Tag Archives: dessert

Experimenting With Root Beer Ice: Natural Flavor Extract 

For the 4th of July I made root beer ice and vanilla ice cream for our family get together. I made it first using McCormick’s root beer concentrate. I wasn’t happy with the really dark brown color (the first ingredient is caramel color), though the taste was OK.  I decided to try another batch using an extract made with natural flavors.

I found a reasonably priced extract with good ratings at The Spice House.

I like this extract much better then the first one I used. When I used it, the extract just seemed more like root beer.  It made my kitchen smell strongly of root beer, and the scent spread through the house. My five year old son, came into the kitchen to tell me it smelt like root beer in the house.

I think the flavor of this version was better then that of the one using the McCormicks.  Both taste sufficiently of root beer, but this one seemed to be less chemical tasting to me, which makes sense since it is supposed to be made of natural flavors.

The only issue I had was a minor one.  This extract is clear because there are no added colors.  I used gel food coloring to attempt to make my root beer ice a pleasing brown color.  I had read that an equal amount of red, blue, and yellow food color should be used to get brown.  Unfortunately, I must have done something wrong because my ice didn’t end up brown.  When I was mixing it up, I thought it was light brown.  However, when I took the ice out of the ice cream mixer it was more of a pinkish color.  That was more of cosmetic issue then a real problem.

The pictures actually look a bit brown, but in real life it is more pink.  I definitely didn’t add enough color, and I probably got to much red in the mix.

Using the natural flavor made for a superior root beer ice.  I highly recommend using whatever natural extract you can get your hands on if you make this.  If you can’t get natural extract, then using something bought in a regular store makes for a perfectly good root beer ice.



Vanilla Ice Cream

For the 4th of July, I wanted to make vanilla custard and root beer ice sundaes based on Rita’s Frozen Yogurt Gelatis. Rita’s Gelati is a frozen yogurt and Italian ice.  They have a variety of flavors that changes every day. I have already been experimenting with the root beer ice part of the sundae.

All of the ice cream that I have made in the past has actually been frozen custard.  Custard uses egg yokes and is quite creamy.  Lynn told me that we have way to many egg yokes already.  She has quite a number in the freezer, so she asked me to make ice cream instead.  Since I was going to make a different style of ice cream I had to look up a recipe, my typical trusty recipe wouldn’t work this time.

I ended up learning a little bit about ice cream in this recipe search.  Apparently, the style I was making before is French-style ice cream.  I found a new recipe for something called Philadelphia style ice cream.  It uses less ingredients, and requires less work.  The custard requires cooking, and if done incorrectly can have egg chunks in the custard.  The Philadelphia style doesn’t need cooking, all it requires is mixing.

This is a very easy recipe to make.  I am going to use this one through out the summer and add different flavors to it.  There was so much less mess and work compared to the custard I usually make.

Recipe is courtesy of Williams Sonoma. 

I think the recipe included unnecessary steps, so I omitted those.  For instance it says to chill the ice cream mixture in a bowl of ice.  I didn’t do this because it is a cold mixture that is being put into the refrigerator.  Why waste the time and the ice?  The ice cream turned out well without doing that part.

Vanilla Ice Cream


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3⁄4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract



Prepare the ice cream mixture
In a bowl, stir together the cream and milk. Add the sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved, 3 to 4 minutes. Test for graininess by tasting a small amount of the liquid; it should feel smooth on the tongue and there should be no sugar visible on the bottom of the bowl when it is stirred or spooned out. Continue whisking, if necessary, to ensure that the texture of the finished ice cream will be smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
Chill the ice cream mixture
Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface and on top of the bowl. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

Churn the ice cream
Prepare an ice cream maker with at least a 1-quart capacity according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the plastic wrap from the cream mixture and bowl. Pour the well-chilled cream mixture into the mixing container of the ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The timing will depend on the type of machine and the temperature of the cream mixture.


This is a really good vanilla ice cream.  It isn’t near so heavy as the custard, so it is much less filling.  I think it is better for hot summer days when you don’t want to be over full.


I made another batch of the root beer ice to try with the ice cream.  I don’t want to bring something to a party that I have never tried myself.


This is a really good combination, and I highly recommend it.  I know I made it, but it is really good. Today, I am going to make the root beer ice with the natural root beer extract we bought. I will probably make a post about it since it is a little different.


Homemade Root Beer Ice

Lately, I have been on a sorbet kick. I made lemon, sugar free lemon, watermelon and Valencia Orange Sorbet.

About a week ago Lynn and I went to Ritas, an Italian ice and custard shop. Ritas is a chain that came to our area about 1.5 years ago. Their custard and Italian ice are very good and I highly recommend it.

Will I was eating my Ritas, I realized that the sorbet I make is real close in texture to the Ritas Italian ice. That caused me to want to make my own Italian ice.

