What is an ice cream sandwich, if not childhood persevering?
May 15, 2024 3:57 AM   Subscribe

I think the only thing that would tempt me to consume one of those sugary monstrosities would be a thick, crunchy layer of chip-shop batter. Preferably batter that's been used for fish and battered sausages for a day or two first. It's all about the balance.
posted by pipeski at 4:11 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

if you freeze your fishy battered monstrosity, and pour cupcake flavored magic shell (TM) on it and before the magic shell sets, you add rainbow sprinkles, you have the Ortolan of Brit-American deserts, which should only be eaten when covering your head with a 7-11 branded sports towel.
posted by lalochezia at 4:19 AM on May 15 [20 favorites]

Personally, I have never cared for chocolate-chip cookie ice cream sandwiches. I prefer the old-fashioned kind with chocolate wafers like this.
posted by briank at 4:37 AM on May 15 [22 favorites]

I have to ask: is a Choco Taco a sandwich?
posted by chavenet at 4:42 AM on May 15 [8 favorites]

CUBE RULE - previously
posted by lalochezia at 4:45 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

The second best one I've ever had was made to order in an ice cream parlor on Quinta Avenida in Playa del Carmen.
The best one was from the machine in the laundromat across from our house in Hasbrouck, Ithaca when I was 5.
posted by signal at 4:49 AM on May 15 [7 favorites]

briank and signal, I suspect we are all peas in a pod. My actual best ever was from the little store down the street, where you reached into the chest freezer to get your beautiful paper-wrapped ice cream-adjacent treat.
posted by cupcakeninja at 4:54 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

chavenet, I say yes, but perhaps someone with deeper learnings will speak up. The CUBE RULE is persuasive, but I am not sure that any rule can serve for a question that can only be answered by looking into your heart.
posted by cupcakeninja at 4:57 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

Why do none of those ice cream sandwiches look like ice cream sandwiches?
posted by Alex404 at 5:10 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]

Ice cream sandwiches were invented so you could eat ice cream in the nuclear inferno of summer without it dripping all over you. Just like the real sandwich, which uses bread to contain mess. The ice cream sandwich wafers insulate the ice cream, absorb meltage, and keep it off your hands.

These cookie abominations look like they'd fail every aspect of the ice cream sandwich use case. The ice cream is too thick, it will melt and drip. The cookie will crumble all over you.

No, this is not an ice cream sandwich, this is something else. Something stupid.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:15 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

Only on Metafilter can multiple people be baffled by the very concept of a chipwich. I would say unbelievable, but it's completely believable.

I love me an ice cream sandwich. The worse, the better. I want that ice cream so full of gums and devoid of real ice cream stuff that it's just white air that can never really melt. I want those wafers so sticky that if you accidentally touch them, you can't even lick them off your fingers. It's a treat for when it's hot and you want a simulacrum of a treat.

But a chipwich is something else entirely, something sublime. The more real the cookies, the more real the ice cream, the better. It's an actual dessert that should taste and eat like one.

I remember when this article came out last year and I was shocked to see that the 7-11 house chipwich was rated best. I keep forgetting to try one. Dang.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:26 AM on May 15 [23 favorites]

uncleozzy, I've encountered high-end and/or artisanal ice cream sandwiches in the last few years, but I had never heard of a chipwich until today, as far as I can recall.
posted by cupcakeninja at 5:35 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

I'm with briank (whose name I still pronounce as 'bree-ankh') on this one. I don't know what those chocolate wafers are made of but they were delicious. There was a neopolitan ice cream sandwich variation as I recall too.
posted by vacapinta at 5:41 AM on May 15

Guys, guys, guys...this is getting out of hand. National sandwich day is in November. As a community, we gotta cool it. That being said, The Baked Bear in Tahoe has the best ice cream sandwich game in the world.
posted by es_de_bah at 5:43 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

I don't know what those chocolate wafers are made of but they were delicious.

