Chill Out! / 42 chilly treats for summer's hottest days
Slurp, gulp and guzzle — there really isn’t a wrong way to devour sweet, summer snacks. We’re not here to tell you how, but rather where to find the coolest, kid-friendly places all over Dallas-Fort Worth, serving up everything from ice cream BURRR-itos to snow cones. Grab a spoon, straw and family-size stack of napkins, and finish out your summer vacation with the inside scoop on these 42 chilly treats.
It’s safe to say that cookies and ice cream is a match made in heaven. Enjoy the marriage of cold and soft crunch with a Tiffwich ice cream sandwich at Tiff’s Treats. Your choice of two warm cookies is served up with a scoop of vanilla Blue Bunny Ice Cream in the middle. Keep it classic and go for a chocolate chip or sugar — or branch out and try our favorite, white chocolate chip and almond.
The West won us over with the introduction of CoolHaus to Dallas-Fort Worth in 2012. The “architecturally-inspired” sammie shop hails from the sunshine state, and has now blessed Dallas-Fort Worth with a mobile version of their out-of-the-box ice cream cookie sandwiches. Choose from uncommon cookie flavors such as peanut butter captain crunch, s’mores and potato chip. Next, complete the cold sandwich with a scoop of atypical ice cream. (Think: Nutella, chicken and waffle or candied bacon.) Visit their website or follow @coolhausdfw on Twitter for daily menus and details on the truck’s location.
DFW Area, 972/897-6198
Call us crazy, but we don’t think you’ve lived until you’ve tried two heaping scoops of green tea ice cream atop a crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside green tea waffle. At Café Brown Sugar in Carrollton, get your fix with the green tea ice cream waffle. A perfectly prepared green tea waffle is topped with fresh fruit, chocolate syrup and green tea ice cream, creating a melt-in-your-mouth combination of flavors and textures. Plan a second trip back to try a macaron ice cream sandwich. Kids can choose from a variety of confection colors before adding vanilla, mint chocolate chip or cookies and cream ice cream.
Mixing breakfast with dessert is always a good idea in our book, especially at Glazed Donut Works. Vanilla bean bourbon ice cream, from Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream in Plano, is paired with your choice of doughnut to create the sandwich you’ve been looking for. (Pssst: experts recommend a vanilla bean, Saigon cinnamon sugar or chocolate flavored donut.) Switch things up and make it a la mode with a fritter or old-fashioned. Get it while it’s hot … and cold.
The use of local ingredients at Joy Macarons is only one of the reasons we’re frequent buyers. The other? Ice cream Sammys. Prepare your taste buds for a French macaron ice cream sandwiches in a variety of rotating flavors such as dulce de leche, mint chip or hibiscus lemonade sorbet.
Pokey O’s Cookies & Ice Cream truly takes ice cream sandwiches to a whole new level. Sandwich your favorite flavor of ice cream from one of five different brands between your choice of 13 fresh-baked cookies. Follow our lead and keep things simple by sandwiching vanilla ice cream from local creamery Oak Farms between two chocolate chip cookies, or create your own concoction. Whatever you do, keep napkins on hand.
Tarrant County, 817/385-9562
Everything about Melt Ice Creams screams local, down to the innovative ingredients sourced from area artisans, such as Dude, Sweet Chocolate and The Black Rooster Bakery. But what’s really turning heads at the bright yellow brick and mortar shop? Taco Tuesdays. Feast on a taco shell-shaped waffle cone featuring two scoops of your favorite flavor and three in-house made toppings. Small batches of rotating flavors like Lemon “Bae”-sil and Nector of the Gods mean you’ll want to keep tabs on what they’re serving via Facebook. Bonus: vegan options.
Fort Worth, 817/886-8365
The smell of homemade cookies at Sweet Sammies in Fort Worth is enough to lure in customers from a mile away. But it’s the luxury of being able to choose from 12 different types of Blue Bunny Ice Cream to put between cookies that’s made us frequent customers. We’ll take one macadamia nut cookie with banana split ice cream for the road. Did we mention that brownie bowls are an option?
