Exhausted, overheated, and above all else, thirsty enough to down the contents of an entire water cooler in one big gulp, it’s the oppressive humidity that makes it near impossible to think of cooking or eating real food in summer. Instead, my thoughts instantly drift over towards frozen treats, iced teas, sodas, and many combinations of the three. Right behind the classic soft serve cone, brown cows (otherwise known as root beer floats) are my absolutely favorite way to take the edge off of an unbearably hot summer day. A few generous scoops of luscious vanilla bean ice cream, leisurely bobbing about in a tall glass of fizzy root beer, slowly melting and becoming one creamy concoction- Now that’s a drink that would make any difficult season more enjoyable.
The real beauty of this time-honored treat is that no matter how dead simple the components are, and how easy it is to assemble, it simply never gets old. Plus, it’s a snap to change ice cream or soda flavors, and end up with an entirely new taste sensation. Root beer and I go way back, so I could never forgo that staple in my floats, but this time, I thought it might be fun to use it in a different way. Flipping the usual ingredients, just a little twist makes a big difference…
Like using root beer ice cream and vanilla cream soda instead! Sure, it takes a little bit more work and planning to make your own root beer ice cream versus buying a pint of vanilla, but your patience will be rewarded. A delight to eat on it’s own, or smothered in hot fudge sauce, I’m shocked that root beer ice cream hasn’t found a place in parlors or on freezer shelves yet. It’s time to change that, and whether you make yours into a float or not, a few creamy scoops will definitely help take some of the pain out of a hot summer.
- 1 cup vanilla soy milk
- 1 cup root beer soda (NOT diet)
- 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon root beer extract
Whisk together all the ingredients, except for the root beer extract, in a medium sauce pan. Beat vigorously to ensure that there are no lumps whatsoever before turning on the heat to medium. Cook, whisking every few minutes, until the mixture comes to a rapid boil, and immediately remove from the stove. Whisk in the root beer extract, and then chill thoroughly before churning according to your ice cream manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the churned ice cream into an air-tight container, and stash in the freezer for at least 4 – 6 hours before scooping, or until frozen solid.