Fact: Harry and I are the same age.
If my Hogwarts letter had never been lost, it might well have been Harry, Ron, and Darla.
YOU DON’T KNOW!
It could’ve happened.
Whatever. In my little fantasy world, I’m in the Trio. I mean, I totally dig Hermione, so she can stay. Two smart girls are better than one. And I would have rocked wizard’s robes. Plus, I’d pretty much have been the best potions student ever. Just saying.
I decided that Harry’s, and Ms. Rowling’s, birthday couldn’t pass by this year without a little celebration. Seriously, I haven’t made any Harry Potter treats since Christmas. o_O That’s far too long to go without a little magic in our lives.
Plus, why wouldn’t you wanna celebrate The Boy Who Lived and his creator? Especially when you can have so many tasty, tasty treats, like Cockroach Clusters or Cauldron Cakes. I still dream about getting to attend a Hogwarts Halloween feast.
Alas, I have to settle for whipping up all of these HP treats myself…and without the aid of magic…usually.
I decided that the birthday boy would probably want something sweet and cold to help him celebrate this year, since it’s been so hot in so many places, so I finally created some frozen butterbeer.
When I made my original Homemade Butterbeer recipe, I had a lot of people asking me if it could be frozen, like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter does. Of course it can be, but my one gripe about the park’s frozen butterbeer, was that, in comparison to the “on tap” version, the frozen tasted flat.
I wanted to make a frozen butterbeer that still tasted like the park’s recipe, but that also had some of the carbonation in it. My solution was to create my own homemade vanilla cream soda. This also worked out great for International readers who didn’t have access to cream soda at the store. Now they could make it quickly and easily at home, and have butterbeer anytime.
For the vanilla flavor, you can either use an entire vanilla bean or you can use a generous helping of pure vanilla extract. I decided to use a vanilla bean, and it was amazing, but I have since made it with the extract as well, and it’s truly just as delicious.
The main difference between using the bean vs. the extract is color. You’ll notice that my frozen butterbeer is practically pure white, but when you use extract, you get more of the deep orange-y brown color of regular cream soda or butterbeer.
Once your base is ready, it’s time to freeze it. I like to seal it in a zip top bag because it takes up less space in the freezer and it’s easy to transfer to a serving bowl after it’s all slushy…
…like this. I always freeze mine overnight, then take it out to thaw for about an hour the next day. Once it’s thawed a bit, I break it up until it’s all slushy like this and I put it back into the freezer until I’m ready to serve it.
I bought the Hubster a SodaStream for his birthday this year. He’s always really enjoyed sparkling water, and I decided that it was time to make an investment in something that would save us money. He drinks a lot of the stuff.
He adores his SodaStream. Like, it may be the best gift I’ve ever gotten him. It’s not just him, though. The kiddo and I love it, too. We’ve tried quite a few of the soda flavors and they’re really tasty. We particularly enjoy the naturally flavored/sweetened Cola and Root Beer.
It is my firm belief that the SodaStream company is run by witches and wizards. Brilliant, awesome witches and wizards. I mean, seriously, look at it. First, you aguamenti up some water, then abracadabra, bubblio-fizzio! Now, you have sparkling water. Or soda. Or juice. Or whatever you darn well want to be fizzy and bubbly.
No batteries. No power cables and electricity. Straight up magic and you have a tasty sparkling drink. Well, magic and a little CO2, but still. MAGIC.
I love that by making my own soda base, I’m able to freeze it and add soda water to it for a bubblier version of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s famous frozen concoction. It’s a fantastic celebratory drink, and a perfect choice for a hot summer day.
You can forego the foam (I never would…I love that stuff!) to make this even easier, or you can go all-in and have a decadent, magical, lazy afternoon, sipping slushy butterbeer by the Black Lake, watching the giant squid skim by just under the surface. Enjoy!
Happy birthday, Harry! And extra happy birthday, J.K. Rowling!!
Homemade Frozen Butterbeer
Makes 12 servings
FOR THE SODA
2 cups (400 gramas) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 ml) water
1 vanilla bean, split, or 1 to 2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) pure vanilla extract (to taste)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) imitation butter
1/4 cup (63 ml) heavy whipping cream (optional)
1 liter (about 34 ounces or just over 4 cups) plain water
1 liter (about 34 ounces or just over 4 cups) sparkling water (a.k.a. club soda)
OPTIONAL – 1 ounce light rum, per serving, for adults only
FOR THE FOAM
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
5 tablespoons (125 grams) sugar, or splenda for sugar free version
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons (about 7.5 ml) imitation butter
To make the butterbeer: In a medium saucepan set over medium high heat, stir together the sugar and water. Once combined, bring the mixture to a bowl, swirling gently as needed (do not stir it again until you add the vanilla). Boil until the mixture turns from cloudy white to perfectly clear, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
If using a vanilla bean, add it to the hot syrup and allow to steep for about an hour. Remove the bean and seal in a zip top bag; store in your freezer to use for up to 3 more batches of vanilla cream syrup.
If using vanilla extract, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of extract, as desired.
Stir in the imitation butter.
Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature, stir in 1 liter of water, and transfer to an airtight container. Freeze overnight.
To make the soda: Remove the frozen butterbeer from the freezer and allow to thaw until soft enough to break up into a slush. Transfer to a large pitcher or serving bowl. Stir in the 1 liter of sparkling water.
To make the foam: In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the heavy cream on medium high speed for 3-4 minutes until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar and continue whipping until very soft peaks begin to form, another 3-4 minutes (if you need to whip more or less, then be sure to do so, the times can vary quite a bit based on environment). Stir in the vanilla and imitation butter (or clarified butter), then whip for another 30 seconds or so, until soft peaks form.
Spoon a generous portion of foam on top of each glass of butterbeer. Serve immediately.
Recipe by Darla
**So… who wants their very own magical mystery SodaStream Genesis Starter Pack?!**
“What is the first flavor of soda or flavored soda water that you would make?” There is no wrong answer. I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with! The winner will receive a SodaStream Genesis Starter Pack which includes a CO2 tank, 12 trial sized samples of various soda flavors, and 3 bottles of flavored water syrup. Contest ends Sunday, August 5th, 2012 at 9pm PST. Want an extra chance to win? Just follow @Bakingdom on twitter and tweet, “I want to win a @SodaStream Genesis Starter Kit from @bakingdom!” Once you’ve tweeted, return here and leave a comment saying you shared the tweet. Be sure to leave this as a separate comment; each comment is an entry. Sorry, this giveaway is open to US readers only. The winner will be chosen randomly at www.random.org and announced Monday, August 6th, 2012. I will contact the winner, so don’t forget to add your email in the email section! **Comments are moderated, so if you’ve never commented before, it will take some time for your comment to appear!** Good luck with the giveaway!
The SodaStream Genesis Starter Pack winner is…
Thank you to everyone who entered! Stay tuned for more easy, delicious recipes and fun giveaways in the near future.