Same - those were the ice cream sandwiches I would describe as "childhood persevering". These chip-wich type things are what I would call the "bougie option" - empirically delicious, yes, but not the sentimental childhood option.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:45 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]

My biggest problem with ice cream sandwiches is when the cookie part is too sweet. That ruins the whole effect for me. I want my teeth to hurt from the cold!
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:49 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

The delight of the corner store ice cream sandwich is a great example of crunchy-gone-soggy, a concept that all of us can easily understand and agree upon.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:02 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]

A lot of this grar could have been avoided if the people assembling these ice cream cookie assemblages did not call them ice cream sandwiches, Cube Rule notwithstanding. "Ice cream sandwich" is a generic term that has become specialized to describe a specific thing. I don't mind Chipwich particularly, call it that, fine, but the article specifically says ice cream sandwich reviews and that's not what I'm seeing reviewed.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:05 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]

At some point a few years ago, I bought a box of rectangular ice cream sandwiches from the local grocery chain and they were fine.

A few works later, I bought another, same store brand and they were so much better. In comparison to the first box cookie was crisp and the ice cream more flavorful. Everything tasted fresher. After a little bit of trial and error and investigation, I realized the better tasting sandwiches were indeed more recently made, while the stale tasting ones were older and had been sitting in the freezer for while.

So now, no matter the brand (I've grown to like TillaMook Salted Caramel) I always look at the date on the box and find one that's closest to the current date. The quality is always better.

Doing this in spring is especially important, as a lot of ice cream may have been setting in the freezer for close to six months.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:06 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]

Put me down on the list of people for whom the perfect ice cream sandwich is rectangular, wrapped in paper, and has soggy/chewy chocolate wafers. These flashy "full cookie" sandwiches just aren't for me.

There's a local ice cream place near me that makes an "ice cream sando" flavor that uses the chocolate wafers mixed into it that is amazing. They know the truth.
posted by Zargon X at 6:11 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]

The best chipwich is the one that comes out of the freezer at the corner store. Context is everything.

The second best chipwich is the one manufactured by Mister Cookie Face Incorporated, because context is everything and hey, you might even get a free finger.
posted by phooky at 6:24 AM on May 15

The best chipwiches I ever had was purchased at a Cumberland Farms and made by some bakery in Vermont. I'd stop at that Cumby's on my way home from work and every Friday I'd treat myself with something from the freezer case. Over the course of two months I think I ate every one of the chipwiches there, but alas, they never restocked.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:42 AM on May 15

No mention of It's-Its?

Bon Apetit ranked them as the best cookie ice cream sandwich.
posted by vacapinta at 6:45 AM on May 15 [20 favorites]

In his later years my grandfather ate an ice cream sandwich (the cheap "chocolatey" wafer generic grocery store type, not the cloyingly sweet and vastly overrated Chipwich) almost every day until he died at age 90.
posted by xigxag at 6:45 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]

In the US there are two genres of ice cream sandwiches competing for your love. There are those which are essentially rectangles of ice cream caught between cakey, often mushy chocolate cookies. But in the test kitchen we prefer the other kind: vanilla ice cream layered between two chewy chocolate chip cookies.

I reject this false dichotomy and suggest the BA staff try an It's-It (and will die on the hill that oatmeal raisin, being far more flexible than a flour-based chocolate chip, is a superior sandwich cookie).

(on preview: seconding vacapinta!)

And created in 1928, the It's-It actually predates the wafer sandwich by a solid 17 years! Though it apparently loses out in primacy to graham cracker, sponge cake, and the OG sheets of paper as sandwich materials.
posted by the tartare yolk at 6:47 AM on May 15 [9 favorites]

The best "Ice Cream Sandwich" is the Waffles and Ice cream you find on the boardwalk at the Jersey shore. They are easy to make at home too, but be warned they are a calorie bomb!
posted by remo at 7:06 AM on May 15

Getting far afield from ice cream, I'm just now realizing that the texture on rectangular ice cream sandwich wafer is identical to my favorite Ice Box Cake, which uses refrigerated whipped cream in a much lower cream-to-wafer ratio. Apparently Nabisco no longer makes the chocolate wafer cookies which my grandma would use to make the cake, but surely there are substitutes out there. (Once I requested this cake for my birthday, and Mrs. HeroZero baked her own chocolate wafers for it. Sublime.)
posted by HeroZero at 7:09 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]

The spouse and I went through a whole bunch last summer and basically decided that the modern guar-based non-dairy frozen confection they're using really lets most of these down, and we had to either go to Dairy Queen (ironically, given their use of soft serve) or get the really fancy ones made at a local ice cream shop that get sold out of the tiniest chest freezer at the upscale grocer down the road.

