Let's Talk with Nancy J. Cohen

Happy Make Your Own Sundae Day!

July 11, 2024

July is the perfect month for ice cream. I have fond memories of growing up in New Jersey and getting bored during the lazy summer season. My dad would take me to Dairy Queen after dinner. We’d hang out by our car and eat hot fudge sundaes. An indoor setting was even better so you didn’t have to stand around in the heat. On special days, we headed to an ice cream parlor a few towns over called O’Dowd’s Dairy. That was a real treat.

photo by Nancy J Cohen

When we moved to Florida, we found a charming equivalent with homemade ice cream and air-conditioned seating at Jaxson’s in Dania Beach. Loved that place. I’ve yet to find a similar establishment in the Orlando area except for the Disney resorts. Going out for ice cream remains a fun choice to escape the summer doldrums.

I’m also fond of root beer floats with vanilla ice cream. This reminds me of STAR TANGLED MURDER, the latest title in my Bad Hair Day Mysteries. Hairstylist Marla Vail and her detective husband visit a living history village where a Seminole battle reenactment turns up a real dead body. The village showcases pioneer life in Florida at the turn of the previous century.

Photo 242244490 | Root Beer © Bhofack2 | Dreamstime.com

In 1876, Pharmacist Charles Elmer Hires debuted a commercialized version of root beer at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Hires began to bottle the beverage, and by 1893, root beer became widely distributed across the United States. The drink was traditionally made from the root and bark of the sassafras tree. Safrole, the aromatic oil in sassafras that gave the drink its flavor, was banned in 1960 due to carcinogenic properties. Since then, most root beers are flavored with artificial sassafras or with a safrole-free sassafras extract.

What’s your favorite type of sundae or ice cream topping?

Some of my mysteries contain recipes. Here’s one for you from STAR TANGLED MURDER:


Nancy’s Root Beer Cake









15.25 oz. box of German chocolate cake mix
1-1/4 cups root beer
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup butter
7 Tbsp. root beer
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
16 oz. package powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the German chocolate cake mix, 1-1/4 cups root beer, 2 large eggs, and 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Beat with mixer until blended. Pour mixture into a greased and floured 13×9 inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on rack.

Meanwhile, melt 1/2 cup butter in saucepan over medium high heat. Add 7 Tbsp. root beer and 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa. Blend and remove from heat. Add 16 oz. package powdered sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix to blend. Spread frosting over cake. Serves 12.


While you’re here, check out our July Contest with two full length books going to one person. The contest runs from July 1-22, so enter right away! CLICK HERE for the contest.

Want to know more about author Nancy J Cohen? Visit her WEBSITE

Posted in Let's Talk, with Nancy J. Cohen • Tags: , , , |  24 Comments


24 thoughts on “Happy Make Your Own Sundae Day!

  1. I miss being able to have real ice cream! I’m now dairy-free and sugar-free, so finding frozen desserts is difficult. When I can, though, my favorite topping is sugar-free chocolate chips =)

      1. Thank you so much for the suggestion, Terry! I will look for them at my local store ❤️

  2. My favorite topping is the classic chocolate syrup over great vanilla ice cream. We have a Kilwin’s here in downtown St. Pete. George and I frequently have an ‘ice cream for supper’ date.

  3. I also grew up with a very special (and rare!) treat of going to DQ for hot fudge sundaes. Oooh-la-la! So yummy. My favorite topping, and I don’t even know if they make this anymore, was a maples syrup and pecan mix. Now I need a sweet fix! Enjoyed Star Tangled Murder.

  4. I never cared that much for ice cream as a kid. Then I grew up and realized my mom always bought ice “milk” and not the real thing. Once I ate actual ice cream I loved it. 🙂 I started out as a choco ice cream fiend but shifted to vanilla base as I grew up. Not a root beer fan though your recipe does look great. Nothing beats a Coke or cream soda float!

  5. Growing up in New Jersey, I, too, enjoyed ice cream treats, but when we moved to Michigan there was an ice cream shop that was part of a dairy. Although my favorite flavors normally are coffee and chocolate mint, they made a chocolate marshmallow that was to die for – especially with chocolate syrup and the wet walnuts.

  6. I like any ice cream but mint chocolate chip and chocolate mint are my favorites. We have a Coldstone ice cream parlor up here now and they are the best!

  7. Love ice cream especially homemade ice cream. We haven’t made homemade ice cream for a couple of years but we have been able to purchase it at local creameries.

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