Ice cream sandwiches are a staple dessert item. They have recently been showing up more and more on dessert menus, as well as Instagram feeds across the nation. The beloved ice cream cookie sandwich has been done again and again, and while we can't go wrong with a classic, the cookies are finally getting some competition. Here are nine places with ambitious creations that have drastically  overshadowed the traditional ice cream sandwich. These fancy treats give us reason to believe that ice cream sandwiches might just be better without the cookies. 

1. MILK: Los Angeles, CA

MILK, located in LA, trades in cookies for macarons to create this spectacular looking dessert. While there are other ice cream shops that have opted for the macaron ice cream sandwich, none do it quite like MILK, which churns out a multitude of homemade, inventive ice cream flavors daily. Check out some of their fall flavors—pumpkin chocolate chip, black sesame, and caramel apple, just to name a few.

2. MAD Social: Chicago, IL

Ordinary cookies definitely do not compare to the giant, deep-fried, cinnamon sugar waffles that MAD Social in Chicago uses to hold together scoops of their homemade gelato. These massive treats completely change the ice cream sandwich game. The waffles even made it onto Eater's 2016 list of the 100 best breakfast/brunch dishes in Chicago, so you know they're legit. 

3. Birthdae Cake: Fountain Valley, CA

Everyone knows that the best part about baking cookies is eating the raw dough before it even gets into the oven. Birthdae Cake knows what's up, and capitalizes on this by sandwiching their ice cream in between homemade, edible cookie dough. The result? Perfectly square, beautifully colored ice cream sandwiches like the one pictured above. 

4. Dulcinea: Brooklyn, NY

This Oreo-Churro ice cream sandwich with Nutella looks like something from a dream, but luckily, Dulcinea has made this a reality. The pastry shop specializing in homemade churros made their debut at the largest weekly open-air food market in America this summer. They now have a permanent location at the Dekalb Market Hall in Brooklyn.

5. Tipsy Scoop: New York City, NY

Tipsy Scoop in NY already does one thing differently from most ice cream shops: they infuse all of their ice cream with alcohol. Keeping up their pattern of staying off the beaten path, they've revamped the typical ice cream sandwich by putting chocolate and vanilla ice cream in between two pretzel buns. They top it off with gummy cherries, chocolate sauce, and salted pretzels. 

6. Homeslice Wheel House: Chicago, IL

Homeslice may be known for its pizza, but their dessert menu should definitely not be overlooked—especially considering that it features these fruity pebble ice cream sandwiches. You can never go wrong combining breakfast and dessert staples, and since these have fruity pebbles on them, no one will judge you for eating the leftovers for breakfast the next morning, right?

7. Blackbird Doughnuts: Boston, MA

Blackbird Doughnuts is the only artisanal doughnut shop in Boston that bakes on site, so you know that these are extra fresh. Additionally, the donuts from this small Boston shop were put on a Zagat list for the 12 "must-try" donuts in the country. Put ice cream in the middle of them, and it's heavenly. The bottom line is that these donuts are the ideal backbone to any ice cream sandwich. 

8. François Payard Bakery: Greenwich Village, NY

For François Payard Bakery, basic looking ice cream sandwiches are far from acceptable. With a long pistachio macaron filled with raspberry and pistachio sorbet, this brightly colored treat is a fun and funky twist on your traditional ice cream sandwich. It's sure to look and taste like nothing you've ever had before.

9. CREAM: Palo Alto, CA

CREAM proudly serves brownie ice cream sandwiches covered in chocolate and sprinkles that look simply too good to pass up. Combining two dessert favorites into one, this treat is guaranteed to taste as good as it looks. And if these aren't extra enough for you, CREAM serves "do'sant" (their version of a croissant-doughnut) ice cream sandwiches, too. 

These nine places across the U.S. show that not only are cookies unnecessary to make a phenomenal ice cream sandwich, but that ice cream sandwiches may even be better without them. So think twice the next time you see a basic ice cream cookie sandwich on a menu, and don't allow yourself to settle for anything less than perfection.