Meanwhile, we're perfectly happy with the modernest of confectionary science's attacks on the chocolate wafer sandwich. As long as the wafers haven't turned into goo indistinguishable from the ice cream, we're happy with them. Eh.
posted by Kyol at 7:10 AM on May 15

The best version of the cookie-ice cream sandwich is the oatmeal butterscotch one from Ruby Jewel, and it is best consumed with a shot of bourbon at my favorite local bar, the one that reeks of fryer grease and always has Star Trek on the tv.
posted by Just the one swan, actually at 7:25 AM on May 15

Conan, what is best in life?!

"Crushing ice cream sandwiches into a bowl, adding sprinkles, and having moans of pleasure!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:27 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...the Wonder Wheel.

Inexpensive chipwiches are overpoweringly sweet for me, but lately I've been suffering from a severe vulnerability to the Oreo cookie version.
posted by praemunire at 7:39 AM on May 15

I just made my weekly Weds morning trip to Aldi (pro move fyi), and, spurred on by this thread, scored these Stroopwafel Ice Cream Sandwiches, which promise to be the best of both worlds, being fancy yet cheap, elegant but Aldi. I haven't tried them yet but I'm already beginning to regret only buying one box.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:45 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

The IT'S-IT is definitely the best mass produced ice cream sandwich I've ever had or heard of. The original versions use a crunchy, chewy oatmeal cookie that I remember as being slightly salty. And it doesn't get as soggy as most ice cream sandwiches cookies, and is less sweet than a chocolate chip cookie sandwich.

They are different to the point that you might not want to eat them as cookies on their own because they'd probably be kind of bland or too chewy, not unlike, say, cheap store brand oatmeal cookies of the kind you find them on the same shelf as cheap wafer and creme sandwich cookies. (But better than that.)

I'm pretty sure they over-bake or maybe double-bake the cookies so they're slightly burnt to give them that nutty, caramel flavor and make them tougher and more resistant to getting soggy, and there's a serious amount of whole rolled oats in them almost like it's a granola bar.

But they still are a huge mess to eat, especially since they dip them in a chocolate shell.

I haven't had one in ages but eating them takes some skill because you have to kind of gnaw off the quite durable edges of the cookie on either side as you go, because if you just try to chomp through them like a lesser soggy wafer ice cream sandwich you're just going to make the ice cream squish out everywhere.

But like a really good cheeseburger they'll hold together till the very end and the best bites are often the last few bites.
posted by loquacious at 7:57 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

Sadly, there is no more choco taco so any question of its sandwich state is moot.
posted by atomicstone at 8:17 AM on May 15

Chocolate chips are too hard at room temp, and frozen, are just waxy lumps. Except for Graeter's ice cream, which must use some kind of fudge, because the chocolate chunks are perfect. I friend's Mom made homemade ice cream bars and I've never had better.
posted by theora55 at 8:17 AM on May 15

Somehow, to hold a competition for best Ice Cream sandwich without at least including the classic chocolate wafer rectangle just seems misguided. Part of the experience of eating an ICS is having the wafer stick to your fingers, which seldom happens with a chipwich type ICS.
I prefer peanut butter cookies anyway, but that's the beauty of it all. Eat what you like.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:21 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]

Richmond was one known for Eskimo Pie ice cream bars, but now we’re all about Nightingale.
posted by emelenjr at 9:07 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

It's-It getting shortchanged by not even appearing on the list!
posted by Carillon at 9:13 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

A fresh cookie sandwich from a restaurant if they got the stuff and will make it for you is really good. None of the shit that comes frozen is any good. In the off chance it has real ice cream, it doesn't, that just can't happen in 2024. On top of that the cookies they use are overly sweet engineered abominations that do their job of sitting above and below white goop and nothing else.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:15 AM on May 15

anymore i think we're a bunch of olds in rocking chairs gnawing on grass stems. is anyone on this webbed site under thirty srsly?
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:19 AM on May 15

Carillon, I was thinking the same. There is no better cookie-based ice cream sandwich than an It's-It. I suppose they didn't include it because of the oatmeal cookie makeup rather than chocolate chip. Still.

