10 Over-the-Top Ice Cream Treats to Eat Now

Save room for one of these eye-popping creations, including a celebrity favorite that doesn't come cheap.

August 02, 2019
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Ice cream reigns as an annual summer pasttime, thanks in part to memories cemented in childhood. Since going mainstream in late 19th-century America, what started as a simple treat, often served in a cone or glass, has morphed into over-the-top ice cream creations. Today it's pretty easy to find massive milkshakes, supersized sundaes and creative cones. Here are 10 ice cream desserts that will please both your stomach and social media followers.

King Kong Sundae: Sugar Factory American Brasserie, multiple locations

Sugar Factory American Brasserie indeed lives up to the sugar in its name, and the chain’s extensive sweet-tooth temptations would make Willy Wonka proud. Particularly fun are its goblet-filled, candy-bedecked alcoholic drinks. But if you can stomach spending $100 on a single item and a group of friends who are willing to share (and split the bill), then the King Kong Sundae is what to order. (Quite a few celebs have been pictured with it.) This bad boy is what would result if you allowed kids to prepare dessert, as it involves 24 scoops of ice cream, rainbow lollipops, gummy bears, waffle cones, chocolate chip cookies, malt balls, brownie bites, toasted marshmallows, pretzels, a caramelized banana, candy necklace and more. Of course, this massive amount of perfection isn’t complete without sparklers.

Pink Flamingo Milkshake: JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, Palm Desert, CA

Oversize milkshakes loaded with toppings, also called freakshakes, have become a major trend in recent years after getting their start in Australia. For example, this behemoth flamingo drink consists of six scoops of strawberry ice cream served in a 40-ounce martini glass. Found at Rockwood Grill at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, this pink drink is a nod to JW’s Flamingo Island, home to a flamboyance (actual term) of Chilean flamingoes. In addition to a massive amount of ice cream, this milkshake is piled high with cotton candy, whipped cream, French macarons, doughnuts, chocolate-covered strawberries, strawberry lollipops and edible glitter (whew!) It can also be doctored with strawberry vodka, because, vacation. The best things in life are shared with others, and this entry is no exception.

Specialty Milkshakes: The Yard Milkshake Bar, multiple locations

The Yard Milkshake Bar can whip up about 20 eye-popping suggestions from its menu, each one demanding to be shared on social media. There’s the Doughnut Touch My Coffees and Cream, involving coffee ice cream piled high with coffee beans, crushed oreos, whipped cream and, of course, a doughnut. Among the other creative combos from this quickly growing Southern chain are Birthday Cake, decorated with a rainbow cupcake, and the Mermaid, liberally topped with marshmallow cream, rock candy stick and white chocolate mermaid tail. It’s also possible to customize these monster shakes if none of the existing offerings meet your sugar needs. But the ultimate experience would be to share the Build Your Own Shake Boss with at least three others, considering it’s a half-gallon behemoth made with two ice cream flavors, four conventional toppings and one show-stopper, like a mound of cotton candy fluff.

Gelato Sandwich: BomboBar, Chicago

Gelato is the Italian version of ice cream, a denser creation resulting from higher quantities of milk and less cream and fat. At Chicago’s popular BomboBar, customers line up for its Instagram-ready concoctions, like the hunger-inducing Gelato Sandwich. This beauty is a happy melding of homemade gelato stuffed into a bomboloni, a type of Italian doughnut. Choose a suggested combination from the menu or customize your own. Pictured here are bomboloni with cookie monster dough gelato, fruity pebbles and caramel drizzle (top) and mint oreo gelato, chocolate pretzels and chocolate drizzle (bottom). You may not want to wear your dressiest outfit while trying to consume these creations.

Unicorn Cotton Candy Tacos: Jake's Unlimited, Mesa, AZ

The unicorn trend is still going strong, and Jake’s Unlimited takes it to another place with Unicorn Cotton Candy Tacos. Less a restaurant and more of an indoor entertainment center with arcade games, laser tag, bumper cars and more, Jake’s is the perfect setting in which to devour this oversize pink dessert. The “taco shells” are made from homespun cotton candy, then filled with two cotton-candy-flavored ice cream scoops, before receiving a healthy dose of M&M’s, fruity cereal, whipped cream, chocolate syrup and a cherry for good measure. (It may be best to tackle any spinning rides beforehand.)

The Titantic: Carmine’s, multiple locations

Save room for dessert at Carmine’s, an Italian chain that started in NYC and can now be found everywhere from Las Vegas to the Bahamas. It’s known for huge portions, so save room for the aptly named Titanic dessert, and even then it might challenge a group of people to finish. That’s because this ginormous sundae consists of six scoops of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, wafer cookies, two caramelized bananas, strawberries, pineapple, hot fudge and whipped cream. Then again, nobody will blame you for skipping right to dessert. And $28.95 for a group to share isn’t terrible considering how much you’ll spend for the average artisanal ice cream cone.

Cake Shake: Public House, Chicago

We’re not done with milkshakes yet. This Cake Shake at Public House produces a boozy version combining ice cream and beer, and tops it off with a generous slice of homemade cake. Choose from Vanilla Stout or Chocolate Porter, depending on whether you’re team vanilla or chocolate. And since Public House is a beer hall, expect this delicious pairing to deliver more than a typical spiked milkshake. Also expect that the adults in your party will also want to try it.

Party Sundae: Sweet Rose Creamery, multiple locations

Sweet Rose Creamery has made a name for its organic, small-batch ice cream in flavors like Summer Corn and Rose Geranium. The California locations in Santa Monica and Los Angeles favor quality over wild creations, but they just introduced a new item that’s as yummy as it is picture-worthy. Enter the Party Sundae, an eight-scoop affair in a flavor of choice, festooned with homemade brownie bites, chocolate chip cookie chunks, marshmallows, hot fudge, whipped cream, cherries and more. Yes, it’s meant to be shared.

Unicorn Float: Taiyaki, multiple locations

Taiyaki literally means fried fish, but the term has become associated with fish-shaped cakes that are an integral part of Japanese culture. So the main attraction that keeps customers lining up outside the door at Taiyaki are the fish-shaped waffle cones filled with soft-serve ice cream. Flavors are limited, but matcha, vanilla, chocolate and mango are typically on hand. Toppings make this cute treat even more fun, like unicorn ears and a horn. (Just be careful trying to hold this in one hand while trying to take a picture with the other so that it doesn’t go splat.) Also guaranteed to turn heads? The Unicorn Float, involving a slushy of choice (like the popular lactose-free purple taro) served in a mini inflatable unicorn pool float. Insert unicorn and heart emojis here.

Dessert Platter: Novikov Miami, Miami

What’s impressive at Novikov Miami, a special-occasion Japanese/Chinese fusion restaurant that’s the first U.S. location outside of London, isn’t one particular ice cream dessert, but rather an entire tray. Meant to serve a minimum of four at $19 a person, this oversize platter comes with a variety of homemade ice creams and sorbets kept perfectly chilled on a bed of ice. The spread is also accompanied by dishes like Double Chocolate Lava Cake with ginger ice cream and Guava Cheesecake.

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