If there's one underappreciated course in the fast-food canon, it's dessert. It's as if the only people who acknowledge a good shake are suits who try to out-grip each other's hands in business meetings.
Despite being relegated to boring trade shows and the bottom-right corner of menu boards, frozen desserts deserve love too. We've already ranked the best fast-food burgers, fries, and overall desserts -- the time has come to taste-test the coolest dishes in the fast-food universe. Read on to learn who reigns supreme: Chick-fil-A, Wendy's, McDonald's, Sonic, Burger King, Dairy Queen, or In-N-Out.
7. McDonald's M&M McFlurry
Price: $1.59 (small)
Coldness: Not very cold at all, except for the M&M's which seemed frozen.
Strengths: Includes an innovative utensil that serves as both a spoon and straw.
Weaknesses: That innovative utensil doesn't work on small-sized McFlurries. Lacking in flavor. Scores very high on the throat-coat scale.
Tasting notes: When I was a kid, I would throw handfuls of M&M's in the snow, and they'd melt and turn the snow different colors. I mention this not to try and inspire a scene in Michel Gondry's next film, but rather because the same thing happened with the McFlurry. The M&M colors quickly dissolved into the creamy pool, coalescing into a sickly mauve hue. Perhaps the M&M coloring tainted the vanilla, but the McFlurry ended up tasting like absolutely nothing at all.
6. Wendy's Chocolate Frosty
Price: $1.69 (medium)
Coldness: Very, very cold. It numbs the back of your throat.
Strengths: Ability to pair with French fries. Slurpability.
Weaknesses: Low-quality chocolate.
Tasting notes: On the chocolate spectrum, the Wendy's Frosty lands somewhere between Hershey's Kiss and granola bar chocolate chip. It's still a satisfying taste, but authentic chocolate it is not. Texturally, the Frosty is basically a giant cup of soupy soft-serve.
5. In-N-Out's Neapolitan shake
Price: $2.15 (medium)
Coldness: Not very cold. You probably won't want this while the sun is up.
Strengths: Variety. Friendly service.
Weaknesses: Temperature, consistency, ball-hogging strawberry flavors, severe throat-coat.
Tasting notes: A fresh Nea-swirl is a joy to look at, but as soon as it hits your mouth the first thought isn't sweetness, it's thickness. This shake is as thick as a "Yo' Mamma" joke. Texture aside, at first the triple threat of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors gracefully three-man weave like a well-oiled 7th grade basketball team, and, also like a high school basketball team, a star quickly emerges. That star is strawberry. After a dozen sips, the strawberry overpowers all the other flavors, and you're essentially drinking a strawberry shake.
4. Chick-fil-A Cookie Sundae
Coldness: I don't know if "heartfreeze" is a thing, but this caused it.
Strengths: It's a sundae!
Weaknesses: No single ingredient is strong enough to stand on its own.
Tasting notes: The Chick-fil-A cows might be adorable mascots, but they don't get off that easy. Chick's got dairy on the menu in the form a sundae speckled by corners of cookie. The cherry's got a tart bite that brings to mind maraschinos, but not really fruit. Regardless, it's on top, and you'll be happy it's there. The chocolate fudge is more bitter than I'd like, but it adds a crucial bit of complexity to the mountain of soft-serve.
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