Crunchtime’s cookies and cream sandwich
5157 College Avenue, Suite B, San Diego
1038 Garnet Avenue, San Diego
Summer has the Kellys exploring the boom in gourmet ice cream sandwiches. “We are baking cookies all day long, so that we can serve you the absolutely freshest, warmest cookie for your custom ice cream sandwich,” said Sam Malas, co-owner (with his brother Abdul) of Cream (two locations, Pacific Beach and SDSU). “We keep baking until one hour before closing. Our flavors include chocolate chip walnut, snickerdoodle, and the tuxedo, which is a double chocolate cookie with white chocolate chips. We make gluten free cookies: chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, or double chocolate chip. And we have a vegan cookie. It’s tricky to make a good vegan cookie, since they contain no animal products. We offer a banana walnut with chocolate chips; the banana helps keep it soft.”
Cream’s ice cream “is made just for us, from our recipes, in San Francisco. We change flavors seasonally. Cinnamon chill is very popular right now. We also offer a soy blueberry ice cream, soy mint chip, and soy vanilla.”
Customers can mix and match any cookie flavor and ice cream for $2.99. Toppings are $.50 extra. “We have a big selection. We crush our own Oreos for the Oreo topping, and we source our gummi bears from a particular place, and use a spoon to press them into the ice cream. Customers tell us how good those gummi bears are.”
611 K Street, San Diego
Fresh is also a key component at Crunchtime in the Gaslamp (619-338-0048). “Everything is made from scratch right here,” said owner David Pinkney. “We make the cookies and we make the ice cream. We use fresh berries, and we don’t use any dye. We make it every one to three days; during Comic-Con, we made it every hour. Cookies are baked every three hours. Our most popular sandwich is cookies and cookies and cream: vanilla ice cream mixed with Oreos and sandwiched between two brownie cookies. But I like butter pecan between chocolate chip.” Sandwiches are $6.75 for a full, $4 for kid-sized. “A full sandwich is pretty big, three inches high and six inches across.”
4516 Mission Boulevard, Suite C, San Diego
7610 Via Campanile #142, Carlsbad
“All our cookies are baked fresh daily from scratch,” said Shane Stanger, owner of Baked Bear Custom Ice Cream Sandwiches (four locations around San Diego). “We use original recipes. Our coookie of the month is mocha almond fudge. For the fudge component, we underbake brownies, break them into little bits, and mix that into the cookie dough. Another popular cookie is cookies and cream; it’s an Oreo cheesecake cookie. We also have gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and regular brownies.”
To make a sandwich, you pick your top cookie — or brownie, or donut(!) — and your bottom cookie, then select one of their 12 ice cream flavors (plus soy vanilla). “For now, we buy our ice cream, but we’re in the process of having our recipes produced offsite just for us.” Customer favorites include “mint chip, vanilla, and cookies and cream. My personal favorite is peanut butter fudge ice cream between two brownies. Then you pick a topping, things like caramel, mini M&Ms, or sprinkles. Finally, if you like, we can warm it up for you in a hot press machine. It gets really hot for just a short time, which makes the cookie on the outside warm but keeps the ice cream in the middle from melting.” Sandwiches are $3.25 for cookies, $4.25 for brownies and donuts, and $3.70 for a mix-and-match.
Blush’s ice cream sandwiches
4817 Convoy Street, San Diego
At Blush Desserts in Kearny Mesa (858-505-9498), ice cream sandwiches are served on macaron cookies, said owner and head baker Mai Thuong. “Macarons are very different from macaroons. A macaron is an almond cookie, made with whipped egg whites and sugar. They are light, crisp on the outside, and slightly chewy on the inside. We have 100 flavors of macarons in the book, including traditional ones like chocolate, pistachio, and strawberry. But we’re known for flavors such as Fruity Pebbles, churros, s’mores, and Captain Crunch. Customers pick the cookie and the ice cream, and we’ve seen some really adventurous creations. Our most popular sandwich has Fruity Pebbles macarons with either vanilla, green tea, or strawberry cheesecake ice cream. We get our ice cream from Thrifty, which is, in my opinion, the best ice cream in the world, because I grew up on it. But we hope to make our own in the future.” All sandwiches are $5.