The Guilty Pleasure: Gelato Panini Where to Get It: Cool Gelato Italiano, downtown Scottsdale Price: $4.50 What it Really Costs: Still on the low-carb bandwagon? You'll definitely have to sit this out.
My craving for a really good ice cream sandwich knows few bounds lately. Just last week I was over on the west side enjoying an ice cream macaron sandwich. Then, a friend told me about another creative ice cream sandwich, this one deep in the heart of Scottsdale.
Cool Gelato Italiano is already one of my favorite dessert stops in town. Their gelato is mind-blowing. The flavors are vibrant, and the texture is like frozen silk. Even better, the very Italian couple that runs the place is utterly charming.
When I go to Cool, I usually stick to straight gelato because it seems like any adornment to this Platonic ideal of frozen dessert is utterly superfluous. But then, if I didn't enjoy making things over the top, I wouldn't be writing a column about culinary guilty pleasures, would I?
Cool's take on the classic ice cream sandwich is one of the most novel that I've seen. Pretty much every other ice cream sandwich I've seen uses two cookies for sandwiching. At Cool, they make an actual sandwich by using a sweet brioche bun.
Even better, it's not just a sandwich. It's lightly toasted in a special sandwich press, making this a gelato panini.
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The warm brioche and cool gelato make for a very enjoyable contrast. It's even more grin-inducing than your average ice cream sandwich.
Part of the balance of a good ice cream sandwich is having an outside soft enough that when you bite into it, the insides don't squish their way out from where they should be. The brioche provides good structure, but is still soft and yielding as good ice cream sandwich outsides should be. Cool's gelato panini has a little squish action because the gelato is so soft, but the slight amount that happens is just the right amount of wrong, giving a little bit of gelato to take a sneaky lick in between sandwich bites.
The next time I go, I'm tempted to see if I can add a topping to the center of the sandwich. Forest berry gelato with some chocolate added sounds like a divine nibble while walking around the Scottsdale Mall greenbelt.