11 Times Ice Cream Went Overboard

Sink your spoon into bold ice cream creations at these 11 shops pushing the boundaries far past basic vanilla. They’re serving gold-flecked sundaes, hot fudge-drenched ice cream pizzas and more.

Related To:

Ice Cream to the Extreme

No longer is a simple ice cream sundae considered an indulgence. Whether they’re building exaggerated milkshakes that reach skyscraper heights or smooshing scoops between two churros for an ice cream sandwich, these shops are taking ice cream over the top from coast to coast.

Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer

Savory Scoops at Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream, San Francisco

Sure, Humphry Slocombe churns savory flavors like "foie" and "beer nut," but these are no gimmick. The chef-driven ice cream shop has become a major player in San Francisco’s top-tier food scene with flavors that taste good. The bromance leading the operation — Jake Godby and Sean Vahey — opened their first shop in 2008. Godby, who worked in top kitchens as a pastry chef, uses impressive techniques for each flavor. For the foie gras, he explains: "We make a caramel and sear the foie gras in it and then puree it with cream before straining it and adding salt." Another cult favorite is Secret Breakfast — the bourbon-and-cornflake-cookie combination that was named one of the best ice creams in America by Top 5 Restaurants. The shop now has a second location in the Ferry Terminal Building and ships to all 50 states.

Photo courtesy of Sean Vahey

: Humphry Slocombe

Ice Cream Rolls at 10Below Ice Cream, New York City

10Below is on a roll. Ever since Richard Tam and his partners opened the shop in July 2015, there’s been a snaking line to try their Thai-inspired ice cream. The science-minded team creates ice cream in two minutes by spreading a thin layer of creme Anglaise dairy custard (made in-house daily) on an electrothermal cold plate set at (you guessed it) 10 degrees below zero. Using metal trowels, they scrape the instant ice cream into rolls and then allow guests to extravagantly adorn them with unlimited toppings. "It has a very smooth, creamy texture," Tam says. "It tastes like ice cream fresh out of the ice cream maker when you make it at home." That’s because there are no stabilizers or preservatives. Channel a night around the campfire with S’mores Galore, or get a buzz from the coffee-chocolate I Love You a Latte.

Photo courtesy of Dara Elass

: 10Below Ice Cream

Extreme Milkshakes at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer, New York City

Gravity-defying, rainbow-colored bonanzas of sugar and ice cream, Black Tap’s insane Extreme Milkshakes are 3-D culinary extravaganzas. Chef-Owner Joe Isidori says not only are most patrons capable of finishing one of these $15 extreme treats, but they’ve likely downed a burger too. (Rightly so, since Black Tap won the people’s choice award at Burger Bash 2015.) "We’re Americana on speed," he jokes. Isidori affixes candy to an old-school soda fountain glass, using cake frosting as glue. The result is a shake with Empire State Building height that takes 10 minutes to make. It comes in four flavors: Sweet n’ Salty, The Cookie, Cotton Candy or Sour Power. What started as an Instagram teaser has become a cotton-candy-flavor phenomenon. "Oh my god, what did we just do?" Isidori asks. "It was 1 million percent by accident."

Photo courtesy of Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer

: Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer

Everything Bagel Ice Cream at Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Philadelphia

Ice cream steps in for the classic cream cheese to create an everything bagel scoop. The quirky Little Baby’s Ice Cream got its start as a tricycle-based business pedaling savory scoops. To create this deli-ready flavor, co-founder Pete Angevine steeps everything bagels in a Trickling Springs dairy base overnight. The ice cream gets another blast of flavor when poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic and salt are sprinkled in between trips to the freezer. Angevine says the flavor recommends trying the combination — which is surprisingly popular — in milkshake form. Other far-out flavors include Earl Grey Sriracha, Honey Mustard and Maryland BBQ. Little Baby’s Ice Cream just started distributing throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, so look for their products in area freezers.

Photo courtesy of Emma Bedlin/Little Baby’s Ice Cream

: Little Baby’s

Kitchen Sink Sundae at Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour, Dania Beach, Fla.

The siren sound at Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour is a good thing. It means someone has ordered a Kitchen Sink Sundae — a mammoth treat that’s been on the menu since at least 1962, according to owner Linda Udell Zakheim. They’ve even trademarked the stainless-steel, sinklike vessel that arrives complete with faux plumbing. The massive sundae is available to parties of four or more, with a pound of ice cream per person ($13.95 each), plus a hailstorm of homemade toppings like chocolate syrup, strawberry topping, whipped marshmallow topping, banana slices, nuts, cherries and whipped cream. The shop serves dozens of the sundaes per day, though one came topped with something even better than a cherry: "The most interesting one we ever served had an engagement ring on top. That was a classic moment," says General Manager Jerry Smith.

