There are many ways to incorporate coffee into a tasty snack or a sweet treat, but one of the most delicious is affogato. The Italian dessert is not the most complex thing you will make for an after-dinner snack, but it is one of the most scrumptious. Just a few easy steps and you’re on your way to a great Italian coffee dessert.
Affogato, which means “drowned” in Italian, is an Italian dessert recipe that is typically made by topping off a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream with a shot of hot espresso coffee. That unique combination creates a frothy mixture of hot and cold that melts down into one of the most delicious beverages you will ever have.
There are only two ingredients in affogato: coffee and ice cream/gelato. The hot and cold combination of those two substances, combined with the simple set up, makes the dish easy to build. You do not need to spend a lot of time laboring over a complex affogato recipe. Rather, the steps outlined below will allow you to make a quick, easy, and delicious coffee dessert that doesn’t eat into your day.
Creating the Perfect Affogato
To begin building your affogato, you want to take two small scoops of coffee, chocolate, or vanilla ice cream/gelato (you can simply pick your favorite flavor, but the subtler profile, the better) and place them in a bowl or cup. Then, you want to pour either a shot of hot espresso or 3 tablespoons of strong brewed coffee over the cream to create a milky moat around your scoops. Once you’ve combined the coffee and ice cream or gelato, you’re done.
That is the base of this tantalizing dessert, and all you need in order to enjoy affogato. However, if you want to add some extra flavors or spice it up, you can. Adding some dark chocolate shavings (made with a block of chocolate and a cheese grater) on top of the ice cream does a nice job of complementing the coffee flavor. Chopped hazelnuts also help to give it a nice crunch, and a pinch of sea salt on top is a popular option that helps bring out the natural sweetness.
Whatever you choose, as long as you have your ice cream and your coffee, you will be good to go.
Extra Tips to Enhancing Your Affogato
As simple as the above recipe is, there are some subtleties you want to understand when making it. In terms of measurements, it is best to use roughly 1 ounce of hot espresso for every scoop of ice cream. That will make it so you don’t overwhelm the ice cream and take away the flavor. This is supposed to be a sweet mingling of coffee and ice cream, and you need to make sure one doesn’t overpower the other.
Another way to enhance your affogato is to chill your glass or bowl before serving. That will keep the ice cream cold so that it won’t completely melt when you pour the coffee in. You want some of the cream to break down, but you don’t want to lose all of it right away.
It is also important to make the coffee right before serving you affogato. The hot and cold contrast is what makes this coffee dessert so tasty, and you want it to be as fresh as possible. Serving an old or lukewarm beverage can detract from the eating experience.
Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with your dessert. Affogato is delicious on its own, but adding in some extra flavors can go a long way. Just as with sprinkling hazelnuts or sea salt over the top, spicing it up with drinks like bourbon, or crumbling biscotti into it can also enrich the entire dish. Just try not to get too complicated. Affogato is inherently a simple dessert. One or two extra toppings should be more than enough.
A Tasty Italian Coffee Dessert
You now have all you need to make the perfect affogato. Espresso over ice cream may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of coffee, but there are few things so simple and so elegant as this.
Affogato can be enjoyed during the hot days of summer, but it also makes a great after dinner treat during the colder months. While most people view affogato strictly as a dessert, it can also be taken as a beverage. That means you do not always need to wait until after your meal to enjoy the delicious treat.
As long as you have the main ingredients, and as long as you follow the helpful tips outlined above, you can enjoy affogato whenever you want.