Fort Worth, 817/332-0022
We had no idea that frozen treats were so versatile until we found Rita’s. Choose from classic Italian ice, gelati (layered Italian ice and frozen custard), Misto (blended Italian ice and frozen custard) and many more crafty concoctions. We’re crazy about the custard cookie sandwiches made with either classic chocolate chip or Oreo cookie wafers. Add sprinkles and chocolate chips — and voilà. Product availability varies by location.
OK, so you’ve heard of the ice cream sandwich. But Ben and Jerry’s is taking this cold kid-favorite to new heights and has introduced the BRRR-ito. Picture this: two scoops of your favorite flavor of ice cream, fudge drizzle and cookie crumbs, all encased in a soft waffle wrap. Cue the violins while we eat this treat with two hands.
Highland Village, 972/966-2697
Scoops We Scream For
The Thai-inspired newcomer Chills 360 rolls out some of the best creamy confections in Dallas … literally. For an experience your kiddos can watch from start to finish, hop in line at the Deep Ellum storefront. The made-to-order treat (that means no added preservatives or stabilizers) starts as a liquid custard base poured onto the freezing metal countertop, where mix-ins like strawberries, pretzels and Oreos are added. Then, the employee will write your child’s name in chocolate or caramel sauce across the thinly spread mixture before using a spatula to pry the ice cream off the counter in rolls (think scrolls, not scoops). Yeah, it’s pretty cool.
iCream Cafe is the new ice cream of the future. Choose the ingredients in your ice cream, yogurt, sorbet, shake or hot pudding and watch as a computer adds just the right amount of liquid nitrogen to make it creamy, and give kids a smoke-filled show. There are lactose-free, almond, soy and coconut milk options, as well as honey and agave sweeteners. Be on the lookout for rotating and off-the menu toppings including Girl Scout cookies, burnt sugar and pumpkin. You may laugh when you order “That Guy From Florida” but the mix of white chocolate and cream soda flavors with Nutella is no joke.
Don’t let the digs fool you: Cow Tipping Creamery, the bright blue food truck permanently stationed in downtown Carrollton, serves up nothing less than gourmet confections. The stacker, their version of a sundae, layers homemade toppings (we’re talking Funfetti cake chunks, caramelized bananas, brown sugar hot fudge and more) between ribbons of soft serve like a parfait. Choose your own flavor combo, or pick from tried-and-true menu items like Death by Chocolate or Gimmie S’more. Enjoy your creations at the neighboring picnic tables or on benches around the square.
For a scoop (or two, or three) of homemade ice cream that’s also good for the community, stop by Howdy Homemade Ice Cream, where you’ll find a welcoming “HOWDY” sign on the wall and friendly service from employees with special needs. Classic flavors such as peanut butter chocolate, orange cream pop and nondairy sorbet come in a cone or cup with your choice of toppings. If you’re feeling adventurous, order the shop’s famous Dr Pepper Chocolate Chip. (We won’t tell you what to order, but you should know that the Dr Pepper Chocolate Chip is so beloved that it has a booth at the State Fair — high praise in the world of Dallas eats.)
What makes Epic Gelato so epic, you ask? Obviously the signature Donato — a gourmet doughnut filled with gelato, heated to ooey-gooey perfection and finished with Oreo pieces, chocolate sauce or another topping of your choice. But you can also opt for kid-size cups of housemade flavors such as hazelnut, toasted marshmallow and white chocolate fudge, as well as dairy-free offerings like peach, mango and sour cherry. Grab yourself an affogato (double espresso poured over gelato) and join your kiddos at the bar or a table in the sleek, modern space.
Flower Mound, 972/874-5678
An enormous tank of liquid nitrogen greets you when you walk in to SubZero Ice Cream & Yogurt, where your littles craft their own ice cream and watch it flash-freeze at minus 321 degrees. Let the kiddos take the reins as they choose their cream (vegan and nondairy are available for special diets), their flavor (strawberry, cinnamon, chocolate and more) and their mix-ins like peanut butter cups and raspberries before their concoctions turn super creamy beneath a fog of liquid nitrogen. Flavor combos seem infinite, but if you need a suggestion, try the founder’s favorite, Confetti Surprise: cake batter ice cream mixed with M&M’s, drizzled with caramel and served in a confetti waffle bowl.
