This post has been sponsored by A&W Root Beer. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Have your A&W Root Beer Float and eat it, too! These cookie ice cream sandwiches are a summer must-make!
Root Beer Floats are iconic… and seriously delicious! I can remember being 5 or 6 years old when I saw Mom making them in the kitchen. It was just like watching magic happen right before my eyes once she put the ice cream in the tall glasses of A&W Root Beer. I was captivated. All of that frothy goodness bubbling up, almost volcano-like… in the most delicious way!
For me, root beer floats are one of those things that, whether you’re 5 or 85, you’re always the right age for one. Growing up, we had them all year round. However, when it was summertime, they just tasted a tad better. Don’t you agree?!
Speaking of summertime, it’s been crazy hot here in the ‘burgh. As you all know, we’ve been working super, super hard on our entire house remodel plus landscaping 5 acres just to put the house on the market. And, of course, the week we finally were able to go outside and start working on the property, it was ridiculously hot and muggy. 90F+ degrees with at least 80% humidity. Fortunately, we had a friend come help us when I was working my other full-time job. But every chance I got, I went out and helped or, at the very least, sent out drinks to make sure they stayed hydrated.
The one day I was outside working, it was just sweltering. As the 3 of us were working, our friend was asking me about how TKW was doing and the things I was working on. While we were pulling weeds/raking branches/cutting down trees, I chatted about a recent trip to Kansas, some shoots I just finished, and future work when off in the faint distance, we heard the ice cream man and his truck. I’ll be honest, living in this house for 12 years, I think I *maybe* heard that twice at most. Because we live way far back off the road, it was impossible for us to go and find him. So into the house I went to find something sweet and cold for us. I came out with frozen Italian ice for them and, sadly, nothing for me as I’m not a fan of that. Somehow we got to talking about our favorite summer cold treats. Immediately I remembered my Mom always making us root beer floats. After a long day of us kids working in the garden, we’d go down to the house. After we washed our hands, she’d set down what seemed like the most ginormous root beer float ever. As I was telling the boys about that, you could see they were thinking the same thing… GO MAKE US ONE LORI.
And without a word I got up, ran into the house, washed my hands and the dirt off of my face, and grabbed my keys. I told them I’d be back in 15 minutes with a treat. They didn’t even say a word as they knew what I was thinking.
A quick run to the store
I’m fortunate because I have a gorgeous (newly remodeled) Giant Eagle where I live . Have you ever run to the store just because you had a craving? I think we’ve all done it at least once in our lives (or once a week in my world). I had only planned on getting A&W Root Beer and vanilla ice cream at the store, but you know me and how my mind works. I wanted to see what else I could make as a root beer float. It didn’t take long to come to the ice cream sandwich idea. Now what I love about my Giant Eagle is that the aisles are easily marked which means I don’t have to guess where the pop is (yes, in Pittsburgh, we refer to it as pop though many of you know it as soda).
Once I picked up my baking supplies for the cookie dough, I grabbed my A&W Root Beer. I ended up picking up a 12-pack which will fill up my media room fridge and the 2-litre to keep in my kitchen fridge. A&W Root Beer is a must to have on hand in my house! And check it out! Make sure to grab this coupon to save $1 on two (2) 2L or one (1) 12pk, at Giant Eagle! This just made my summer a whole lot sweeter!
The Secret is the A&W Root Beer Syrup
In making these cookies, you can’t just pour the can of pop/soda into the batter. It’s 12 ounces and it’ll be like soup. Plus, the flavor won’t be as concentrated. So what you have to do is make a root beer syrup. It’s really, REALLY easy folks. Just open the can of A&W Root Beer into a sauce pan and heat it up. Easy peasy!
After about 30 minutes on the stove top, you end up with a gorgeous A&W Root Beer Syrup! The syrup will thicken up as it cools. As you’re reducing it, tilt the pan. Once the syrup coats the bottom of the pan, then you’re good to go! Another way to test to be sure is as it coats the bottom of the pan, run a thin spatula straight down the middle. If the line remains, then you have successfully made root beer syrup. It’s such an amazing concentrated flavor of A&W Root Beer. It’s great not only in cookies but cakes and savory dishes (HELLO BBQ sauce!)
This cookie dough is so simple to make. You can use a stand mixer or an electric mixer. I’ve not tried to make it by hand, but if you want to work those biceps then go for it! I’m taking the easy route with my mixer!
One huge key to make note of with this dough is that you MUST chill it! It’s super soft and if you bake it right away, the cookies may spread way too thin. Just cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it chill out in the fridge for a couple of hours.
One thing you will find different about this recipe is that you actually “smush” them down about 6 minutes into them baking. I don’t recommend flattening the cookies before you bake them as that can make them too thin. By par-baking them and then gently smushing them down (I used the back of a spatula), you can control the size better as well as the thickness. Got it? Good!
Also, you want to cook these until they are just set. You do not want to cook them until they are firm as they will get too hard. By just baking them until they are set (which means they will be soft), you’re ensuring that when you bite into it with your ice cream, you’re met with a soft cookie. Once the cookies are all baked and cooled comes the fun part… Making the Root Beer Float Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches!
Assembling the Sandwiches
Now this is the fun part and definitely something you can get the kids involved with. Or, hey, set up an A&W Root Beer Float Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich bar at your next party! Just supply the cookies, ice cream and additional cans of A&W Root Beer. I recommend taking your ice cream out a few minutes in advance as you want it to soften. You want to be able to scoop it out with ease versus struggling with rock hard ice cream. On the flip side, you don’t want it too soft that it just melts instantly. With these cookies, I went with my large ice cream scoop which means I had cookie, 1/2″ of ice cream when pressed down and then cookie. I find that 1/2″ to be the perfect thickness. It’s not so big that you can’t bite into it or that the ice cream overwhelms the cookie. This was the perfect amount.
Once assembled, you can eat or wrap each one in plastic wrap and then place in the freezer.
…and the best part of all TIME TO EAT!
As I was finishing up this shoot, Mr. Fantabulous had come in from outside. He spied these and said “What did you do??? That looks so good!!! Can I have one? What is it? Wait! Did you put root beer in that???” lol
I told him to grab a shower and give me 10 minutes to pop these into the freezer just to firm up a little bit more. Folks I swear that man power showered as he showered, shaved and dressed in 9 minutes and 30 seconds. I guess it’s all about goals, huh? LOL
I made us each a small root beer float because… well, why not? LOL! I handed him one and took one for myself. He asked what it was (meaning what flavor cookie) but I ignored him as I wanted to taste it. *I* knew within that first bite I struck gold! That cookie was so tender and soft that it practically melted in my mouth. The root beer flavor was so pronounced that it tasted exactly like a root beer float. I gave him the side-eye to see his reaction but seeing him take a bite, close his eyes and actually savor this treat—yeah, that was all I needed. He then said “This tastes like something I know. It tastes amazing honey. What is that flavor? It’s sweet, almost like brown sugar or… wait, is that root beer??? You put root beer in the cookie??? How???”
I just sat there grinning from ear to ear and explained the process of the reduction and syrup. He just said “My God you’re brilliant! Did you make more?” lol
So love that man! And you’re so going to love this recipe!
And then there’s the A&W Root Beer Float
Earlier I mentioned being absolutely captivated by the whole process of putting ice cream in A&W Root Beer. It get all frothy and bubbly. At the time, I was too little to Google it and okay, fine, Google hadn’t been invented yet. LOL It wasn’t until I was in college and we were making floats when I decided to look it up. I mean what causes it anyway? Do you know?
In the most basic way (as you all know I’m so not about Chemistry), it happens when cold ice cream touches the carbonated beverage. The root beer molecules become super close together, thus trying to force out CO2. But since it’s trying to force the bubbles out through ice cream, which has a higher concentration of fat in it, the fat gets trapped inside the bubbles. Thus causing it to begin to froth up and out. To me, this is my 3rd favorite part of the float.
I’m that person that will put the ice cream in and immediately lean down and suck up all that frothy, creamy deliciousness. Now for purposes of the below pictures, I let it flow over though my heart was just slightly broken because that’s soooooooo delicious! The things I do for you guys, huh? LOL
As I said, that’s my 3rd favorite part of a root beer float. My 2nd favorite is drinking the float and my number one favorite now… these Root Beer Float Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches! This recipe exceeded even my own expectations! They taste just like a true A&W Root Beer float!
I’d say the only thing that could slightly top these cookies…
You guessed it! Dipping my A&W Root Beer Float Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich in an A&W Root Beer Float!!!
So let’s dish – when are you going to serve these to your family? Go on and make a new delicious memory with these just like my Mom did with her A&W Root Beer Floats! Oh and for those that were wondering, as soon as I got home from the store, I ran in the house and made 3 huge root beer floats. Let’s just say I was their hero that day. haha.Print
- 12 ounce can A&W Root Beer
- 16 Tbl butter, unsalted and room temperature
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 XL eggs, room temperature
- 3 cups AP flour, sifted
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 gallon vanilla bean ice cream
Make the A&W Root Beer Syrup
- In a medium sauce pan pour the A&W Root Beer. Set the pan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium. Allow the mixture to reduce to a syrup*. ~30 minutes. Once reduced, transfer to a heat-safe bowl and allow to cool to room temperature
Make the Dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugars for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides if necessary. Turn the mixer off, add in the eggs and mix. Shut the mixer off, pour in the cooled syrup and mix to combine.
- Turn off the mixer add in the flour, salt and baking soda then mix just until incorporated. The mixture will be sticky and soft. Place the cookie dough into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
- When ready to bake preheat the oven to 350F, rack in the middle. Line a couple baking sheets with parchment. Using a medium cookie scoop ( ~2 Tbl) form cookie dough balls. Place on the parchment lined pans 2” apart (you will smash them gently down part-way through).
- Bake for 6 minutes, remove from the oven and, using the back of a flat heat-safe spatula gently press down on the cookies so they form a circle. The cookie should be about 1/4” thick. Put the pan back in the oven and bake for 7 minutes or until just barely set. The cookies will be very soft but will firm up upon cooling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Remove your ice cream from the freezer and allow to soften slightly on the counter. The ice cream should be soft enough to scoop and then be easily sandwiched between 2 cookies when pressed.
- Place one cookie, bottom facing up, on your work surface. Take 1 large scoop of ice cream and gently press down ensuring the ice cream is about 1/2” thick all the way around the cookie. Place another cookie on top of the ice cream, gently pressing down forming a sandwich. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Enjoy or wrap each one individually in plastic wrap and place in the freezer.
*Reduced Root Beer will be almost 1/4 cup of syrup
Keywords: ice cream sandwiches, root beer float, cookies, soft batch cookies, summer treats, soda, pop