The PoMo staff’s ardent feelings for 180’s crisp, hot, feather-light Spanish xurros are well-documented. We gave the fried dough sticks the title of “Best Dessert of 2016,” after all. But the cafe, which is owned by Ataula’s Cristina Baéz and Jose Chesa with David Martin, recently managed to find a way to improve on the original: they added ice cream to the mix.
The result: a crunchy, drippy, cinnamon-sugar sweet stunner that tastes like the refined, international cousin of an Oregon State Fair midway treat. In other words: xurro ice cream sandwiches are awesome.
“I wanted to make xurro ice cream sandwiches for a year. It took so, so much testing to get it right,” says 180's Baéz proudly. She was determined to craft the sandwich cookies with the cafe’s signature xurro dough rather than using a more traditional pate de choux or chocolate chipper.
Eventually the crew settled on a fairly laborious system where they coil the xurro dough into little discs by hand, carefully fry them to order, and toss with cinnamon and sugar. Only then are the xurro “cookies” allowed to meet their creamy life partners. You can choose 180’s rich house vanilla or Cocanú chocolate ice cream. Or, through the end of the cafe’s August ice cream pop-up, a handful of Salt & Straw flavors (the Coava Coffee & Cocanú Craque flavor is real nice).
Fancy ice cream sandwiches are tricky buggers: freeze ‘em too long, and you’re biting through a concrete-hard puck into a teeth-punishing cream tundra. Warm ‘em up, and it's all soggy crumbs and icy goo. 180 has found a great workaround: those crisp xurros pinwheels end up tasting like an accordion-folded elephant ear, with a massive rippling crunch that holds up to any scoop of ice cream.
The only downside to warm, freshly fried xurro ice cream sandwiches is, unsurprisingly, the drip factor. 180 serves the treats ($5.25 each) in a paper bowl for a reason—they only last a minute or three before melting into sweet soup bobbing with fried dough discs. That means you effectively have to shotgun the dessert in order to get the full crunchy-smooshy-creamy effect. You will not look good doing this. And you will not care…
You should probably just order a second one in order to practice your technique.