The last few years have seen ice cream go epic, from pretzel cones:
and doughnut stack:
and cookie dough sandwiches.
What’s next, ice cream that doesn’t melt? That’s in the works, too.
In the meantime, we round up the wild ice cream vessels – some new, some must-try if you haven’t already – we’ll be getting our hands around the next heat wave that rolls around.
In the age of ‘will form cone, use for ice cream’, bubble waffles could take out this year’s people’s choice – Instagram boasts well over 100,000 posts and it’s popped up pretty much worldwide. Variously known as puffles, eggettes and egg waffles, the bulbous casing, traditionally separated into individual cakes known as gai daan jai and savoured as sweet street food in Hong Kong, is left whole – much like a sheet of bubble wrap.
Crisp on the outside, chewy-on-the-inside and often flavoured with matcha to black sesame, they’re also bedecked in poki sticks, ice cream roses and sprinkles, making them even more pic-friendly.
Another classic Asian dessert reimagined as an eye-catching home for ice cream, taiyaki hails from Japan. The adorable fish-shaped cakes – even the most hardened soul will cave at the sight of them – had been a local favourite for near 100 years, before enterprising US vendors, first in SF, then NYC and now worldwide, began filling their gullets with dramatic two-tone soft serve.
Good looks aside, taiyaki 2.0 is lined with traditional red bean paste and served warm for a beguiling medley of textures, temperatures and flavours.
Neon churros bowls
These days, ice cream loaded into chimney and churros cones is quotidian. But deep-fried, deep purple ube and red velvet churros domes?
Californian ice cream parlour Nitrolado takes it up a notch with these near-neon-coloured bowls, served as a vessel or cap on a cone. Then another; once it’s filled with gelato, it’s finished off with bright fruit pebbles or mist-like liquid nitrogen, for even more Insta drama.
Cronut inventor Dominique Ansel’s creativity shows no limits, even with the ice-cold stuff. First there was the frozen s’more, then burrata soft serve and the protypical soft serve taco. This year, he debuted the What-A-Melon – a stunning wedge of fresh watermelon filled with watermelon soft serve and finished off with chocolate ‘seeds’.
At the Tokyo offshoot to the original NYC store, chargrilled corn is topped with sweet caramel corn soft serve, complete, of course, with a cob handle and ribbon husks.
In this column, Dessert Date, I scour bakeries, patisseries and dessert joints from around the world for the hottest sweet trends, up-and-coming ingredients and game-changing pastry techniques.