Root Beer Float Bars 15.000
Jul 16, 2009

Chef Susan Callahan wanted to re-create the floats she loves into a baked dessert. Her creation was one of 16 recipes featured in a cookout held by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley to kick off the state's second annual Buy Local Challenge week (July 18-26).

She used dairy products from South Mountain Creamery, eggs from Evensong Farm and Washington flour made in Howard County.

The bars take about 1 1/2 hours to make, start to finish. The recipe calls for root beer extract, which is available at home brew stores. (We found it at MYLHBS in Falls Church; 703-241-3874). Be sure to tell the store employees you are using the extract for baking.

Servings: 15 - 24 bars
  • For the bars
  • 2 cups self-rising flour, such as Washington brand
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted (can be warm but not hot)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup reduced root beer (heated in a saucepan, from 12 ounces to 8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup regular low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon root beer extract (see headnote)
  • For the glaze
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons root beer extract (see headnote)
  • For the topping
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 packet (about 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored powdered gelatin, such as Knox brand
  • 1 cup reduced root beer (heated in a saucepan, from 12 ounces to 8 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons root beer extract (see headnote)


For the bars: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9- by 13-inch baking pan.

Combine the flour, sugar and baking soda in a mixing bowl.

Combine the reduced root beer, eggs, buttermilk and root beer extract in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held mixer. Beat on low speed to incorporate, then add the melted butter.

Add the combined root beer mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well, for 2 minutes (either by hand or mixer). Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes before glazing; use a skewer to poke 7 or 9 holes in the top.

While the bars are baking, make the glaze: Combine the sweetened condensed milk and root beer extract in a liquid measuring cup, stirring to form a uniformly dark-brown mixture. Spread the glaze evenly on top of the still-warm bars. Let cool completely.

For the topping: Dissolve the gelatin in the reduced root beer (it can be warm but not hot). Let sit for 5 minutes

Whip the cream in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Stop to add the sugar, then beat on medium speed to form very stiff peaks (for about 4 minutes). Use a wooden spoon to stir in the root beer-gelatin mixture.

Spread the mixture on top of the cake; the topping should be at least 1/4 inch thick. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

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Recipe Source

From Susan Callahan, chef-instructor and lecturer at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore at Shady Grove.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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