Root Beer Float Ice Cream

In the last month or so, I have seen this root beer float ice cream make an appearance on a few of my friend’s blogs.  I finally decided that I had to make it, like now, but I didn’t have the root beer extract.  I figured that would be easy enough to pick up at the grocery store, you know, by all the other extracts.  SO WRONG!  I went to Target, Dominick’s and Jewel.  They didn’t have it.  I asked my friends where they got it and they said Wal-Mart…so I went to Wal-Mart and you know what?  No stinkin’ root beer extract.  More determined now than ever, I thought maybe it was Super Wal-Mart.  So, I went to one in the next town over, approached the baking section and scanned through the first shelf of extracts.  None yet.  I was getting anxious as I scanned the next shelf and stopped at ROOT BEER EXTRACT!!  I was so excited.  Funny how something so silly can make me so happy. 😀  Okay, I know last week I made pumpkin bread to celebrate fall and now, here I am making ice cream.  WTH right?  Well see, ice cream isn’t seasonal to me.  I eat ice cream just about everyday, no matter how cold it is outside. And, here in Chicago, it gets pretty darn cold.

So, now that I finally had the extract, I pulled out the recipe and saw that it had 2 raw eggs.  Boo.  That’s why I should read recipes first.  Now I was a bit nervous for the kids to eat it.  Although, I’m not sure why.  I have eaten tons of raw cookie dough, brownie and cake batters, you name it, I’ve eaten it….and I’m still here.  Anyways, I decided it would be a good idea to make a cooked custard base.  So, I went to the ice cream bible, The Perfect Scoop, and saw that his cooked recipe was almost the same as the original recipe, except for 6 yolks instead of 2 whole eggs and it added a vanilla bean.  Well, vanilla bean is never a bad addition.  The only problem with a cooked base is that you have to use a water bath and wait for it to cool.  Nuts.  Waiting to taste a new dessert is not my strong suit 😀  Once the base was chilled, I poured it into the ice cream maker and about 20 minutes later I had to taste it.  I was promptly busted by the kids, so they each had to have a taste.  They loved it!  Alex kept circling me with his mouth open like a little baby bird.  But really, what’s not to love here?  A creamy frozen custard base with vanilla bean and root beer extract, creating the perfect all-in-one root beer float.  Sometimes I have such high hopes for a recipe, and then I am let down by the results.  Not this time….

Root Beer Float Ice Cream

1 cup (250mL) whole milk

¾ cup (150g) sugar

2 cups (500mL) heavy cream, divided

Pinch of salt

1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise

6 large egg yolks

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon root beer extract     I used Watkins

Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of cream, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the warmed milk and add in the used vanilla bean.  Cover the pan and remove from heat.  Let the mixture sit to steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a large bowl and set a fine mesh strainer on top.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the  egg yolks until smooth.  Slowly pour the warmed milk mixture into the bowl of egg yolks, whisking constantly.  Scrape the entire mixture back into the saucepan.  On medium heat,  stir constantly with a spatula, scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer, into the bowl with the cream and stir.  Pull the vanilla bean out of the strainer and put it back into the custard.  Add the vanilla extract and root beer extract.  Stir until cool over an ice bath.  Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is completely chilled.  Make sure to take out the vanilla bean before churning.  Freeze the chilled base in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Source:  inspiration from What’s Cookin Chicago (also seen on Eva Bakes, Jenna’s Cooking Journey and The Jey of Cooking) and the ice cream base from The Perfect Scoop (David Lebovitz)

Note: 

Most of the photos of this ice cream show it is brown in color.  As you can see, mine was not.  It was more of a creamy, light yellow. I’m guessing it was because of the extra egg yolks in my base or maybe a variance in the brand of root beer extract