Photo courtesy of Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant

: Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant

Churro Ice Cream Sandwich at Churro Borough, Los Angeles

Inspired by her childhood memories of chomping on churros at Disneyland, Los Angeles native Sylvia Yoo opened Churro Borough in April 2015. The menu features ice cream flavors like spicy hot chocolate, coconut-kaffir lime and horchata sherbet, which is the perfect choice to sandwich between churro discs, forming an ice cream sandwich. Yoo tested different pastry bag tips until she piped a size that produced churros that were crunchy on the outside and springy on the inside. They’re fried to order and dipped in a house sugar blend. "This is where the chef in me comes in. The best way to eat it is a warm, crispy churro and cold ice cream," Yoo says of her punk-rock shop’s signature dish.

Photo courtesy of Churro Borough

: Churro Borough

Golden Opulence Sundae at Serendipity 3, New York City

Think of Serendipity 3’s $1,000 Golden Opulence sundae as the option when a simple cup or cone won’t cut it: The elaborate concoction is served in a $300 Baccarat crystal goblet. This Guinness World Record holder for the most-expensive sundae was created in 2004 for the restaurant’s 50th, or "golden," anniversary. Chef Joe Calderone created the edible art — which is popular among celebs, royalty and anyone trying very hard to impress a date — using Tahitian vanilla ice cream infused with Madagascar vanilla beans, Amedei Porcelana and Chuao chocolate, candied fruit from France, as much edible gold as possible and caviar that’s been injected with Armagnac and passion fruit. Ordering one requires 48 hours notice because the ingredients have to be flown in. Dig in with an 18-carat spoon, then bring the crystal home as a keepsake.

Photo courtesy of Serendipity 3

: Serendipity 3

Ice Cream Pizza at Emack & Bolio’s, Boston

Next time a friend suggests slices for dinner, throw a curveball with ice cream pizza from Emack & Bolio’s. The 12-inch round dessert pie, which can feed a small crowd, features a brownie crust topped generously with vanilla bean ice cream, hot fudge, celestial-themed confetti, chocolate raspberry “bleeding hearts” and what they call "marsh mellows." A chocolate peace sign adorning the frozen pie keeps the hippie theme going. The Boston-based ice cream operation started as a midnight-munchies hang for rock and rollers who didn't have anywhere to go after shows, but has earned rock-star status with ice cream fans of all ages and musical persuasions.

Photo courtesy of Emack & Bolio’s

: Emack & Bolio’s

Puffle Cones at Cauldron Ice Cream, Santa Ana, Calif.

The worst possible moment for your phone to run out of battery power is the moment you walk into Cauldron Ice Cream — because, if one consumes a puffle cone without a pic to prove it, did it really happen? Of course it did, and it was guaranteed delicious. Partners Desiree Le and Terence Lioe opened in May 2015 and shortly thereafter introduced the social-media-beloved puffle cone that continues to draw lines. Lioe is Chinese and grew up eating the Hong Kong waffle street snack, which the duo folds to use as an ice cream cone for heavenly flavors like Earl Grey lavender and Vietnamese coffee. Though the waffle, which looks like a mogul ski slope, is served warm, the ice cream doesn’t melt immediately. That’s because each scoop of ice cream is made to order using liquid nitrogen, making the final product colder than traditional ice cream.

Photo courtesy of John Pham/Cauldron Ice Cream

: Cauldron Ice Cream

The Federal Deficit Sundae at Governor’s Restaurant, Old Town, Maine

The sheer size of the federal deficit (nearing half a trillion dollars for 2015) should be a hint that a namesake sundae will be cartoonishly massive. The Governor’s Restaurant signature dish, which has been on the menu since the early ’80s, includes a banana split, brownie delight and strawberry shortcake sundae plus six more sundaes, for a total of 17 scoops of ice cream for $18.99. "We essentially put everything we have in the store on top of it: a whole can of whipped cream, jimmies, nuts, cherries," says Jason Clay, director of marketing. He recommends at least six people take it on, and notes that it has become tradition for many high school sports teams to cap off a season by tackling one.

Photo courtesy of Governor’s Restaurant

: Governor’s Restaurant

Milky Bun Ice Cream Sandwiches at Afters Ice Cream, Pasadena, Calif.

What if you bit into a glazed doughnut and found ice cream in place of a swirl of jelly or pastry cream? This scenario is reality at Afters Ice Cream. Patrons choose one fanciful ice cream flavor like jasmine milk tea or cookie butter, plus one nostalgic topping (think cereal). Both are injected into a plain or glazed doughnut, which gets resealed using a special machine to produce a milky bun ice cream sandwich. Co-owner Andy Nguyen says the most-popular flavor is Cookie Monster. The bright blue, eye-catching combination loads chocolate chip cookies, Oreos and a fudge swirl into a warm doughnut. Afters Ice Cream has nine locations surrounding Los Angeles.

Photo courtesy of Afters Ice Cream

: Afters Ice Cream

More from: