From gourmet sundaes to ice cream pies, these cool treats are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth
1 of 35Jeffery Cross
Ice Cream Tacos
Yes, these are a lot more work than unwrapping a store-bought Choco Taco, but every bite will make you want to dance with joy. You’ll need a hardback book with a 1-in.- wide spine to shape the warm cookies into shells. The shells are best when the weather is dry (humidity softens them).
With all due respect to Northern California’s iconic It’s-It, this version’s crisp oatmeal cookies are even more addictive. That’s why we’ve made sure you wind up with extra cookies. (To use them all for ice cream sandwiches, double the other ingredients.)
There’s something immensely pleasing about the way a push-up pop emerges, bit by bit, from its container to be devoured. This version evokes the beloved Creamsicle. You’ll need 8 push-up pop molds (wilton.com).
Brownies are perfection when combined with peanut-butter-cup/chocolate-swirl ice cream (often called Moose Tracks), but feel free to swap it out for your favorite flavor. Chilling the brownies overnight will make it easier to cut them neatly; they’ll also keep their shape nicely if you cut them in half.
“We make a lot of classic flavors, but we’re always thinking about how to make them better,” says Anne Walker of San Francisco’s Bi-Rite Creamery. This mint ice cream, for instance, isn’t fluorescent green, because it’s made with freshly picked mint leaves—not food coloring. And instead of waxy chocolate chips, it has ultrathin shards of chocolate, which instantly melt in the mouth. As for the sauce, this is hot fudge as it’s meant to be. Deeply chocolatey, it acquires an almost chewy quality when poured over ice cream. It’s adapted from a recipe in Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones (Ten Speed Press, 2012; $25), by Anne Walker, Kris Hoogerhyde, and Dabney Gough. To watch a video of this sauce being made, see sunset.com/hotfudge.
This ice cream has a delicate flavor; if you prefer a deeper taste, substitute a darker honey. Anne Walker and Sam Mogannam, the couple behind Bi-Rite Creamery and Bi-Rite Market, pick the figs from a tree in their garden, drizzle them with honey from their hives, and roast them in their outdoor wood-burning oven. They’re also delicious over vanilla ice cream.
13 of 35Photo by Iain Bagwell; writen by Ivy Manning
Hot Date Sundae
Inspired by the Hot Date sundae from Poppy in Seattle, this is triply banana: warm banana bread, banana swirl ice cream, and ripe bananas with meltingly soft dates, walnuts, and whipped cream. Add a shot of rum to make it even more provocative.
14 of 35Photo by Iain Bagwell; written by Ivy Manning
Coffee Chocolate Crunch Fantasia Sundae
Who says sundaes have to be in a bowl? Coffee ice cream gets structural with rum mocha sauce, Kahlúa whipped cream, macadamia nuts, crushed waffle cookies, and cacao nibs. The treat was Inspired by the artfully deconstructed ice cream creations of Food Network star Elizabeth Falkner.
Ice cream pies make ideal desserts for big holiday dinners, because you can make them days in advance and just haul them out of the freezer right before serving. Plus, they’re easy to make. This nutty, chocolate confection is a surefire crowd-pleaser.
27 of 35Photo by Annabelle Breakey; written by Stephanie Dean
Strawberry-Lemon Baked Alaska
If you've never made one of these classic confections, you'll be tempted now. The bottom layer is genoise, a light, rich cake. Ice cream goes on the cake, then the whole thing is cloaked in meringue and put in the oven. The meringue turns golden but insulates the ice cream, so it stays frozen
33 of 35Photo by Leo Gong; written by Stephanie Dean
Sweet Corn Ice Cream
Sweet corn is a favorite ice cream flavor in Mexico, where the kernels are usually stirred in whole. We've grated them to extract their sweet, milky liquid and used the kernels and liquid as part of the custard base.
Anne Walker and Sam Mogannam, the couple behind Bi-Rite Creamery and Bi-Rite Market, love to host ice-cream socials at their home in Sonoma. For this vibrant sorbet, they supplement farmers’ market berries with those from bushes in their backyard—if their two young daughters haven’t already stolen them.