There is something addictive about root beer. Root beer barrel hard candies, root beer floats, or root beer flavored baked goods top my list of food obsessions.
Growing up, there was a candy store in our hometown that stacked small wooden barrels of hard candies, taffies, and other little individually wrapped sweet treats all along one wall. When I got my allowance, it was one of two places I was sure to spend it, the other being the news agency across the street. I would come home with a book and little bag of root beer barrels. As I read I would hypnotically pop those little treats into my mouth, sometimes sucking them until they almost disappeared while other times chewing them into little glass-like shards that would get stuck in my teeth.
On one cold Colorado night in the late 19th century, Frank Wisner created the first root beer float, originally known as the “black cow.” As a kid, root beer floats were my favorite way to consume perhaps my other favorite food at the time, ice cream. Of course we can always make a root beer float at home, but enjoying one at a drive-in is even more nostalgic. We lived half an hour from a drive-in that made the absolute best root beer floats, so it was always a treat when we got to take a road trip on a hot summer night to enjoy a frosty mug. As a family we each employed different techniques for savoring them, either eating the ice cream first or stirring and stirring until the ice cream melted into the root beer to create a truly creamy delight or sucking up all the root beer through the straw before scooping up the ice cream with an extra long spoon.
Yet, root beer in baked goods is a new thing for us. This past summer we discovered a recipe for a glazed Root Beer Bundt Cake that we think is to die for! We are also looking forward to trying Root Beer Float Sandwich Cookies. We decided to add our Root Beer Biscotti to the list of root beer inspired baked goods.
Of course it goes without saying, these Root Beer Biscotti are perfect for dipping into a frothy root beet float.
Root Beer Biscotti
YIELD: approximately two dozen
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar, plus more for topping
½ cup firmly packed light brown dark sugar
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon root beer extract
½ cup crushed root beer barrel hard candies, plus more for topping
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
2. In a large flat bottomed bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla extract, and root beer extract.
4. With a rubber spatula, stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just starts to come together. Dust your hands with flour and knead the dough in the bowl until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough is tacky.
5. Add the crushed root beer barrels. Knead the dough until incorporated, about 10 – 20 times.
6. Separate the dough in half. Form two logs, approximately 3 inches wide and 1 inch high on a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave several inches between the logs, the dough will spread as it bakes.
7. Mix one part granulated sugar with one part crushed root beer barrels. Press the mixture firmly on the top of each log.
8. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the tops begin to crack or split. Transfer logs to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. CAUTION: The melted hard candies will be very hot!
9. Transfer biscotti logs to a cutting board. Slice the biscotti on a diagonal and place cut side down on the same parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, turning the biscotti once halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
What to do with the ends #66: Use the ends as fire starters.