Michele Lankford's Beer Float with Pumpkin Ice Cream and Cardamom Shortbread

Root beer floats bring back all kinds of fond childhood memories. But why not try taking the float to a new level and make some memorable adult creations? All you need are two high-quality ingredients that you will join together to create spoonful after spoonful of cold, soothing goodness. As an added crunch, pair the float with cardamom shortbread.
By / Photography By D. Lucas Landis | December 15, 2014

About this recipe

First, you’ll want some homemade pumpkin ice cream. I’ve included a recipe below. Next, you’ll want a good beer to complement the ice cream. Try Greenbrush Brewery’s Mr. Hyde Sumatran Cream Stout. You get the best of all the worlds—pumpkin, coffee and stout. If coffee in beer is not to your liking, try a chocolate stout or porter. You really can’t go wrong.


Pumpkin Ice Cream
Yield: 1 quart

Make an ice bath by putting some ice and a little water in a large bowl and nest a smaller metal bowl (one that will hold at least 2 quarts) inside it. Set a mesh strainer over the top.

In a medium saucepan mix the milk, cream, granulated sugar, ginger, ground cinnamon, cinnamon stick, nutmeg and salt. Warm the mixture until hot and the edges begin to bubble and foam.

Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl and gradually whisk in about half of the warm spiced milk mixture, stirring constantly. Scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read between 160° and 170°. Immediately pour the mixture through the strainer into the bowl nested in the ice bath. Mix in the brown sugar, add the cinnamon stick back in, stir until cool, then chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

Whisk in the vanilla and pumpkin. Press the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Cardamom Shortbread
Yield: 40 cookies

Lightly butter the bottom of a straight-sided 9- by 13-inch baking pan.

Combine the flour, cornstarch, cardamom and salt in a medium bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until the dough begins to form moist clumps, about 1 minute. Turn the dough out into the prepared pan. Using lightly floured fingertips, press the dough into the pan to form an even layer.

With a paring knife, cut the dough all the way through into 40 bars. With the tines of a fork, prick each bar twice all the way through, spacing the holes evenly and on the diagonal. Lightly flour the tines as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking.

Freeze the dough while the oven heats. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325˚.

Bake the dough, rotating the pan halfway through, until the top looks dry and golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack. Using a paring knife, immediately recut the cookies along the lines. Cool completely before removing them from the pan.



Pumpkin Ice Cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
Cardamom Shortbread
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, softened, more for the pan
  • 3⅓ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⅓ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
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