Many of my influences came from my mother and her family, mostly because we were closer to her side of the family. My father sort of gets pushed aside by my Mom's loud, rambunctious Italian family- and I don't mean that in a bad way. But he's a quiet, unassuming kind of guy and I guess he doesn't mind most of the time. Nevertheless, there are a few loves in my life that are a direct result of my Dad's influence.
My dad and I would listen to baseball on the radio while working out in the yard, or to the old radio shows from the 1940s (like George Burns and the original Green Hornet) on the way to gymnastics practice. That was our quality time. Neither of us are big talkers, so we would just sit together and listen. And when he wanted to do something really special, back when you could still find them, he'd seek out a drive-in burger joint and order us up a root beer float. To this day, I still consider them the ultimate treat. My mom wanted a chocolate ice cream soda, but my dad and I would always go for the root beer. It was even better if the root beer came straight from the tap or at least a glass bottle.
I don't drink much soda these days, but on the rare occasion that I do, you can bet it will be a root beer. Thanks Dad!
Makes about 1 quart of ice cream and enough root beer floats for a bunch of hungry kids. Adapted (just barely) from Amanda's Cookin'.
For a printable recipe, click here.
I'm going to confess, I didn't think this ice cream was going to turn out right. The ingredients seemed too simple and try as I may, I just couldn't get it to freeze in my ice cream maker. As a last resort, I just poured the really cold ice cream base into a freezer safe container and stuck it in the freezer overnight. Lo and behold, the next day I actually had scoopable ice cream. So there's hope even for you folks without an ice cream maker. All you have to do is seek out root beer extract (which, oddly enough, I found at Walmart and not some fancy cooking store). Get yourself some really good root beer, in a bottle of course, and you're set!
14 oz container of sweetened condensed milk (all I had was the non-fat version and it worked just fine)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup of milk (anything but non-fat will work here)
4-5 tsp root beer extract (they vary widely by brand, so taste your ice cream base before adding more)
2 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Chill until very cold (at least two hours). Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. If you can't get yours to freeze- like I couldn't- don't fear. Continue on with the recipe anyway.
Place the ice cream in a freezer safe container and freeze until solid, preferably at least 4 hours or overnight.
To make the floats, pour root beer into a frosty glass to about 3/4 full. Add a big scoop of the root beer ice cream on top. Serve with a straw and a spoon.