Whatever Floats Your Boat...

It is inexpressibly, miserably, unbearable hot in Chicago this week. There's been an "excessive heat advisory" in effect all week long, and yesterday the temperature hit 100 for the first time in six years. It's officially too damn hot. Yesterday's food truck excursion aside, I've been doing my best to quickly transition from air-conditioned space to air-conditioned space, and I've lost all motivation to do much of anything with my time. Summer is my least favorite season, and this is why.

I did manage to force myself to try out some new ice pops tonight, not only because they were based on root beer floats, which are one of my all-time favorite things ever, but also because they involved basically no cooking. No fruit to peel, nothing to puree in the blender, and nothing to cook on the stove. Literally, all I had to do was pour some root beer into popsicle molds, spoon a dollop of ice cream into each, top with some more soda, and insert the sticks. The original recipe called for adding a maraschino cherry to the bottom of each mold, but I absolutely detest the garishly-colored fruit, so I left those out. Basically, they couldn't have been any easier to make.

After leaving them to firm up in the freezer, I was a bit surprised to find that they had basically exploded all over its interior. Blobs of sticky frozen root beer had poured over the sides of the molds and dripped through the upper rack onto the bags and boxes of food below, and cleaning it up was a mess. I think I know where I went wrong though: I should have taken the carbonation out of the soda before pouring it into the molds. This suspicion was confirmed when I ate my first pop and found that it had a weird, aerated consistency from the gas trapped in the soda. All the tiny holes diluted the rootbeer flavor somewhat, and the texture was not entirely pleasant against my tongue.

Still, flawed as they were, I think these popsicles have the potential to be great (I really liked the combination of the creamy vanilla ice cream with the root beer flavor) and I would definitely consider making them again. Making soda go flat is simple enough; all you have to do is give it a stir with a wooden spoon. Not unlike the famously explosive Mentos and Coke pairing, the porous wood causes the soda to rapidly release its carbon dioxide bubbles, but without quite the same geyser-like effect. It's a quick fix that doesn't add much additional time or effort to an already easy recipe.

Making these was so simple, I'm not even going to type out an actual recipe. Just follow my description above if you're interested. You'll need one 16.9 oz bottle of your favorite non-diet root beer and a pint of whatever vanilla ice cream is on sale.

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