Monday, March 18, 2013

A different sort of root beer float (and some Kosher and gluten-free goodies)

I get some pretty interesting press releases. One of them said:
Gluten Free products have become a popular trend, and is a diet not just followed by consumers with Celiac disease or another gluten allergy. I thought your readers should know that Manischewitz, the leader in Kosher foods, has expanded its line of Kosher products that are Gluten Free. Since Gluten Free products are acceptable for Passover, these new releases coincide with the holiday which begins on Monday, March 25 and most are available year-round.
Well, okay then. I'm not following a gluten-free diet, and I'm not Jewish, but for some reason this intrigued me. I like niche foods, and the Manischewitz brand it pretty familiar to me. I remember my mother buying noodles and horseradish ... and maybe something else as well.

So I said, sure, send me some stuff and I'll have some fun with it. I had no idea what to expect.

First, let me say that one of the good things about having my husband home is that we can taste things together. The first thing we tore into was Guiltless Gourmet Exotic Root Chips (all natural, Pareve, soy, and lactose free).

There were four different types of chips in the bag - sweet potato, taro, yuca, and batata. There were pink chips, brownish chips, and some potato-chip-colored chips. I think the sweet potatoes were the browninsh ones. To be honest, they all tasted pretty similar, but there were some different textures which, along with the crazy pink color, made these more interesting than standard chips.

I thought the biscotti was interesting. These familiar cookies are available for Passover in two flavors - chocolate walnut and cranberry pistachio I sampled the cranberry pistachio. First, these cookies are a LOT smaller than the ones you get at coffee shops. But that's okay. You can eat two.

I've eaten biscotti ranging from very dry and  tooth-breakingly hard to sort-of moist(ish). These were definitely dry, but they were more shattery than hard. While they'd be fine dunked in coffee, you could eat them easily without dunking.

Bob's comment was the best. "Hey, these have cranberries in them, but I like them anyway." Yeah, he doesn't usually like cranberries. How about that? And then he had them with coffee and gave another thumbs-up. He's still surprised that he likes them. And I like 'em, too.

I also got a lovely jar of roasted almond butter, which was part of the gluten-free category. I have to admit that I'm a sucker for nut butters. I like them ALL. This one was a little sweet, but what I liked about it most was that it was extremely smooth. Some of the new brands of "artisan" butters are sort of lumpy and almost gritty. Hey, I can make not-smooth nut butters at home. This was super-smooth.

The last items were part of the Guiltless Gourmet line of snacks - Flaxseed Crunch Bars. These munchy-crunchy bars are available in two flavors, almond cranberry flaxseed and cashew cranberry flaxseed. They're vegan and gluten-free. They were a nice change from the usual granola-heavy snack bars that are so common.

But hey, you come here for recipes, right? Here's one I'll bet you won't see coming.

I brainstormed this idea one night, and it sounded fabulous, even though I'd never actually tried these flavors together before. The next day, I wasn't so sure it would work. But I figured I'd try it anyway.

And woah, was I happy. These flavors worked incredibly well together. And that whipped cream is positively dreamy. Give it a try. You won't be sorry.

Root Beer Coffee Float with Almond Whipped Cream
Recipe © by Do not republish without permission.
For the almond whipped cream:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

For the root beer float:
1 or 2 scoops coffee ice cream (recipe here)
Root beer
Almond whipped cream
Chocolate shavings, for garnish (optional)

To make the almond whipped cream:
Mix the  cream, almond butter and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk gently until the almond butter is mixed into the cream, then begin whisking harder until you've got whipped cream. It's not quite as light as a regular whipped cream, but the flavor is amazing.

If you don't like root beer floats, this whipped cream would be stunning on waffles or on a sundae. Or on cake. Or pie. Or a spoon.

To make the root beer float:
Put one or two scoops of ice cream into a glass. Pour the root beer over the top. It will foam up a bit, so pour slowly, let the foam subside a bit, and then continue filling the glass. Top with the whipped cream. It will sink, but that's okay. The idea here is to have streaks of the whipped cream as you sip through a straw. Finish with the last little bit of root beer to get that thick foam to the top, and garnish with the chocolate shavings.

Note: I don't claim that this recipe is Kosher. To be honest, I haven't a clue if the additional ingredients I used were acceptable or not. I do claim that it's pretty delicious, though.