11 Innovative Ice Cream Ideas You Have to See to Believe

Summer scoops are easy-breezy—simply throw ‘em on a cone and get licking. But when the temperatures begin to drop, the ice cream bar is raised—and all sorts of mind-bending concoctions begin to emerge. If you want to just plain old forget that it’s sub zero outside, you can simply turn frozen custard into a booze delivery vehicleBut that’s just a warm up act. Bundle up for a blizzard of thaw-inspiring treats.

1. Some Like it Hot (and Cold at the Same Time)

Italian cuisine has given us Affogato—a scoop of ice cream with a shot of espresso poured over it (add amaretto to bump it up a notch). Get fancy with some whipped cream and chocolate shavings.


PHOTO: The Culinary Institute of America

2. High Tea

If coffee isn’t your thing, try an Affogato Matcha—just pour Matcha (powdered green tea) over green tea ice cream (just stir in a few teaspoons). 


PHOTO: Chauboyee

3. Float On

What screams winter more than a peppermint flavored scoop atop a cup of hot chocolate?


Check out the recipe/love letter for this yin-yang treat at Love Laugh Cook.

4. Crush it With Candy Canes

Give your sundae a seasonal twist with a sprinkle of peppermint.


This gorgeous creation complete with hot fudge and flavored with peppermint comes from Smitten Kitchen. But it would not be wrong to just turn some of your leftover candy canes into a garnish.

5. Give Snaps to Sandwiches

Swaddled between two gingersnap cookies, ice cream gets taken for a winter holiday spin.


Urban Bakes doubles down on the cold weather theme by using pumpkin flavored ice cream. But you don’t need to get so fancy—store bought gingersnaps and a pint of ice cream will be fabulous too.

6. Man Up!

Using gingerbread men raises the ice cream sammie cuteness quotient exponentially.


Photo: Taste of Home

Obviously you can do this with festive sugar cookies as well. It’s a great way to upcycle all the baked goods that flood your house during the holidays.

7.  Throw a Snowball Party

Featuring Snowball Martinis, of course.


PHOTO: A Subtle Revelry

These couldn’t be easier or more festive. To create: simply rub the rim of your glass with a lime, dip in a shallow bowl filled with sprinkles, sugar, or edible glitter, pour in a shot of vanilla vodka, a splash of tonic, and finish with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

8. Toss in these Snowballs too


Cute and Delicious makes these with dairy-free ice cream—but no worries for real ice cream lovers, the recipe works just as well for you.

9. Snow Made!


There is literally nothing that says winter more than ice cream made out of snow itself. Growing a Jeweled Rose has the super easy recipe. All you need is the right weather conditions and a shovel.

10. This is Your Ice Cream On Christmas


Photo: Breyers

Once you’ve got the basic ornament construction down (mini Reese’s and licorice whips) make them merry with sprinkles, tiny silver dragees, or even edible gold dust.

11. Get Really Baked Alaska

A tricked out ice cream cake that has achieved cult like status for not just being ridiculously delicious, but also improbable, gorgeous, dramatic, and endlessly customizable (it can be made with an infinite variety of ice creams and cake bases). It is the grand finale to any great occasion.


Whatever recipe you use, you will be baking freezing cold ice cream (in this case coffee) atop a round of cake (in this case chocolate), enrobed in an insulating blanket of meringue. It’s cold. It’s hot. It’s often served flaming. Head over to design*sponge for the recipe to make these individualized treats.


Photo: Sprinkle Bakes

Now go forth and flambé!