Kate Weiser Chocolate is mainly known for artfully painted bonbons and truffles, delectable macarons and ice-cold frozen hot chocolates. During the summer, they add ice cream to their list of sweets. Stop by to try out flavors like salted caramel, key lime pie or malted mint. Follow the chocolatier on Instagram @kateweiserchocolate to catch a glimpse of future featured flavors.
What Frosty Drive N lacks in glamor, it makes up for in taste and old-school fun. Head to the 1950s dive (it’s been in operation since 1954) on the way home from the pool for jukebox tunes and cool treats: killer chocolate milkshakes, root beer floats made with homemade root beer and served in a frosted mug, or chocolate and vanilla swirl soft-serve in a cone. Order up front, then enjoy your frozen treats at a table outside.
Henry Gentry of Henry’s Homemade Ice Cream has been serving up the good stuff for over 20 years and — no surprise here — knows a thing or two about creating the perfect batch of ice cream. Henry’s supplies ice cream to restaurants all over Dallas-Fort Worth, but you can stop in their Plano retail store for a scoop (or two) in a dipped waffle cone. Ice cream is made with all-natural ingredients, and good luck settling on a flavor; there’s no shortage of options. Mint chocolate chip is a fan favorite, and we’ve heard coconut is the go-to for number 41 himself, Dirk Nowitski.
Looking for a change of pace for your palate? Old Town Creamery offers international ice cream flavors, such as falooda, paan and kulfi, making it a frequent stop for locals with faraway tastes. For kiddos with less exotic predilections, there are also quintessentially kid-friendly flavors like bubblegum, cotton candy or cookies and cream. Whatever scoop you choose, be sure to pair it with a dipped waffle or cake cone.
Coit Rd., Plano, 972/673-0285
N. Central Expy., Plano 972/424-0024
Keep a close eye on Sweet Firefly’s Facebook page; they announce secret flavors weekly (tip: you’ll need to remember the code word they share to order.) If the flavor of the week doesn’t strike your fancy, other Firefly favorites such as sea salt caramel, peanut butter and jelly and toasted coconut surely will. In addition to creative ice creams, Sweet Firefly serves up shaved ice year-round and classic candies like saltwater taffy. Expect to stay a while when you visit, the ice cream shop frequently plays host to local musicians.
We’ve been wild for Wild About Harry’s since the first time we tasted their sweet, cold custard. Made from Harry’s mom’s recipe, the creamy custard comes in twelve flavors daily by the scoop, blended into a shake or concrete or — our favorite presentation — served in a practically sinful sundae. Stop in and you just might find us chowing down on Harry’s Favorite, a sundae featuring two scoops of custard (can’t go wrong with vanilla) topped with hot fudge and Spanish peanuts.
Sure, you’ve had their cupcakes, but have you given Sprinkles Ice Cream a try? Stop by the Preston Center location for a perfectly portioned scoop of the good stuff. Order the kid’s scoop for a mini scoop of ice cream, perfect for a pint-sized sweet tooth. Flavors rotate daily, but we suggest shooting for a visit when salty caramel ice cream is served. Prepared with house made caramel and fleur de sel crystals, it’s sure to give almost any cupcake a run for its money.
Flavors change quicker than Texas weather at Milwaukee Joe’s Gourmet Ice Cream. Lucky for us, a monthly flavor forecast is available online and gives aficionados a look at each “flavor of the day.” Expect combinations from the Colleyville creamery like baklava (sweet cream ice cream, honey, walnuts and pecans) and snickerdoodle (cinnamon ice cream with snickerdoodle cookies).
Flower Mound, 469/464-3387
We’ve got a special place in our heart (err, mouth) for Curly’s Frozen Custard in Fort Worth. You and the kids will be lining up for seconds of the seasonal peach-flavored custard made with world-famous Parker County peaches from the Fort Worth Farmers Market. Patio picnic tables, Wi-Fi and a selection of Nathan’s Famous hot dogs make this joint a family favorite.
