An affogato is a traditional Italian espresso-based dessert. The full name is really “affogato al cafe” or “drowned in coffee,” in Italian. The name really suits the dessert, as it consists of a scoop of ice cream/gelato with a shot of hot espresso poured over the top. I like the classics, so vanilla ice cream or gelato with strong espresso is always my default affogato, but it’s an easy dessert to dress up just by using a different flavor of ice cream. This Vanilla Caramel Affogato combines both vanilla and caramel with espresso – and it’s a great combination because the espresso cuts the sweetness of the caramel while the caramel brings out some of the burnt caramel sweetness of the espresso.
I used Breyer’s Vanilla and Caramel Gelato, which is a vanilla ice cream that is swirled with a generous amount of caramel sauce. It’s sweet, creamy and was a perfect fit for this dessert. Any caramel-swirled ice cream will work equally well, and you can make your own by simply adding some caramel sauce to your favorite brand of vanilla ice cream. Place a scoop of ice cream into a small bowl, top with espresso and your affogato is ready to eat.
Affogatos are easy to make one at a time, so they’re great when you want to treat yourself and don’t want to make a mess in the kitchen. You can also easily make them for a crowd by portioning out your ice cream scoops onto a baking sheet and freezing them in advance, then brewing a strong pot of coffee and just plating them all up in small cups when you’re ready to serve.
Vanilla Caramel Affogato
1 scoop vanilla caramel ice cream
or 1 scoop vanilla ice cream with 1-2 tbsp caramel sauce
1 espresso shot or 2 oz strong coffee
Place scoop of ice cream into a small dessert cup or bowl. Pour caramel sauce over the top of the ice cream, if using separate caramel sauce. Pour hot espresso shot over the top and serve immediately.