If a sandwich is a perfectly acceptable meal any time of day, and the forecast calls for 35 degrees with a side of weird smoky haze, does that mean a hefty, cooling ice cream sandwich is the ideal summer lunch? Yes, we say—and with enthusiasm. Our fair (if smoggy) city is home to many excellent iterations, each with unique delights, both inside and out. Whether you’re into consuming two butter tarts at once, want your ice cream sealed inside a doughnut, or feel like the only thing missing from your summer is edible glitter, we have an option for you. Here, nine ice cream sandwiches you need to eat right now.
The one with a doughnut
At Good Behaviour, a nifty machine seals ice cream inside a fluffy glazed doughnut. We’re unsure of the sorcery at work here, but somehow, the exterior ends up piping hot without melting the frozen innards, making for a super satisfying hot-cold contrast. If you know this boutique ice cream shop, you know they’re all about textured mix-ins. As such, your sandwich will come with a topping to match the scoop. Here, for instance, we have Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal atop the similarly flavoured ice cream. $8.25 each.
The one with Italian brioche
Lorenzo Loseto, head chef of George Restaurant, went to an actual gelato university in northern Italy. The result is Alborebollo Gelato, a brand under the George umbrella that specializes in inventive small-batch gelato with flavours like banana marsala, almond nougat and white chocolate chip olive oil raspberry crumble. Tender, flaky Italian brioche buns are also on offer—less buttery than the French version and sprinkled with Maldon salt, they beautifully balance the intensity of the gelato. Some assembly is required, however: you’ll need to buy the ice cream and brioche buns separately for a little DIY dessert. $10 per pint for gelato, $8 for six brioche buns.
The one with cake
The genius of this ice cream sandwich is Creamery X’s choice of bread, so to speak—with plush cake, there’s no danger of encountering an overly hard cookie that squishes the ice cream out with each bite. Instead, you get to taste everything in one smooth, cohesive mouthful. Try the pineapple basil funfetti, where chunks of fruit in the ice cream bring freshness to the party and an herbaceous note gives it balance. Also pictured here: the chocolate overload, luxe oatmeal coconut with coconut cream pie ice cream, and the hipster (butterscotch ice cream with oatmeal coconut cookies). $22 for four.
The one with saltines
San Skyflakes saltine crackers are a nostalgic staple in the Philippines. For those who like a salty edge with their sweets, the sandwich at Wong’s Ice Cream—known for creative Asian-inspired selections like sriracha buttered popcorn and roasted almond Pocky crunch—is the ticket to salty-sweet flavourtown. Skyflakes crackers sandwich strawberry mochi (chewy rice cake) ice cream and a thin layer of chocolate brownie. Wong’s rotates its selection regularly—recent flavours include White Rabbit candy ice cream and Korean banana milk. $8 each.
The one with two butter tarts
For pure Canadiana in the form of an ice cream sandwich, you won’t do better than this wildly indulgent dessert. Gerrard St. Bakery is known for its butter tarts, which are made with Kinsip maple syrup, aged in whiskey barrels, for extra depth. The tarts not only form the outer layers here—they’re also in the ice cream itself. A butter tart flavour is custom-made for this sandwich by House Scoops, a boutique gelato business by former Buca sous chef Mathew Cribari. Consider scheduling in a nap after to come down from the inevitable sugar high. $12 each.
The plant-based one
Honey’s uses yummy ingredients like cashews, coconut cream and cocoa butter to make rich, full-flavoured ice cream without dairy. You won’t miss it—especially when it’s sandwiched between layers of tender, chewy cookies that thoughtfully complement the filling. Here, we have the mint chocolate chip with chewy, ultra-rich brownie cookies, strawberry with gluten-free oatmeal cookies, and cookies and cream with chocolate chip cookies. Best to leave these out for fifteen minutes for optimal ice cream/cookie texture. $6.50 each.
The one’s that come gift-wrapped
A pandemic-born business that’s amassed a cult following, the only thing Ernie’s Icebox makes is ice cream sandwiches. With that kind of focus, you know they have to be good. The cherry cheesecake variety pairs vanilla brioche–flavoured “toast” ice cream with a soft, easy-to-bite-through peanut butter cookie, crunchy with honey-toasted peanuts and peanut butter chips. A remarkably fresh tasting ripple of raspberry preserves makes the ice cream pop. Like a good cherry cheesecake, it’s fresh, fruity and luxuriant all at once. $26 for four.
The one with caramel sauce
In this lavish creation from Nadege, a smooth ripple of caramel runs through chocolate and vanilla ice cream for a sweet, texturally delightful surprise. Set between two chocolate hazelnut cookies—complete with a generous amount of hazelnuts for nuttiness and crunch—the indulgence factor here is almost overwhelming. The key word being almost. It’s big enough to share, but we doubt you’ll want to—and that’s okay. $7.95.
The one that glitters
Actual glitter (yes, it’s safe to eat) is an ingredient in Ruby Red Slippers, this charmingly named flavour from Knockout Ice Cream. With peppermint, raspberry purée and a mix of red and white chocolate, there’s a lot going on here and it’s all very good. Paired with two perfect chocolate chip cookies from Craig’s Cookies, it’s a show-stopping razzle-dazzle of a sandwich that’s as much fun to look at as it is to eat. The good folks at Craig’s have a variety of other ice cream flavours on offer, which you can pair with your choice of cookie. $8 each.