Fort Worth 817/763-8700
When it comes to food, it’s no secret that Italians know their way around a kitchen –especially Paciugo founder and North Texas resident Cristiana Ginatta. In the Grapevine shop, you’ll find traditional gelati and sorbetti made with fresh fruit and always, all-natural ingredients. Plus, the frozen treat has 70 percent less fat than ice cream. Need we say more? Go online before you visit to search mixtures by mood. We recommend the “adventurous” tab for a look at rotating, unconventional flavors such as campfire banana, maple and caramelized bacon, and black pepper olive oil.
When temperatures rise, you’ll find us with a sticky double scoop in hand at Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Soda Fountain. Follow the sweet scent of fresh-baked waffle cones in to one of their two locations, serving more than 60 handmade flavors daily. You can also find a mini Beth Marie’s ice cream parlor at the North Texas State Fair from August 21–29. At the Wind River Lane location, they’ll be dishing out dessert with a side of live, local music every Thursday night through August. Wherever you indulge, ask for the “Sundae of the Month,” featuring Funfetti cake and M&M ice cream.
W. Hickory, Denton, 940/384-1818
Wind River Ln., Denton, 940/591-1010
Head to HipPop for all-natural, fruit-based pops such as strawberry basil and milk-based flavors like toasted marshmallow — all made with filtered water, organic sugar and fruit juice. If you’re on the go, grab a mango slush for your little, and add in sweetened condensed milk or raspberry puree. And don’t worry about a sea of synthetic dyes in your child’s snow cone: In addition to traditional Hawaiian shaved ice, HipPop offers natural shaved ice flavored with real fruit puree and even ice cream add-ins — it’s everything good about summer in one bite.
Proper popsicle etiquette frowns on taking large bites out of the treat-on-a-stick. But with flavors such as strawberry shortcake and chocolate brownie cookie at Steel City Pops, we’re considering rewriting the rules. Whether you’re craving something crunchy, creamy or fruity, these organic paleta-style treats boast an artificial flavor-, color- and preservative-free rap sheet. Try the sweet tea flavor for a taste of the South.
The sibling-run, brightly decorated popsicle shop Encanto Pops combines incredibly fresh, natural ingredients with imaginative creativity and a Mexican flair. They keep it pretty simple with your choice of cream based (made with milk for creamy taste) or water based (icier texture) pops, but really mix it up with the inventive flavors. Stop by their Oak Cliff location to try chilled treats with flavors such as cookies and lime, Mexican chocolate, avocado with mango or cucumber lime jalapeño.
You may have seen MaxFrut’s whole-fruit, frozen bars popping up all over Dallas-Fort Worth. Wondering what the hype is all about? These gluten-free popsicles are crafted without artificial colors, flavors or juice sweeteners and are all less than 70 calories (goodbye guilty conscience.) Stop by the storefront outside their factory in Arlington for a taste of flavors including coconut water, lime and bumbleberry, or look for MaxFrut’s treats in freezers at Sunflower Shoppes in Colleyville and Fort Worth. Their products can also be found regularly at a cart in Klyde Warren Park. In the line of food trucks, look for their bright green umbrella.
By kid number two, most parents have mastered the art of the fast snack, which tackles maximum hunger with minimal mess. One stop at the brand new Berrynaked and everyone’s happy – especially you. (Kids won’t even notice that there are fruits and vegetables in these treats.) Choose from organic pops in signature, luxe and vitality flavors, as well as packaged squeezable purees for little ones.
The treats at Pop Star Handcrafted Popsicles were invented as an alternative to other artificially flavored, mass-produced items that dominate the dessert market. So, say sayonara to refined sugars with a lick of these all-natural treats, which are prepared in small batches using fresh fruit and organic evaporated cane juice. Popsicles come in fun flavors including watermelon, coconut lime and Madagascar vanilla.
