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Rollin' In (Cookie) Dough

By Wendy Soderburg '82

Published Oct 1, 2017 9:00 AM

For Adam Dahl, ice cream is more than just a sweet treat — it’s his business.


Photo by Dean Ishida.

Adam Dahl ’17 may be one of UCLA’s newest alumni, but he’s already ahead of the curve in being a businessman. Just two weeks after graduation, the founder/owner of Dahlicious Creamery brought the Thai rolled ice cream craze to his hometown of Torrance, Calif.

Lines flow out the door at Dahl’s shop, where you can order such frozen creations as “Red Head,” “Ballin’ on a Fudge It” and “Pardon My French Toast.” It’s the making of the ice cream, though, that’s a show in itself.


Photo by Michel Phiphak.

Employees begin by pouring a liquid ice cream base into a metal pan that has been chilled to minus-22 degrees Fahrenheit. Customers choose from a variety of mix-ins to be chopped into the ice cream. After the mixture hardens, employees use spatulas to scrape the ice cream into five separate rolls, which are then placed in a cup and topped with whatever the customer’s heart desires.

Dahl discovered rolled ice cream while on a visit to New York last year and was inspired to open an ice cream shop after standing in line for an ice cream sandwich at Diddy Riese Cookies in Westwood Village. A sociology major, Dahl says his minor in entrepreneurship helped him gain the skills and knowledge needed for his business venture. While he studied by day, Dahl worked at night on his shop, doing much of the construction himself.

Dahl creates his own ice cream with fresh ingredients and takes suggestions for new flavors. “I want it to be fun and innovative, always bringing in cool things,” he says. One of his most popular flavors? Bruin Batter, a blue vanilla with Oreos and cookie dough.

On Taco Tuesdays, the store offers waffle shells stuffed with rolled ice cream and toppings.

UCLA alum Adam Dahl rolls out the red carpet to his Dahlicious Creamery.

Regular customers know to get there early. On this sunny day in August, Coco Crockett, 15, and her mother, Brenda, have arrived at the shop by its noon opening. Coco happily digs into her “Galaxy Far, Far Away”: cake batter ice cream with sprinkles, Pop Rocks and a rock-candy stirrer.

“This is what she wanted to do for her birthday — she’s been planning it for weeks,” Brenda says. “She wanted to be here before the line formed. So we made it happen.”