Doughnut mania in DC continues. With a number of doughnut and fried chicken operations popping up, the next doughnut-plus iteration was never far off, which, obviously, is the doughnut ice cream sandwich. Something like a brioche con gelato on steroids (particularly with Daikaya's iteration below), it's exactly what it sounds like: scoops of ice cream sandwiched between two doughnut halves.
The first to bring the doughnut ice cream sandwich to DC is Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken. Chef Jason Gehring starts with his prolific selection of rotating doughnut flavors—the only difference is the sandwich doughnuts are hole-less to minimize the mess—and combines them with ice cream from his newly launched house made ice cream program.
Gehring is being as varied with the sandwiches as he is with the standard doughnuts. Past flavors include crème brûlée (pastry cream based ice cream on a standard crème brûlée doughnut), pineapple ice cream on a coconut doughnut, pistachio ice cream on a chocolate doughnut, raspberry verbena ice cream on a passion fruit doughnut, and coconut ice cream on a chocolate doughnut. "I chose flavors that I enjoy," says Gehring, "and tried to incorporate sharp flavors like citrus, bittersweet chocolate, or the bitterness of the caramelized glaze, to balance the overall sweetness."
Each doughnut ice cream sandwich is $5.25 and we tried the coconut on chocolate and the passion fruit on crème brûlée (pictured above). The pairing of lighter citrus and fruit ice creams with sweet doughnuts mitigates the potential for the sandwiches being overly rich.
The second place to score one of these treats is at the house of chef Fukushima: Daikaya's izakaya. Ever finding new dishes to imbue with Japanese flavors, Fukushima gives his snack-sized doughnut ice cream sandwich a unique twist.
Taking a different approach than Astro, Fukushima's version is not house made but cobbled together from things he loves. Fukushima describes his inspiration simply as, "I love Krispy Kreme and I love ice cream sandwiches!" That means a grilled Krispy Kreme doughnut with ginger gelato and canned Japanese sweet red beans. Each doughnut is frozen then grilled, which imparts extra smoky flavor and "some bitterness from the burnt sugar, which is needed." Also $5.25 a pop, the subtle hint of Japanese flavors in Fukushima's doughnut ice cream sandwich is exactly what you'd expect at Daikaya. Fukushima also has a Pop Tart ice cream sandwich if that's more your speed.
If you want to try the latest in the doughnut innovation in DC, make your way to Astro or Daikaya soon. Both Gehring and Fukushima plan on playing with the concept and flavors in the future. Seen another doughnut ice cream sandwich in DC? Let us know about it the comments section below.