Our dessert decree: Frozen confections are an indulgence that should extend into adulthood. And we don’t mean ice cream sundaes—a relatively grown-up treat—we mean those foil- and plastic-wrapped goodies stored deep in the freezer at the corner bodega. So we tasted and tasted, and split into Klondike versus Drumstick and Welch’s versus Dreyer’s factions—only to finally agree on one thing: While arguing, our ice cream was melting.
1. Grape Fruit Juice Bars. A frozen pop’s true purpose in life is to quench and refresh, and Welch’s has that down. These bars are grapy, not too sweet, and just addictive enough that you might want more than one.
2. Soft Frozen Limeade Cherry & Limonada. Take a perfectly blended virgin margarita, add some cherry, and freeze. Hello, Limonada, nice to see you.
3. Big Stick Cherry/Pineapple. Sure, cherry and pineapple were last seen hanging out together in an upside-down cake at a ’70s cakewalk, but this pop melts evenly and slowly so you can enjoy its fruity refreshment.
4. Creamsicle. This is arguably the ultimate cold treat: a thin, crackly layer of frozen juice encasing vanilla ice cream. While there was consensus that it had a place on this list, there was dissent surrounding how to eat it. Some bite it off in big shards, while others diligently lick it until it dissolves into nothingness.
5. Fudgsicle. Frozen pudding is as close to genius as a frozen treat will ever come. For chocoholics, this is the definitive frozen delight, providing the indulgence of a chocolate bar in a cold format.
6. Ice Cream Sandwich. This is a perfect example of elementary-school physics: It morphs from a solid mass to a molten mess (in a good way) until it evaporates, leaving you scraping damp cookie remnants off your fingers.
7. Chipwich. We’d like to think that a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich is pretty self-explanatory, but many versions out there seriously lack an adequate amount of one or more key ingredients. Not the case with the Chipwich. It’s got respectable cookies and a nice creamy ice cream, but the real seller is the ring of mini chips that surrounds the perimeter of the ice cream.
8. Vanilla Fudge Drumstick. The name conjures up poultry rather than frozen goodness, but we’ll let that slide, since the Drumstick compensates in the taste department. This is quite possibly dessert engineering perfection, balancing salty, sweet, creamy, and crunchy. But we were really won over by the chocolate-lined cone and the nub of chocolate that sits at the bottom—making for the best last bite in frozen confection history.
9. Butterfinger Bar. This is the best ice cream rendition of a candy bar that we’ve tried. You can just imagine Bart and Homer Simpson fighting over this one to the death; it’s just as good as a frozen Butterfinger, yet you don’t risk breaking a tooth.
10. NASCAR Bar. It’s true, we poked fun at Mario Batali when he came out with a NASCAR cookbook, but we now see the light. The NASCAR Bar—the only thing by Klondike that we liked—mixes caramel ice cream, caramel, and a chocolate wafer all covered in peanuts and chocolate. Who knew stock car racing could inspire such sweetness?