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What is an Affogato?

Vanilla Caramel Affogato
I’m a coffee lover and one of my favorite coffee-related indulgences is an affogato. An affogato is a treat that is made with just two ingredients: espresso and ice cream. The full name is “affogato al cafe,” which means “drowned in coffee” in Italian, so it should be no surprise to learn that this dessert is made by placing a scoop of gelato in a cup or small dish and pouring hot espresso over the top. It’s the Italian version of an ice cream float and it is absolutely delicious. The melted gelato sweetens and flavors the espresso, but there isn’t enough espresso to completely melt the frozen dessert, so you can still eat it with a spoon and get a bit of cold gelato and warm gelato/espresso “sauce” in every bite.

To make an affogato at home, you can use any flavor of ice cream and a shot of espresso. If you don’t have espresso, 1 1/2 – 2 oz of strong coffee will work almost as well. To fortify your coffee, you can stir a little bit of instant coffee or espresso powder (to taste) to enrich it and make a better contrast with the cold ice cream. You can’t go wrong with vanilla ice cream or gelato, but don’t hesitate to use ice cream that has a caramel swirl or chocolate chips in it. Coffee ice cream makes for a particularly intense affogato, while chocolate makes a more decadent dessert option.

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