Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ice cream for floats

Since we were having a party, I thought root beer floats would be a good idea. Here's my refined recipe for vanilla ice cream with a light custardy flavor. Perfect for floats.

4 cups half and half
1 3/4 cups white sugar
2 Tbsp corn starch
2 more cups half and half
2 cups heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

Bring 2 cups half and half to scalding (200 degrees) and while it's heating up mix in the sugar.
Add the corn starch mixed in a bit of cold half and half.
Whisk to thicken slightly, being careful not to boil.
Remove from heat, cool a bit, and add the remaining half and half, cream, and vanilla.
Chill to near freezing and churn; then move to freezer to firm up.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ginger Ale #4

For our Sunday spring brunch, I thought I should brew up some soda. There's nothing particularly new here, but I'm trying for 11 bottles, even though that won't fit in the gallon glass jug I've been brewing in. Bigger portions on the ingredients to make a more concentrated base, and then a little extra water mixed in some how or another.

3 1/4 oz fresh ginger
11 cardamom pods
3 Tbsp juniper berries
1 1/2 tsp white pine bark
1/2 cup yarrow flowers
1 tsp dry lemon rind
1 scant tsp citric acid
scan 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cups sugar
1/4 tsp yeast
1 1/2 gal water

So, even though this is pretty much the same recipe I've been using, this batch didn't turn out nearly as awesome as the last. First, it isn't very fizzy, despite the mini-test-bottle that gushed after 4 days fermentation and a night in the fridge. (Though Fentiman's has about the same amount of fizz.) The rest didn't go in till 5 days. I'm wondering if the bale-top bottles aren't holding the fizz. The big difference is that this ginger seems to just not have had much punch. It has more in common with Vernor's or Canada Dry (I'm aware they're fairly different) than the Caribbean style ginger beers like Reed's. Aside from sharper ginger (the "young" stuff?) a bit more citric acid wouldn't hurt, though maybe that's only needed because of the tamer ginger. Overall it's good, just not the best.

Eight-tree Ale (root beer #7)

Basically, another attempt to get the root beer to carbonate properly. It's going into capped bottled since the swing tops are going to be full of ginger ale. (Above is the root beer and ginger ale in my temperature-controlled 70-degree oven.) I meant to put a whole tablespoon of yellow dock in, but didn't have that much left.

1/4 cup sassafras
1/4 cup coarse birch bark
2 1/2 Tbsp sarsaparilla
2 Tbsp wild cherry bark
2 Tbsp wintergreen leaves
2 tsp licorice root
1 tsp yellow dock
1 tsp burdock
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp ale yeast
1 gal water

This came out awesome! Finally! I bottled it in reused Fentiman's bottles with twist-off caps, which, aside from one that didn't seal, worked perfectly. Five days at 70 degrees was at least a day too long; the bottles totally gushed and had excessive head. Despite some root beer lost to the floor and sink and waiting for the head to subside, the foaminess was quite satisfying. Very root-beery. Served at our Spring brunch party. Karen said, "there's a lot going on!" Better than the ginger ale for a change.