Doughnuts are hard not to like. And ice cream lovers are everywhere. What if you put them together?
Across the U.S., this is the summer of doughnuts and ice cream. Restaurants, ice cream shops, doughnut places and even ballparks are pairing the two sweet treats, in doughnut sundaes and doughnut ice cream sandwiches.
The latter are a regular feature at Sweet Melissa’s Ice Cream in Ithaca, New York, known for its unique flavors of soft serve and hard ice cream, available in dairy and vegan. Sweet Melissa’s teams up with its neighbor, One Ring Donuts, to offer doughnut sandwiches and sundaes, like a strawberry shortcake it offered earlier this week.
The sandwiches sell for $5.50 each, and “sell out extremely fast,” says owner Melissa Kenny. “Like, if I post about them (on social media), they’ll be gone in a couple of hours.”
It might seem strange to put a breakfast staple with one eaten as a creamy snack, but there’s a precedent for this combination: the Chipwich.
Forty years ago, New York City attorney Richard LaMotta decided to put a serving of ice cream between two chocolate chip cookies, and roll the concoction in chocolate chips. In 1982, LaMotta hired vendors to sell the cookies and ice cream duo on city streets. They sold out of 25,000 in one day.
The idea exploded in popularity, only to see the original Chipwich disappear after the rights were acquired by Nestlé, because it conflicted with a Nestlé product. However, the Chipwich re-emerged on the East Coast this year, just in time to face new competition from doughnuts.
In Brooklyn, Stuffed Ice Cream sells the Cruff, a toasted, glazed donut stuffed with ice cream and a choice of toppings. For instance, the Tea Party has milk tea and Thai tea ice cream, with Oreos and wafers, while the Cereal Killer has Fruity Pebbles and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, topped with Captain Crunch and caramel.
In Indianapolis, there are lines out the door in all kinds of weather for the giant doughnut ice cream sandwiches at Yummi Bunni. It also offers a cinnamon bun ice cream sandwich.
Kenny, in Ithaca, offers those with food needs the opportunity to indulge. One Ring’s doughnuts are made with potatoes, making them gluten free and vegan, so they can be paired with Sweet Melissa’s vegan ice cream.
Doughnuts and ice cream are nothing new at Zingerman’s Roadhouse, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ari’s Doughnut Sundae first appeared on the menu about 10 years ago. Zingerman’s cofounder, Ari Weinzweig, says he got the idea one day while he was out for a run.
The Roadhouse was already selling doughnuts at breakfast, where they are fried to order, and it transformed leftover doughnuts into bread pudding, topped with a bourbon butter sauce. Guests also could add gelato made by Zingerman’s Creamery.
“I had the thought that if you took the doughnut, put the Creamery’s vanilla gelato on it, topped it with that sauce, added a bit of whipped cream and those big Virginia runner peanuts we use, what could be bad?” Weinzweig says.
The original doughnut sundae “has been our biggest selling dessert for ages,” he says. Now, the Roadhouse sells daily variations, including Doughnut Mondae (yes, spelled like sundae), which has bacon chocolate gravy and applewood smoked bacon, and Doughnut Fridae, its version of a doughnut ice cream sandwich.
Meanwhile, sports fans don’t have to go far to find another doughnut ice cream sandwich. The one sold at Comerica Park, home to the Detroit Tigers, features a cake doughnut with a scoop of locally-made Guernsey Farms Dairy ice cream.
Unlike the Chipwich, the doughnut ice cream sandwich might not hold up that long in the freezer. So, you might consider making one at home, and perhaps pick one of these 11 versions from the Food Network. If you have the grill going, and want to get ambitious, here’s a recipe for a grilled doughnut ice cream sandwich.
Kenny, in Ithaca, isn’t sure if doughnut sandwiches are a fad or something more lasting. But, she says, “I feel like doughnuts and ice cream are such staples for Americans.”