Epi Top Pick: Turkey Hill Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Sandwich ($3.99 for a box of six)
Pros: The creamy ice cream with real vanilla flavor and the moist, spongy cakelike cookie won raves from the testers. "The ice cream is so fluffy and smooth!" said one editor. "The vanilla specks are not just for show, the ice cream tastes like it's made with a real vanilla pod; very natural," said another.
Cons: Thin in comparison to other competitors.
Pros: All editors agreed that this ice cream sandwich's 2:1 ice cream–to-cookie ratio was just right. Tasters also loved the incredibly creamy, milky ice cream and the coffee bean color and cocoa flavor of the cookie. "A masterpiece," commented one editor.
Cons: Cookie is a bit dry, according to several judges.
Pros: This nondairy option was far more engaging than the other soy-based competitors. In addition to having a firm and dense filling, it actually tasted milky. The bars are also marketed as low-fat. "This one is my new go-to, even though I can eat dairy!" said one taster.
Cons: It's the most expensive of the winner's circle entries, and the filling has a slight eggnoglike taste.
The Other Contenders: The Bottom Three
Two out of the three nondairy varieties were voted the least favorite of all the sandwiches we tested. Soy Dream Lil' Dreamers had a grainy texture and tasted like edamame (soy beans). Tofutti Cuties' filling appeared foamy and had an off-putting orange tint.
Among the classic sandwiches, Dolly Madison's fared the worst: The ice cream was foamy and tasted artificial. The cookie was unimpressive—it tasted minty and like fake chocolate.