Anyway, the best cookie-based ice cream sandwich I ever encountered was when I was having the most terrible day at work and had walked over to the food trucks near the museum for a break. I saw the Coolhaus truck and decided, "THAT IS MY LUNCH" and it was perfect. I'm not going to sully that memory by trying the mass-market version.
posted by queensissy at 9:47 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

These chocolate chip cookie sandwiches just feel kinda gross to me. I'm not a fan of "soft" cookies full of preservatives and that's all I can imagine those cookies tasting and feelinglike.

I just had a creole cream cheese ice cream po-boy (which is shaped nothing like an actual po-boy, but is locally made) and it was delightful. In part because of this post. So thanks for that!
posted by egypturnash at 11:16 AM on May 15

I hosted a lunch for my staff today. I usually discuss the menu with my assistant before hand, but this time I left everything to her discretion (or, possibly, I forgot we’d discussed it). Anyway, I was surprised by the pleasant spread she’d ordered, got a plate, went back later to look at the desserts only to find ice cream sandwiches! Realizing that my fate had been assured, I ate one. It was pretty good, all things considered.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:48 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

Motherfuckers act like they forgot It's It.
posted by tovarisch at 11:50 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

The It's It factory in Burlingame bakes the cookies for the Chips-It ice cream sandwich. The slow morning traffic on 101 North to San Francisco is vastly improved by the wafting scent of fresh cookies.

They also make the Big Daddy traditional ice cream wafer sandwich.

Claire Saffitz shares her brownie ice cream sandwich recipe video.
posted by JDC8 at 12:46 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

I've got a place two blocks away from where I live that will heat up any of like 9 different cookies in a convection oven and make you an ice cream sandwich out of them. It's-it is arguably better although I don't recall liking their chocolate chip version.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:29 PM on May 15

I was pleased to discover recently that my local grocery store carries boxes of miniature It's-Its, which clock in at only 170 cal per, a much more reasonable size for some of us. At $7 for a box of 6, it's definitely worth it.
posted by suelac at 4:35 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]

"Toothsome" means "delicious" and has nothing to do with describing texture or structure. (It is the taste equivalent of the way a beautiful sight is said to be "pleasing to the eye" which does not describe a literal orbital sensation akin to medicated eyedrops.)

Surely a writer for Bon Appétit should know that. If you're gonna right a highbrow review, get your highfalutin language right.
posted by desuetude at 5:33 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

I love the Trader Joe's ice cream sandwiches; they've never fallen apart on me. I look forward to seeking out the ones ranked even higher.

The It's-It is solid, but I was just chatting about it with some other locals (one had taken their kids to the factory) and for all of us it was more a matter of regional pride than true brilliance. At the perfect temperature, the oatmeal cookies in it are excellent, but outside that range it's a little wobbly, and very prone to just fly apart when you take a bite. And the chocolate on the outside, while genius in theory, does mean your hands get all chocolate-y. Will that stop me from picking up the occasional mini-pack? No it won't.
posted by mark k at 7:38 PM on May 15

It's-its are the only ones to displace the Chipwich in my personal favorites list, and I've eaten a LOT of both. Going to need to try that 7-11 one, though most imitation Chipwiches have fallen very far short.
posted by bashos_frog at 10:10 PM on May 15

I've never heard of the It's-It prior to this post!

But I love the chocolate wafer style of ice cream sandwich; the ones by So Delicious that have coconutmilk ice cream and are slightly smaller than standard are especially good.

On the other hand, I've never had an ice cream sandwich I hated more than the Trader Joe's knockoff of the Chipwich, featured in the article. It's awful, disgusting, too sweet, can't finish it, ugh. Name brand Chipwich is a-ok.
posted by verbminx at 1:05 AM on May 16

When I was in second grade in 1973, we could buy ice cream in the school cafeteria and while the options were limited to dixie cups, fudgesicles, parfaits, and ice cream sandwiches, it was the latter two that were the best of the best.

Me and some of my friends would have contests where we would stick our front teeth into the ice cream and see how long we could hold them there before the pain took over.

Turns out there was discussion on AskMe on how to make these.

You can also try this Serious Eats recipe.
posted by plinth at 8:11 AM on May 17 [1 favorite]

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