Blind tasting dessert-inspired ice creams in the Food & Wine test kitchen.
From classic cakes to salty caramels, many of this summer’s newest ice creams pay homage to our favorite desserts. Food & Wine editors sampled both nationally available and local artisanal brands to find out which dessert-inspired ice creams are best.
Top Pick: Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy
After developing a rabid fan base in scoop shops, this combination of chocolate ice cream, chocolate cookie chunks, and swirls of chocolate pudding is now available by the pint in supermarkets.
“Great deep chocolate flavor.” “ LOVE! So deeply chocolately, like the texture of the add-ins.” “Rich.” “Dark! Wow what great chocolate flavor. Divine #1.” “Nice density.” “Decadent.”
Related: Ice Cream Bonbons
Top Pick: Steve’s Southern Banana Pudding
The company credited with introducing mix-ins to ice cream circa 1973 recently changed hands and is now produced in Brooklyn, NY with Hudson Valley dairy. This blend of banana ice cream with vanilla wafer crust crumble is inspired by Pies-N-Thighs cult banana cream pie in Williamsburg and was Steve's first of a series of flavors co-branded with local businesses.
“Tastes like a banana milk shake. True banana, yummy.” “Very milky and creamy.” “This one really does taste like banana pudding.”
Three Twins Chocolate Orange Confetti
This west coast-based organic ice cream company developed a rich chocolate ice cream flavored with orange oil and flecked with intensely dark chocolate chips.
“If chocolate-orange is your thing, this one is very good. The chips melt in your mouth in a perfect way.” “Really strong orange flavor.” “Don’t care for the combo of orange and chocolate but it's not bad at all”
Breyer’s Blasts- Reese’s Chocolate
Creamy chocolate ice cream is the base for this ode to America’s favorite peanut butter cup. Alongside candy chunks, Reese’s filling is swirled throughout for an extra peanut butter fix.
“Wow great for the Reese’s peanut butter lovers.” “This is nice: rich and creamy.” “Great for what it is. I like the peanut butter cups but the ice cream could get monotonous quickly.” “So peanut buttery good–not crazy sweet, creamy, yum.”
Three Twins Sea Salted Caramel
Creating a caramel ice cream proved a challenge for founding Twin Neal Gottlieb. After being disappointed by the existing options, he worked with a caramel company to develop a flavor with every ingredient organic and easily pronounceable.
“Yummy flavor, like caramel milk.” “Don’t know what this is but the flavor is good.” “You can’t really taste the caramel but it’s got a good milky flavor.”
Chozen Chocolate Babka
Chozen’s ice cream flavors are inspired by the Jewish desserts Ronne Fischer and her daughters, Meredith Fisher and Isabelle Krishana, ate while growing up. The team uses family-recipes and NYC-area milk as the starting point for each new kosher flavor including the soon-to-be-released Chocolate Babka, which features vanilla ice cream, chocolate frosting swirls, and chunks of the spongy, brioche-like cake.
"So creamy. Love the chocolate and spice. Sweet but maybe my favorite.” “Nice texture.” “Interesting.” “Not terrible.” “Don’t care for this one.”
Van Leeuwen Salted Caramel with Buffalo Trace Bourbon
New York favorite Van Leeuwan ice cream decided to put their own spin on popular caramel ice cream this summer. Unsatisfied with only adding salt, which can seem overdone, the company collaborated with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, a dash of which adds richness of flavor to the sweet-salty treat.
“Buttery, nice bitterness.” “What is this?” “Like buttercream.” “Nondescript.” “Good flavor so-so texture.”
I Do Wedding Cake by Blue Bunny
Food Network’s Ace of Cakes may be cancelled, but now you can actually taste one of Duff Goldman’s creations thanks to his partnership with Blue Bunny ice cream. The flavors are, unsurprisingly, cake themed, like this offering with a buttercream frosting flavored ice cream base, white cake pieces, and ribbons of raspberry sauce.
“Really sweet berry flavor like Fruit Loops.” “Creamy and good. A bit too sweet but the cake tastes fresh.” “Dense ice cream, nice texture.” “Artificial.”