Note: This recipe is part of our Harry Potter-themed celebration.

Yesterday we did a full-blown, rated R Butterbeer.

Today, we’ve got the PG version, a Butterbeer Float!

I love floats so much that my birthday lunch has been the same for years: a BLT on sourdough with a Coke or root beer float. There’s just something about that mix of cold creaminess and carbonation – racing to catch the tingly foam, sipping the frosty mix of softened ice cream and soda, and finally switching over to a spoon to savor those last spoonfuls of stubborn ice cream at the bottom of the glass.

So, let’s get going.

I started by making a batch of butterscotch ice cream. It doesn’t require a candy thermometer or anything tricky, except tempering the eggs. When you temper eggs, you add a small amount of a hot liquid to them as you whisk to warm up your eggs without scrambling them.

Think of it like this: Let’s say you’re giving a child (or puppy, whatever) a bath, and you notice the bath water is getting chilly. You wouldn’t fill a bucket with scalding water and dump it in the tub all at once. You’d add warmer water to the tub in small amounts and mix it in with the cooler water to warm up the bath gently.

Same way with tempering the eggs. You dribble in small amounts of hot liquid as you whisk to gently warm the eggs. Then, when you add the egg mixture to the rest of the hot liquid, it’s ready to become part of the liquid instead of scrambling.

The process is easy to master and totally worth it to conjure up this butterscotch ice cream, which tastes like cold creamy toffee, with the flavors of the light brown sugar and butter right up front.

Once you have your butterscotch ice cream, just put a few scoops into a glass, and pour cream soda over the ice cream. (Oh, and for an adults-only kick, add a spoonful of bourbon to your glass.)

Bring on the brain freeze.

P.S. If you don’t have time to make the ice cream, feel free to substitute with vanilla and add some butterscotch syrup to your glass before you pour in the soda.

Butterscotch Ice Cream Float

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

    Butterscotch Ice Cream:

  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream, divided
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • Cream soda
  1. In a 1- to 2-quart pan over medium heat, stir the brown sugar, butter, and vanilla until the butter is melted, the sugar is dissolved, and the mixture is bubbly, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup whipping cream until smooth. Remove butterscotch mixture from heat.
  2. In a 3- to 4-quart pan over medium-high heat, combine remaining 1 cup whipping cream and the half-and-half. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat the egg yolks.
  4. To Temper the Egg Yolks: As you whisk, slowly add 1/2 cup of the warm cream mixture to the egg yolks, then pour egg yolk mixture into pan with cream. Stir constantly over low heat just until mixture is slightly thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Immediately remove from heat.
  5. Pour the cream mixture through a fine strainer into a clean bowl, and whisk in the butterscotch mixture. Chill until cold, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours; or cover and chill up to 1 day.
  6. Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve softly frozen, or transfer ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 1 week.
  7. Place a few scoops of butterscotch ice cream into glasses. Pour cream soda over the ice cream. Serve with straws and spoons.