduced bottle to the mixture. The result was pure dulcet deliciousness. My family enjoyed it so much that we will be replacing our traditional mugs of suds with bowlfuls of root beer ice cream for the remainder of the summer! xx tt
Root Beer Ice Cream Recipe
· 1 cup whole milk
· 2 cups heavy whipping cream
· 1/8 cup sugar
· 3 large egg yolks
· 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
· 4 bottles root beer
· Place three bottles of root beer in a saucepan and simmer until reduced to half a cup (this will take about half an hour – don’t let the root beer boil)
· Heat milk, cream, and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until it simmers and then immediately remove from heat
· In a small bowl whisk together egg yolks
· Pour a ¼ cup of the hot milk into the eggs and stir until combined
· Add the egg mixture to the milk and stir
· Place the mixture back over medium heat and stir constantly until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon
· Strain the mixture through a sieve to catch any solid pieces
· Stir in the vanilla, half-cup of root beer concentrate, and the last bottle of root beer
· Place in refrigerator for at least four hours (preferably overnight)
· Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions
t+tTIP: Top your root beer ice cream with another childhood favorite - buttery graham crackers from Miette.
t+tSTYLE: lounge in this sassafras-hued belted maillot one-piece by Michael Kors.
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