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)


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

Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard Pops

One of Jack’s and Sammie’s favorite places to have lunch is at Culver’s.  They like the fries and the chicken fingers alright, but they are really there for the free frozen custard that comes with a kid’s meal.  I can’t blame them. It really is delicious.  Because of all the extra egg yolks, frozen custard tastes so much more rich and flavorful than regular ice cream.  Though, you know I would never turn down ice cream. 😀

I was so excited when I found this recipe for frozen custard in a popsicle form.  Brilliant!  I love the addition of vanilla bean not only for flavor, but also for the visual.  I mean, who doesn’t love those little black vanilla bean specks?  When my husband tried them, he said they reminded him of the vanilla pudding pops we went crazy for as kids.  You remember, Bill Cosby?  Justin wondered how many there were because he was seriously going to eat them all.  Tonight.  Sorry, but the recipe only made 7 and we ate 3 before you came home from work.  No worries though. I’ll make more.

Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard Pops

Yield: 10 pops (I got 7)

2 cups (16 fl oz/500ml) whole milk, divided 

1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

1 large egg plus 3 large egg yolks

3/4 cup (6oz/185g) sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise

In a heavy saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups milk and the cornstarch.  Bring to a boil over med-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, ~ 7 to 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the last 1/2 cup of milk, the whole egg and the yolks, sugar and salt.  Using a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean halves into the bowl and then add the halves.  Stirring constantly, add the egg mixture to the thickened milk mixture.  Cook, whisking constantly, over med-high heat until the mixture returns to a boil.  Remove from heat.

Pour the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, then cool over an ice bath.

If using conventional ice pop molds, divide the mixture among the molds.  Cover and freeze until solid, at least 6 hours and up to 3 days.  If using sticks, insert them into the molds when they are part frozen, about 1 hour.  Then continue to freeze until solid, about 5 more hours.

Source:  Ice Pops: Recipes for Fresh and Flavorful Frozen Treats

Vanilla Bean Angel Pillows

I bet the name alone just got your attention! 😀  Whenever I read vanilla bean, I am immediately interested in a recipe.  Add on angel and pillow…well, forget about it.  I had to make these immediately!  I know I’ve said it before, but when I see those black vanilla bean specks it makes me so happy.  Unfortunately, vanilla beans are expensive.  But, they aren’t quite so bad if you buy them in bulk on Amazon.  I get around 30 vanilla beans for less than $20.  Still, I like to get all I can out of my beans, so I keep a big Tupperware container of sugar and throw all my used beans in there.  That way I always have vanilla sugar for baking, sprinkling on fresh berries and sweetening beverages.  So, I am glad I had some vanilla sugar on hand because I could never wait the 1 to 2 weeks to make homemade vanilla sugar for this recipe! 😀  The dough comes together easy enough with the dry ingredients, butter and a whole scraped vanilla bean mixed in the food processor.  At first, I thought I had made a mistake because it looked really powdery for a long while.  Then all of a sudden, it came together as a dough.  The dough is then rolled into balls, baked and rolled in vanilla sugar while the cookies are still warm   The cookie has a very delicate, crumbly buttery texture that just melts in your mouth as vanilla sugar coats your fingers and lips.  I honestly can’t stop eating them.  The problem is that they taste as good as their name implies.

Vanilla Bean Angel Pillows

Yield:  28 cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
1 cup cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup vanilla sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, combine flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Cover and process until combined.

Using the tip of a sharp knife, scrape pulp from vanilla bean. Add vanilla pulp to the flour mixture; add butter. Cover and process with several on/off pulses until mixture starts to cling, stopping once to scrape down side of bowl. Gather mixture into a ball.

Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. (I used parchment)  They don’t spread much so you can bake them in 2 batches.

Bake in the preheated oven about 12 minutes or just until edges start to brown (Start checking at about 9 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes.

Place vanilla sugar in a small bowl. While still warm, roll cookies in vanilla sugar to coat. Cool completely on wire rack.

Storage:   Layer cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Vanilla Sugar:  (If you need to make some from scratch)

1 quart sugar

1 vanilla bean

Fill a clean 1-quart jar with sugar. Using a sharp paring knife, slit vanilla bean lengthwise. Insert both halves into sugar, making sure all of the bean is covered with sugar. Secure lid and store in a cool dry place for 2 weeks before using. (Will keep indefinitely.)
Source: cookies and vanilla sugar from Better Homes and Gardens
Helpful Hints:
  • It’s very important to coat the cookies in vanilla sugar when warm or the sugar won’t stick well
  • I think this dough would lend itself well to citrus flavors with the addition of lemon, lime, or orange zest instead of vanilla bean.
  • I recommend using parchment- I seem to get less browning on the bottoms.

Madeleine Cookies with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

A few years ago, I was at Williams Sonoma and I picked up a madeleine pan.  I’m really not sure why, as I’ve never had a madeleine and the pan has been sitting in my cabinet for at least 3 years, unused.  I have a terrible habit of doing that- buying all kinds of crazy baking pans and one use kitchen gadgets, I just had to have, but then don’t use.  I came across a recipe for madeleines with vanilla bean buttercream frosting and I decided it was about time I finally use that pan.  Now I am sad that it took so long, because I discovered that madeleines are delicious!  They look really time-consuming and impressive.  But, the batter is really easy to make and then you just spoon it into these molds.  What you get is a buttery cake, that has a slight crust to the outside and a tender inside, in the cutest shell shape.  If that isn’t delicious enough, you then spread it with vanilla bean buttercream.  I just love to see those black specks in contrast to the white frosting.  There is just something about it that makes me happy.  😀

Madeleine Cookies with Vanilla Bean Buttercream

Yield: 48 madeleines (I got 36)

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup butter, melted and cooled

Optional: I added 1/2 of a vanilla bean scraped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour a twelve well, 3-inch madeleine mold and set aside. (I used Pam Baking with flour)

In a large bowl combine eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 4 minutes. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat about 5 minutes or until mixture is thick and satiny.  Remove the bowl from the mixer stand.

In a small bowl stir together flour and baking powder. Sift about one-fourth of the flour mixture over egg mixture; fold in gently. Repeat, folding in remaining flour mixture by fourths. Gently stir in melted butter. Spoon batter into prepared molds, filling each mold about three-fourths full.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden and tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in molds on wire racks for 1 minute. Using a knife, loosen edges of cookies from molds. Invert cookies onto racks; cool. Frost with Vanilla Bean Buttercream.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream:

1/4 of a vanilla bean, scraped

1/2 cup butter, softened

3 cups powdered sugar

3 – 4 tablespoons milk

Scrape out seeds from vanilla bean with the tip of a small sharp knife. In a large bowl combine vanilla seeds and butter. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in milk to make of spreading consistency.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Helpful Hints:

  • Store the cookies at room temperature for up to 3 days- in an airtight container, with wax paper between layers
  • They can be frozen up to 3 months
  • The buttercream can be stored in the fridge up to 1 week, or in the freezer for 3 months.
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