One of the Ritas menu items is a Gelati, that is frozen custard with Italian ice layered together. One of the better combinations is Root Beer Italian ice and vanilla custard. Since I already know how to make vanilla custard, I decided to attempt root beer ice to potentially go with home made vanilla custard.

I found it harder to track down an Italian ice recipe then I expected. There are many companies selling Italian ice kits, but not many recipes. The first recipe in a google search was from McCormick. I usually stay away from companies recipes, but used this one this time.

I quickly whipped together the ice. Like the sorbet, this is really simple to make. The only thing I did wrong is we ate it to early. I should have allowed it to be in the freezer longer. That is why my pictures look like brown piles of something rather then nice scoops of Italian ice.

I think this is a recipe that I will stick with. We happened to have McCormick root beer concentrate at the house. I am not sure I like the flavor of it. It seemed a bit chemically and fake. We order some natural concentrate and I will be using that to make my next batch. I am going to be making root beer ice and vanilla ice cream for July 4th, so I am sure you will be able to read more about this experiment in the next few days.

Root Beer Ice

Recipe from McCormick



  • Mix sugar, water and lemon juice in medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes. Stir in root beer concentrate.

  • Refrigerate 2 hours or until chilled.

  • Pour into an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.



Valencia Orange Sorbet 

One of the many things that grows well in San Diego County is oranges. There are many orange groves in the more rural parts of our county. This is a prime time of year for buying juicy perfectly ripened oranges. 

I bought several pounds of Valencia oranges at one of the local farmers market. The oranges actually turned out to be to juicy! Whenever I tried to peal one my hands would be covered in juice. So I decided to put that juice to good use and make sorbet. 

I really wish I had more pictures. I always think that after I am done. I should have taken some of the oranges. 

I first made a simple syrup. Place water and sugar in a small pot. Over medium heat, boil until the sugar dissolves. How long this takes depends on how much you are making. Once the sugar is fully incorporated into the water, remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool.

While the simple syrup is cooling, juice the oranges. I ended up with 2 cups of orange juice, so I doubled the recipe. 

Mix the juice into the simple syrup. I like to put the juice mixture into the refrigerator to get cold. This isn’t mandatory, but I think it makes the sorbet chill better in the ice cream mixer. 

Place the juice mixture into an ice cream mixture and churn according to the manufacturer instructions. 

The oranges I used were very sweet, so this ended up being a sweet sorbet. There was a bit of a citrus tanginess, but not much. 

Valencia Orange Sorbet

  • 1 cups water
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 3/4ths cups fresh orange juice

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and sugar, and boil until the sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in the orange juice. Transfer to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer instructions. When the sorbet has frozen (it will still seem quite soft), transfer to a storage container, cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve. The sorbet will solidify in the freezer.

Sugar Free Lemon Sorbet

Last week, I made Lemon Sorbet.  When I told my mom what I was making she wanted to have some of it, but she can’t eat much sugar.  She asked me to make her a sugar free version of the sorbet.  I made it on the same day as the regular sorbet, but just took a while to post about it.

I haven’t used sugar substitutes very often so I was curious how it would turn out.  We have both Stevia and Splenda at the house that I could have used.  My mom prefers Stevia so I used that to make the sorbet.


The Stevia is supposed to be able to be used exactly like sugar, so I decided to use the same recipe.

I was worried when I first took the Stevia out of the bag.  It is much lighter and fluffier then sugar.  When I put the sugar in the pot of water, it sunk to the bottom of the water.  When I put the Stevia in the pot, it floated on top of the water.  I was concerned that it wouldn’t stir into the water correctly when I started to make the simple syrup.  However, as the water started to heat up the Stevia quickly dissolved into the water.  I stirred the water until all of the Stevia had dissolved into the water, making a simple syrup.

stevia in watersimple syrup

I juiced enough lemons to get 3/4ths of a cup of lemon juice.

juicing lemons

Then I mixed the lemon juice into the simple syrup, and put the lemon mixture into the refrigerator to cool.

After it had cooled for a couple of hours, I put the lemon mixture into my ice cream maker.  I made a smaller batch of this one then the regular sorbet, so it froze much faster.  I walked away from it for a little to long, and it froze more then I wanted.  However, that didn’t seem to affect the final product.

Because I overdid the sorbet in the ice cream maker, it didn’t have the same smooth appearance as the other one I made.  I am not happy with the way it looks in this picture.  I don’t have any pictures of how it looks scooped since I gave it to my mom and dad, and they took it home to eat it.  Both my mom and dad said it tasted good, and I just have to hope they are telling me the truth and not being nice parents.



Sugar Free Lemon Sorbet

1 cups water
1 cups sugar substitute (I used Stevia)
3/4ths cup lemon juice

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water and sugar substitute, and boil until the sugar substitute dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in the lemon juice. Transfer to ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer instructions. When the sorbet has frozen (it will still seem quite soft), transfer to a storage container, cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve. The sorbet will solidify in the freezer.



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