It’s a strange season in the Bay Area, with many people either traveling elsewhere or holed up with omicron variants at home. But if you’re still craving a taste of summer, how about a classic treat: A perfect ice cream sandwich, that’s just the right petite size, stacked with golden chocolate chip cookies, and smooth white vanilla ice cream. Get a grip on the award-winning, best-selling ice cream sandwiches from Drops of Dough. Which aren’t just cute! They won the award for best new frozen dessert in the country, according to the Specialty Food Association. And they fly off the shelves at Erewhon, the hottest grocery store in LA, as popularized by TikTok. (Impressive, considering they’re definitely not kale chips.)
“It’s so fun to watch reactions, because people will literally look stunned for a few seconds,” says co-founder Erin Aliaga. “Then they say, ‘That’s the best ice cream sandwich I’ve ever had.’ And not one or two people. Like 80 percent of people.”
Drops of Dough launched with frozen cookie dough in fall 2019, and introduced the ice cream sandwiches in spring 2020. They’re known for cookie dough for a cause — Aliaga spent years perfecting the recipe, and today she and business partner Cameron Hecht donate 5 percent of sales to pediatric cancer research. Aliaga says she wanted to add ice cream sandwiches as a fun seasonal item, for the summer months when customers might not want to flip on an oven. Hecht was dubious — while ice cream sandwiches are fun to eat, they’re a process to assemble. But the sales took off, and the ladies are currently installing a 30-square-foot freezer in their production kitchen in San Mateo, in order to keep up with demand.
Upon closer inspection, these ice cream sandwiches are smaller in size, a petite 2½ inches in diameter, an easy three or four bites. So kids can grab one, adults could snag two, and nothing goes to waste. They’re largely made with local and organic ingredients, including Guittard chocolate chips. The ice cream is a clean, crisp, and bright white vanilla, which the ladies are working on making themselves, but for now they’re sourcing it locally. They’re particular about the ratio, matching the thickness of the cookies with the thickness of the ice cream. They refuse to use their snickerdoodle dough for that reason — as cinnamony as it may be, it’s a little too thick. And the cookies have to be perfectly baked, not too soft, and not too brittle, for just the right tooth-sinking texture.
The most popular flavor by far is — you guessed it — classic chocolate chip. Aliaga says that’s the only flavor her four boys will eat, and two of them are pitching in this summer, working ice cream sandwich assembly and delivery. Her personal favorite is the birthday cake, rocking colorful sprinkles without chemicals. The oatmeal chocolate chip may bring back memories of an It’s-It — the most iconic ice cream sandwich of the Bay Area, although it definitely has a different ingredients list. Drops of Dough ice cream sandwiches come by the tub, if you’d like two, three, or seven. But the variety box of 21 slides and stacks well in the freezer, if you’d like to stock up for summer, or flip open the lid at a party, for a gasp of surprise and delight. “[People get] so excited,” Aliaga says. “And because of the size, they’re not going to say no. There’s a different flavor for everyone. Everyone’s happy.”
Drops of Dough is available through Pastel, so the ice cream sandwiches can roll to your neighborhood for pickup throughout the Bay Area.