This bakery is best known for their creative, quirky, and always delicious ice cream sandwich combinations. The sandwiches are $4 apiece, each ideally sized to pacify that afternoon sweet craving. Flavors change frequently, with at least four types at any give time, like the Thai Fighter pictured above: Chocolate-chili ice cream sandwiched between coconut curry cookies. The nicest part is that you'll find a broad range of cookie textures, from the crunchy chocolate to a plush, Whoopie pie-like red velvet with crisp edges to a chewy snickerdoodle number.
Domenique Ansel: Blanc de Blanc
Tahitian Vanilla ice cream comes sandwiched between two soft, milky ricotta cookies at Dominique Ansel Bakery. It's a lighter, friendlier ice cream sandwich that shows off bright dairy more than anything else. But perhaps the best part is the nugget of salted honey in the center, not unlike a chewy piece of salted caramel, that brings the whole sandwich into focus.
Dominique Ansel: Kouign Amann Sandwich
Remember when we told you about an ice cream sandwich hack with Dominque Ansel's buttery, sugar-crusted kouign amann (a croissant raised to the butter power)? Well, the DA team liked it so much they've made it a $6 off-menu special with their own lovely ice cream—just ask for one at the register and they'll make it fresh. Their light, melty ice cream softens the crackly, buttery pastry just so, and makes for an incredible sandwich.
These are ice cream sandwiches to unhinge your jaw, shove your face into, and revel in the melty cream that drips down your fingers. They're messy and easy to love, and we're thankful for that. A recent Coolhaus success was the root beer ice cream sandwiched, on recommendation from the truck, between snickerdoodle cookies ($6 per sandwich). The ice cream is bright and surprisingly refreshing, given that it's a dense gob of almost chewy custard between two buttery, sandy cookies spiked with cinnamon. Close your eyes and it's like chomping down on a chunky-style root beer float.
We already consider Brooklyn Larder's gelato as some of the best in the city for its delicate, clean dairy flavor. Their ice cream sandwiches are great as well. This classic features two crisp-chewy chocolate chip cookies with hefty chunks of rich dark chocolate as a platform for their creamy vanilla. It's a case of a classic done just right: well proportioned, well executed, exactly what you want a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich to be.
This sandwich comes two pieces to an order with dark chocolate shortbread rounds and a scoop of green tea ice cream. The ice cream is unusually light, and borderline frothy as it starts to melt. But the green tea notes are powerful and bold, holding up well to the dark chocolate. Alternate bites with smears of fudge and caramelized almonds, crushed and scattered on the plate.
Come for the beer (both by the bottle and on tap), but don't leave without a handful of gelato sandwiches made with Il Laboratorio gelato and Bierkraft's own fudgy chocolate brownies. Come on a good day and you might find a few of the cherry blondies with dark chocolate gelato or brownie with peanut butter gelato alongside the classic vanilla chocolate chunk gelato on brownie. Don't say you weren't warned in advance; the sandwich is large, and to eat one alone will leave you uncomfortably full. With that said, all in moderation, including moderation...especially with desserts!
L'Arte del Gelato
For a more substantial version of brioche, head to L'Arte del Gelato, located but a few blocks away from Otto. The owners are quite proud of their products, and justly so, for they offer a plethora of quality gelato, most notable the luxuriously rich pistachio and a chocolate-banana flavor, unmatched by any other in this city. The brioche bun is less buttery and far more filling that Otto's—it could easily double for a light breakfast or lunch. They'll gladly tuck up to two flavors of your choice into the soft brioche—ask the helpful staff behind the counter for combination suggestions, or simply pick your two favorites, you can't go wrong.
They don't do the gelato sandwiches for takeout at this West Village classic, but slide up to a bar seat at Otto and order the flavor of your choice neatly spooned onto a golden buttery brioche with the top hollowed out. The portion size is just satisfying without being overkill. Gelato flavors change with season—notable current favorites are the peppermint chocolate chip and crème fraiche—but classics such as olive oil and an ever smoky dark caramel are the way to go.
Ronnybrook Milk Bar
Ronnybrook Milk Bar in Chelsea Market eagerly offers samples of their "farm fresh" ice cream—ginger crème brûlée and hazelnut are your best bets. Cookie options range from peanut butter to chocolate chip, and a notable raisin oatmeal. Assembled on the spot, the sandwiches have the perfect cookie to ice cream ratio that's so easy to do, yet rarely come across: a perfect 50:50. The real success, though, is found in the ice cream frozen at the right temperature and a cookie that manages to be crisp, but not hard, and thus easy to bite in without fear that ice cream will gush out the other end.
Café 2 at MoMA
At Cafe 2 inside MoMA, the brownie and vanilla ice cream sandwich is a work of simplicity. Cristina Nasatasi is the woman behind this ice cream sandwiches as well as the killer ice cream sundaes at Terrace 5 upstairs. Two thin slices of dark, perfectly moist brownie, with vanilla ice cream tucked in the center—classic and very rewarding. With a 90:10 ratio of ice cream to brownie, this one is for people who love more ice cream than "bun" in their sandwiches.
François Payard Bakery
Macaron sandwiches here come in four flavors: three with a macaron shell, and one that's a brownie sandwich with vanilla ice cream. It's not easy deciding when options include pistachio macarons with raspberry ice cream, and a coconut macaron with mango sorbet, but our favorite has got to be the berry macaron with a strawberry cheesecake filling, in the form of fresh strawberry sorbet and cream cheese ice cream.
The chocolate and vanilla éclairs that ChikaLicious turns out aren't just any éclairs, but cookie éclairs—so named because of that little extra crunch over the shell surface, like the double-layered shell method of Beard Papa's. With the ice cream sandwich, that same choux pastry shell is sliced open horizontally, filled with vanilla bean soft serve, and then topped off with hot fudge. Fork and knife required.
One Girl Cookies
The sandwiches at this charming bakery are lilliputian to say the least. Combine One Girl Cookie's popular whoopie pies—a meltingly tender half-cookie, half-cake creation in your choice of pumpkin or chocolate—with a tidy scoop of Il Laboratorio's ricotta gelato and you've found yourself the most unusual and surprisingly delicious combination yet. Bonus points for the adorable, hard candy-esque parchment wrapper.
Milk & Cookies
The soft cookies (including chocolate-mint and white chocolate-macadamia nut), still warm from the oven, combined with Il Laboratorio's gelato, made the snotty service at this West Village cookie shop worthwhile. Choose from among the suggested cookie-and-gelato combos or craft your own. The gelato to cookie ratio is severely skewed—10% gelato, 90% cookie—but the cookies are so addictive that you won't mind in the least.