I loved root beer floats when I was a child. Aside from a chocolate scoop of ice cream, root beer floats were my favorite treat to order at a restaurant. During trips to visit my grandparents, we would stop for a bite to eat at a restaurant in Pennsylvania that had the best root beer floats (in my opinion). Sadly the restaurant no longer exists but I still have great food and family memories.
Thinking back to my favorite treat, I decided to make a scoop version of the float. Sure I could have easily made vanilla ice cream and dropped it in a glass of cold root beer, but what fun would that be? I happened to find some root beer extract at the store the other day and was curious to give it a try. I hope you enjoy this scoop and it brings back memories for you too.
Root Beer extract can be found in the spice section at your local grocery store. If you cannot find root beer extract, try cooking down root beer into a syrup that is about 1/4 of its original volume and use it in place of the extract in this recipe. Drop a scoop of this ice cream in a glass of cream soda for a great "reverse float."
2 cups whole milk (500 ml), divided
1 ¼ cups (313 ml) heavy cream
2/3 cup (166 g) sugar
1/8 cup corn syrup (30 ml)
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (11 g) cornstarch
1 ½ ounces (3 Tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon root beer extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 Tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch, set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt until smooth. Set a fine mesh sieve over the bowl and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Boil until the mixture begins to thicken, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened (draw a line on a spoon), about 1 minute.
Gradually pour the hot milk mixture through the sieve into the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Set the bowl in the ice water bath, and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 20 minutes. Once cool, whisk in root beer and vanilla extracts.
Chill the mixture thoroughly (at least 4 hours or overnight). Once chilled, pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and cover with parchment to prevent ice crystals. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.