You’ll find us feasting on the nonfat or low-fat options at Monster Yogurt while the kids are loading up on more toppings than they can count. Luckily, the multi-story Monster Cave makes the sugar rush a little easier to contain, no? Not to mention there’s a complimentary coffee bar to help parents keep up. (Donations are encouraged. Proceeds benefit local charities.) The Richardson location is certified kosher by a rabbi.
Don’t let the name fool you. Fro-Yo Cup in Arlington may seem like your run-of-the-mill frozen yogurt shop, but its interesting and ethnic menu items make it one-of-a-kind. Choose from 16 different flavors of frozen yogurt including lychee, mango or margarita or order a huge pile of shaved ice (served on a plate) in original, taro or green tea flavors. Top either dessert with mochi, boba, chopped fruit or candies before you battle for the last bite.
Shaved Ice Worth Slurping
Snoball Loco is North Texas’ newest snow cone truck — and viral internet sensation. Visit the stationary truck to see how traditional (and delicious) flavors such as strawberry, cherry and grape escalate to Instagram-worthy treats when topped with oodles of eye-catching sour candy. We recommend the MakAttack topping with your flavor of choice, which means you’ll get gummy worms, gumballs and lollipops popping out of your shaved ice. Another fan favorite is the MaddMatt, where blue coconut and skark’s blood flavors are decorated with shark gummies and Sour Patch Kids to look like a shark attack. Before you leave, grab a loyalty punch card (buy 10, get one free) and start munching toward your free snoball — trust us, it won’t take long. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 2–9pm.
Calling all pint-sized pirates. If you haven’t set sail for Scallywags in McKinney, you’re snow cone experience is seriously lacking. Choose from 64 flavors when you order at the window of this 24-foot, custom-built pirate ship. (Owner Steve Matzke says flavors like toasted coconut is how fans are formed.) Follow them on Facebook to learn about events including movie nights and doggie days.
Sno Gourmet Shaved Ice uses natural ingredients to craft some of their flavors, so you don’t need to stress about synthetic dyes in your kids’ shaved ice. Select from over 50 flavors and 20 toppings ranging from chopped strawberries to Sour Patch Kids, then enjoy your treats indoors at a red vinyl booth. Need a recommendation? Your kids will love the rainbow, an explosion of colors and flavors that will definitely dye their tongues. For Mom, we like the mango chamoyada, which comes with fresh fruit and a hit of chili pepper on top — it’s the perfect balance of sweet and spicy.
Everyone knows toppings are what make a snow cone stand out. At Rainbow Snow on Singleton Boulevard, toppings range from pickles to mangos. And if you really want to treat kids (and snap a post-worthy photo), order the Candyland, which comes topped with different rainbow candy pieces including gumballs, life savors a gummy octopus and more.
Bahama Bucks might already be on your radar, but did you know they offer sno2throw (snowballs) in Avalanche packs of 24 or 60? The product made the national menu after being requested by church youth groups in North Texas. Before you host a neighborhood snowball fight, cool down with a Sno (shaved ice) topped with more than 110 pure cane sugar flavors — all topped with tiny paper umbrellas. Ask for an extra shake of their signature sprinkles, designed specifically to stick to Sno.
SnoCo in Hurst prides itself on being much more than just a snow cone spot and, after ordering the frozen Sharkbite drink, we understand why. Homemade frozen lemonades, fresh fruit cups, funnel cakes and colorful themed drinks like the Frog in a Blender have us wondering why we haven’t visited sooner. For an extra “wow” factor, order the viper (topped with a large gummy snake) or ask about our favorite secret menu item — the Pina Colada Pineapple, which comes served in a fresh pineapple.
With two locations of Zach’s Shaved Ice, you’re never far from getting your snow cone fix in Denton. Don’t be afraid to order one of the 64 funky flavors such as “weird science” and “cry baby blue.” The “frog in a blender” may not be for the faint of heart, but kids get a kick out of its green outer color and red center. Stop by the Eagle location for clear, additive-free flavors like coconut.
McKinney St., Denton
Eagle Dr., Denton
Published August 2015; Updated July 2017