Looking for a quick and easy dessert to dazzle your guests? Or maybe you have a giant sweet tooth like me and are searching for that perfect after-dinner treat to satisfy that sugary craving. If you haven’t tasted an affogato, you’re in for a simple and decadent surprise.
Affogato means “drowned” in Italian. This version (al caffe) means ice cream drowned in espresso. I absolutely love this simple dessert, it’s refreshing and comforting – kind of a like a grown up milkshake or coffee ice cream float!
The best way to prepare this dessert is to buy a high quality ice cream or gelato. Here in Texas, our favorite is Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream. We think it’s the best kind of ice cream around. I like to scoop a large, generous scoop of ice cream into a clear dish or clear coffee mug so that you can see the contrast of ice cream swirling with the hot espresso. Usually working ahead of time, I fill the dishes or cups with ice cream and return them to the freezer so that they are frozen to a firm consistency and the dish is chilled as well.
We have a Keurig single serve coffee brewer, so I use Timothy’s Rainforest Espresso Extra Bold K-cups and brew them on the 4 oz size and select the “strong” feature on my brewer. You can brew these into heat-proof cups or glasses and serve them to your guests in two parts, showing them how to create the affogato by pouring the hot espresso over their ice cream, or you can pour the freshly brewed, hot espresso over each dish and quickly serve them to your guests. Either way, they should be served immediately and without delay because you don’t want all of the ice cream to be melted. I like to serve them with a few Biscoff cookies on the side. My other favorite cookie to serve with this is Pepperidge Farm’s Pirouette Chocolate Hazelnut Rolled Wafers. Serve affogato with a spoon so that your guests can dive in and scoop up the ice cream before it all melts away.
There are many variations: flavored espressos over vanilla ice cream; chocolate ice cream for a “mocha affogato”; my favorite variation is using salted caramel swirl ice cream or dulce de leche ice cream – – talk about decadent! Other variations include your favorite liqueur. Good combinations are: Sambuca, Amaretto, Baileys, Frangelico, Tia Maria or Kahlua liqueur.
Affogato al Caffe
- 2 pints vanilla ice cream
- 6 4 oz cups freshly brewed hot espresso
- Garnish: Shaved dark chocolate optional
- At least 1-hour ahead, divide generous ice cream scoops into 6 dessert bowls or coffee cups. Place back into freezer to firm up and chill dishes completely.
- Shave dark chocolate for garnish, cover and set aside in a cool place.
- Immediately before serving, brew 6 (4 oz) cups espresso
- Pour 4 oz of espresso over each dish, quickly garnish with chocolate shavings and serve right away.
- If you are using liqueur, drizzle a small amount into each dish before garnishing with chocolate.
- Serve with Biscoff or Pirouette cookies on the side.