Strawberry Soda Ice Cream

This month for What’s Baking, the theme “Something that reminds you of your favorite place” was chosen by Joanna at Newlywed and Newly Cooking.  I couldn’t really think of a particular favorite place, but really, anywhere I am with my family is a favorite place. 😀  This summer I went strawberry picking at Stade Farm with my daughter, my son, some of their friends and their moms.  It was a perfect day.  It wasn’t too hot, we filled our baskets with strawberries, and the kids (and moms) had a blast.  We love to eat strawberries, but no matter how quickly we eat them, they always go bad.  So, I made some strawberry frozen yogurt that night.  The next day they were looking like they were already starting to turn. I quickly washed them, cut all the leaves off- which took forever because they were tiny little berries, and I froze them to use another day.

When I made the Milky Way ice cream last week, I saw this recipe for strawberry soda ice cream, another prize winner.  I had the frozen strawberries, but I didn’t have any Big Red soda (or pop, whatever you like to call it).  In fact, I’ve never even heard of it.  I was able to find a big 2 liter bottle at Jewel. When I got home, I just had to try this crazy looking red cream soda.  I thought it tasted a bit like bubble gum, so I don’t think I would drink it straight up, but my son loved it.  This is a really easy ice cream to make, if your kids aren’t picky like mine.  You just mash the berries and whisk all the ingredients in a bowl.  But, because my kids don’t like fruit in their ice cream, nor seeds, I blended the mixture and ran it through a sieve.  Once you make the base, you just let the machine do the rest.  One taste of the sweet, pretty pink strawberry ice cream brought me right back to the perfect day we had at Stade Farm. Don’t you just love how food can do that?

Strawberry soda ice cream

1  14oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 cups half and half

3/4 cup red cream soda (Big Red) or regular cream soda

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 cup frozen strawberries, thawed and mashed

Whisk the condensed milk, half and half, red cream soda, whipping cream and mashed strawberries in a medium bowl.

I poured this mixture into my blender and ran it through a fine strainer.

Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.  I find it best to freeze ice cream containing condensed milk overnight to really get firm enough to hold its shape.

Source:  Food Network July/August 2012

Milky Way Ice Cream with Hot Fudge Sauce

I have a bit of an obsession with cooking magazines, subscribing to at least a dozen.  Besides Cook’s Country and Cook’s Illustrated, one of my favorites is the Food Network Magazine.  In the July/August edition, they featured winning recipes from Austin’s Annual Ice Cream Festival.  They all looked delicious with fun ingredients like cream soda, bacon, candy bars and cinnamon oil.  It was hard to choose which to make first.  Well, maybe not too hard since there was a chocolate ice cream in the bunch.  You know I had to start there.

My kids had stayed at their Gramma’s for the night and wouldn’t be home until dinnertime.  I thought I would surprise them with this chocolate ice cream made from Milky Way bars. Fun right?  You melt the Milky Ways down with condensed milk, adding milk and half and half to create the base.  Now the recipe says that chocolate syrup is optional.   But, adding more chocolate to a recipe should never be optional.  Add it. 😀 After churning the base in an ice cream maker, the texture reminds me of a Wendy’s Frosty.  It kind of tastes like one too, but with a hint of caramel.

This recipe uses only 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk.  Ugh. I hate to waste food. Although I would have loved to just eat it right from the can, I thought better of it, and decided to look for a recipe.  On the Eagle Brand website, I found a recipe for hot fudge sauce. I figured if I make half a recipe, I could use half a can of milk and have a delicious sauce for my ice cream. Perfect.

Now what kid wouldn’t want to come home to a big glass filled with Milky Way flavored ice cream, topped with hot fudge sauce and more Milky Way pieces on top?  I’m gonna go with none. 😀

Milky Way Ice Cream

Yield: 1 quart

4 oz Milky Way candy bars, chopped   (two 2 oz bars)

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 cup whole milk

1 cup half-and-half

1/2 cup chocolate syrup  optional

Melt the candy bars and condensed milk in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. (Do not let the bowl touch the water).  Stir until smooth.  Remove the bowl from the saucepan.  Whisk in the milk, half-and-half and chocolate syrup. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.  I ran my base through a sieve because I saw a few small pieces of unmelted nougat.

Churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer directions.  Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.  I found it really to take overnight for a firmer texture.

Source:  Food Network Magazine (Collin Hazlet)

Hot Fudge Sauce (this is 1/2 of the original recipe)

1/2 cup (3 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 (7 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk, butter and water in medium-sized heavy saucepan over medium heat. Beat smooth with wire whisk. Stir in vanilla.

Serve warm over ice cream or as fruit dipping sauce. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator; reheat to serve.

To Reheat: Combine desired amount of sauce with small amount of water in small heavy saucepan. Stir constantly over low heat until heated through.

Source:  Eagle Brand

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Last fall, when we went apple picking my daughter asked if we could go strawberry picking next.  I wasn’t so sure it would be easy to find a place when we live in the Chicago suburbs.  But, after looking a bit online, I found a place called Stade Farm in McHenry, about 45 minutes from where we live.  Thank goodness they have a newsletter to subscribe to because there is no way I was going to remember this come June and I’d totally miss it.  I was so excited when I got an email that the berries were ready to be picked on Saturday.  But, my son had a baseball game, so we’d have to wait until Sunday.  Then I get an email on Saturday night that all the berries had been picked and wouldn’t be ready again for at least 5 days.  Ugh!  We were so disappointed.  But, it worked out for the best because I talked some of the moms from Sammie’s preschool into coming with us the following week.  So, that was much more fun with all the kids so excited to be there and trying to pick the most strawberries or the biggest ones.   We had perfect weather and everyone had a blast.  On the way out, in true Kim fashion, I realized that my car key fell out of my pocket somewhere in the field.  Well, this is a major problem, as you can imagine,  for many reasons.   The fields were large, they could have been buried in the plants, if I couldn’t find them my house is 45 minutes away and I’m not even sure where the spare is.  Thank goodness when I asked at the register if someone had turned in my keys, an employee was just bringing them in.  Phew!!  Major, major disaster averted.  I am never this lucky.

Jack will always smile for me, Sammie usually not.

The strawberries were pretty small, but super sweet.  We ended up with about 7 pounds.  Since strawberries don’t last very long, I was trying to figure out what to do with them.  Then I remembered seeing this strawberry frozen yogurt recipe on Eva Bakes and thought my kids would love it.   It is just 5 ingredients.  How great is that, especially compared to some of the ice cream you buy at the store.  Here’s the rare occasion where I can actually say that I made something healthy.  Mark your calendars, you probably won’t see this again for awhile. 😀   The color of this ice cream is amazing and it tastes so intensely of fresh strawberries, it’s unbelievable.  I don’t make ice cream very often because I have found that any time I make it with heavy cream, though it tastes good, my husband and I notice a weird film in our mouths.  I can’t figure out why that is so if anyone has any ideas, I would love to know because I love ice cream.  But, this recipe uses yogurt instead, so I didn’t have that problem.  In late August, raspberries will be available for picking at the farm.  We are already so excited to go and I think I have an idea of what to do with them.  Raspberry frozen yogurt anyone???

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Yield:  About 1 quart

1 pound (450g) strawberries, rinsed and hulled
2/3 cup (130g) sugar
optional: 2 teaspoons vodka or kirsh   I omitted and added a splash a vanilla instead
1 cup (240g) plain whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Slice the strawberries into small pieces. Toss in a bowl with the sugar and vodka or kirsch (if using) until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.   Stir every so often.

Transfer the strawberries and their juice to a blender or food processor. Add the yogurt and lemon juice. Pulse until the mixture is smooth. If you wish, press mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds.  I strained it.

Chill for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Source:  David Lebovitz via Eva Bakes

How cute are these strawberries?

How cute are these strawberries?

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