If my husband could marry an inanimate object, it would be a root beer float. Tom’s favorite story to tell (whether it’s repeatedly to people we’ve known forever, or to virtual strangers) is the story of the chocolate bag. Literally a dozen+ years ago, we went to a popular steakhouse. Everyone told me you have to get the chocolate bag for dessert. Delicious! Famous! A must. So, dessert time comes and what does Tom want? A root beer float. Of course, I insisted we get the chocolate bag. A root beer float? Come on. After some persuading, he finally ordered the chocolate bag. And you know what? It kinda sucked. It was full of mousse and neither of us are huge on mousse. Tom left very disappointed and very annoyed at me for making him order the chocolate bag when all he wanted was the root beer float.
In case his incessant retelling of that story over a decade later doesn’t convince you, let me share another story. Our condo in the city was near a bar that served giant, clearly meant-to-be-shared root beer floats. Guys, they came in a 64 oz. fishbowl glass with 5 scoops of ice cream. Yes, 5. Yes, a fishbowl. For his birthday one year, Tom decided he wanted one. They have smaller versions, of course, but Tom was set on the giant version. It was a nice summer day, so we sat outside. Of course everyone who walked by stared at my husband and his giant fishbowl root beer float. People were seriously in disbelief. It was embarrassing. I didn’t even have a sip of the float! He finished the whole thing (and then spent the rest of the day complaining he didn’t feel well, obviously).
So yeah, he loves root beer floats and is pretty keen on root beer in general. I must admit I’m a sucker for a root beer Dum Dum (see what I did there?) and root beer flavored things in general, too. This ice cream seemed to be the perfect thing to make for Tom’s birthday this year. It could not be easier to make (no custard or anything), has minimal ingredients, and tasted great. And, well…like a root beer float.
(Not that it stopped him from having a reverse root beer float, using vanilla soda. :))
Root Beer Ice Cream
- 5 hours (chilling/freezing time)
- 15 minutes
- 1 quart
- 2-2/3 cup whole milk, divided
- 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/8 tsp. sea salt
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 2 Tbsp. (or to taste) root beer concentrate or extract
- In a small bowl, mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch and make a smooth slurry. In a large bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and salt.
- Combine the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the root beer concentrate (I ended up adding about 2.5 Tbsp., taste your mixture to see if you need more since some extracts/concentrates are stronger than others).
- Fill a large bowl with ice. Place the ice cream mixture over the ice bowl and stir until the mixture cools down a bit. Then refrigerate the whole mixture until thoroughly chilled.
- Churn the ice cream according to your manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze in an airtight container until firm , about 4 hours.