Sweet Nostalgia: The Root Beer float

I’m embarking on a 28 day cleanse starting next week (I make it sound like I’m leaving on a backpacking trip, I know), that’s more of an elimination diet than how we think of cleanses.  No dairy, sugar, carbs.  I’ve been feeling overly tired and too dependent on sugary coffee to get me through an afternoon.  I’m probably not eating enough protein throughout the day either.  During this cleanse, I’m going to try a few recipes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s new “It’s All Good” cookbook where she mainly cooks with fresh veggies, lean meats, and almost no carbs or sugar.  I’ll be sure to share any good recipes from the book during my cleanse.

In honor of saying goodbye to sweets, I wanted to share some cool takes on the root beer float (one of my favorite things to serve for dessert in the summer time.  I mean, who doesn’t love ice cold root beer with delicious vanilla ice cream that you can enjoy through a straw? I know come July and August, I’ll be serving a lot of these.

Traditional Rootbeer Float from AllRecipes.com

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1/2 pint of Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream
1 bottle of root beer (A&W is one of the best)
1/2 cup whip cream
4 maraschino cherries

Place 1 scoop of ice cream into each of two tall glasses. Pour root beer carefully over the ice cream. Add another scoop and repeat. If possible, repeat again.

DIY Rootbeer floats on a Stick from Cafemom.com

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1 12oz. root beer or 1 1/2 cups
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Mix root beer and sweetened condensed milk together with a whisk. If it gets to foamy set it in the fridge for a bit to settle down. Pour into popsicle molds. I prefer dixie cups and popsicle sticks. I let the popsicles set up(about an hour) before I insert the sticks.

Rootbeer float cupcakes from BakingBites.com

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The cupcakes are moist and have a nice, tight crumb that seems to pass on more flavor in each bite. You can really taste the root beer, and the hint of vanilla – which many root beers also include – rounds out the flavor. They can be eaten plain, but they’re at their best when served with ice cream and a drizzle of root beer syrup. To get the ice cream in there, I carved a small hole out of the top of each cupcake, just as I do when I’m going to make filled cupcakes, and placed a small scoop of ice cream on top. I drizzled the cupcakes with a little bit of root beer glaze to give them a little extra flavor and a root beer float look. You can store the ice cream-topped cupcakes in the freezer for a few hours before serving, if desired.

If you don’t have the root beer syrup, and don’t want to buy it, you have two options to make these cupcakes. The first option is to simply use milk in place of the root beer syrup in the recipe and add in about 1 tsp root beer flavored extract. The second option (and a better option, in my opinion) is to buy some good, non-diet root beer (12-oz), pour it into a sauce pan and reduce it until you have about 1/3 cup. This will take about 15-20 minutes over medium-high heat and will concentrate the root beer flavor, imitating the syrup that I used.
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup root beer syrup*
1/3 cup milk
Vanilla ice cream, to serve

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Add in one third of the flour mixture, followed by the root beer syrup. Mix in another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in all remaining flour and mix just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool cupcakes completely on a wire rack.

To Finish: Cut a small cone out of the top of each cupcake and place a small (1-2 oz) scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Drizzle with root beer glaze and serve immediately. Plain cupcakes can be prepared in advance and stored for 1-2 days in an airtight container before topping with ice cream and serving. Ice cream topped cupcakes can be stored in the freezer.

Makes 12

*For Root Beer Syrup: Use Sonoma Syrup Co’s Root Beer Syrup or make your own. To make your own, buy a bottle or can (12-oz) of good, non-diet root beer, pour it into a small sauce pan and reduce it until you have just over 1/3 cup.

Root Beer Glaze
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp root beer syrup
approx 1 tbsp water

Whisk together all ingredients until mixture is smooth and thin enough to drizzle easily. Add additional water slowly if needed to thin glaze. Root beer extract may be substituted for root beer syrup.

The “adult” Root Beer float (with Vodka) from drinkedin.net

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2 oz. 303 Vodka
5 oz. root beer
Whipping cream for garnish
Maraschino Cherry (optional)

Fill glass with ice.

Pour vodka over ice and then fill with root beer.
Garnish top with whipping cream and cherry if desired.
And you can’t forget your Root Beer float accoutrements…
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Stripe Paper Straws from Sweet Lulu                           Classic Mug from Mark + Graham
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Root Beer Soda Syrup by Williams-Sonoma

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