Simple, Classic Affogato

Friends, I am HOOKED. Absolutely hooked on this simple, classic affogato. Because something this simple to make should NOT taste this amazing.

This is an overhead picture of simple, classic affogato

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Hear me out. The key to amazing affogato is in the quality of the three ingredients involved. So, between the gelato/ice cream, the espresso, and the amaretto, the quality of the ingredients will determine whether you have meh affogato or OMG AFFOGATO.

And if I’m eating affogato, I want OMG AFFOGATO.

I have tested affogato numerous times over the past few weeks. Needless to say, I… have not been sleeping much lately. Because espresso. Because hooked. Because I love y’all.

You’re welcome.

What is Affogato?

Affogato is an absolutly delectable Italian dessert that has three simple ingredients: incredible gelato or ice cream, a shot of good espresso, and (if the kids aren’t eating it) a shot of Amaretto. It is so satisfying because it sings so many beautiful dessert notes. It is sweet without being cloying, boozy without being intoxicating* (unless you indulge in many of them…which is an actual threat), and the sweetly bitter flavor of the espresso balances perfectly all of it.

This is a picture of simple, classic affogato

My mother always wanted a “little something sweet” after a meal. Something she could make quickly that would be absolutely satisfying. If she was a coffee drinker, I am sure that affogato would have been at the top of her list.

The simplicity of this dessert cannot be overstated. But it is precisely because of that simplicity that you want to use absolutely incredible ingredients.

Simple, Classic Affogato Ingredients

Have I stressed enough that there are only three ingredients in this dessert? They are:

  • Gelato/Ice Cream
  • Good Espresso
  • (Optional) Amaretto

If you want to get really jazzy, you can add chocolate shavings, crumbled amaretto cookies, or even raspberries.

Frankly, that’s just an additional step that I’m usually too lazy to take when I’m trying to get to affogato. So, I usually dispense with it, even though I can imagine how wonderful it might be. You, however, are welcome to try the toppings and report back with your findings.

The Gelato/Ice Cream

This is where I’m going to frustrate you just a tad. Because if you don’t start with good gelato or ice cream, you’ve failed before you even start. However, you know I’ve got you! With this recipe, you’re getting an absolutely incredible recipe for my favorite no-churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. It’s the perfect base for this dessert. I am currently a vanilla bean fiend, Friends. I cannot get enough of any dessert that features this special ingredient.

I hear-tell that my Salted Caramel No-Churn Ice Cream works wonders in this Simple, Classic Affogato as well. Feel free to try it and report back!

How to Make the Ice Cream

To make the ice cream, First, you just have to take out the ingredients: heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, kosher salt, and a vanilla bean. That is…truly it.

This is a picture of vanilla bean ice cream

Combine the sweetened condensed milk and kosher salt in a medium bowl. Mix to combine completely and set aside.

This is a picture of an ice cream base

Place the cold heavy cream into a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Carefully cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the vanilla beans. Add the vanilla beans to the cold heavy cream and whip the cold heavy cream to stiff peaks. It is incredibly easy to whip heavy cream into whipped cream; it typically takes 5-7 minutes with a hand mixer, and 3-4 minutes with a stand mixer.

We add the vanilla beans to the heavy cream to make sure that we get great distribution in our finished ice cream. Vanilla beans have a tendency to clump a bit, so adding them to the heavy cream prior to the whipping process gives them an opportunity to distribute beautifully throughout the finished ice cream.

This is a picture of whipped cream

Once the whipped cream is complete, place half of the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk mixture and fold gently to combine. I don’t completely combine the two mixtures at this point; it’s kind of lumpy like an old futon when I move onto the next step.

Add the sweetened condensed milk mixture back into the whipped cream mixture and fold gently until smooth. Place the ice cream into a chilled 9″x5″ loaf pan and chill for 4-6 hours.

After the ice cream has set, you’re ready to make this simple, classic affogato.

Congratulations, the wait is over! It’s time for good stuff!

This is a picture of completed vanilla bean ice cream

To Make this Simple, Classic Affogato

Once the ice cream is set, you’re all set to make this “lil’ something sweet” for a perfect after dinner treat! And remember, you need three ingredients: ice cream/gelato, espresso, and Amaretto. Dassit.

This is a picture of affogato ingredients

To build this dessert, first add a generous scoop of the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream to a mug or tempered glass jar. Next, add a generous shot of espresso (I like Illy for this dessert because of its commercial availability, but you can absolutely get espresso from your local Italian market), and (if you’re feeling daring) another generous shot of amaretto.

Eat this dessert just like this, or top with my friend’s favorite: crumbled Amaretto biscuits. Either way, your eyes will roll all the way to the back of your head in pure pleasure. Eat it immediately, but make sure to savor every bite. The espresso will melt the ice cream, and you will get to drink the last part of this dessert. It is truly a sensory miracle.

This is a picture of vanilla bean ice cream and illy espresso

This is one for the books, Friends, and it is incredibly easy to execute! I hope you absolutely love it as much as I do!

Until next time!

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Simple, Classic Affogato

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This dessert has no business being this simple and this delicious.  It’s the perfect dessert to accompany a delicious meal, and it takes only a few minutes and a few ingredients to make!



For the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

500 g heavy whipping cream, chilled

397 g sweetened condensed milk (one 14-oz can)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 vanilla bean

For the Affogato:

1.5 scoops Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

1 shot fresh brewed espresso

1 shot Amaretto (optional)


To Make the Ice Cream:

  1. Add the sweetened condensed milk and kosher salt to a medium bowl.  Combine completely.
  2. Add the heavy whipping cream to a large bowl. Carefully cut the vanilla bean pod lengthwise and scrape all of the vanilla beans out of the vanilla bean pod.  Add the vanilla beans to the heavy whipping cream.    Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks.
  3. Place half of the whipped cream into the bowl with the sweetened condensed milk mixture.  Fold gently until a few lumps and bumps remain.  
  4. Add all of the sweetened condensed/whipped cream mixture to the first bowl that contains the second half of the whipped cream.  Fold gently until the mixture is completely smooth.
  5. Add the vanilla bean ice cream mixture to a chilled 9”x5” loaf pan or ice cream storage container (like this one from Tovolo).  
  6. Allow to chill in the freezer for at least six hours before devouring.  This is the most difficult part.
  7. You’re now ready to make affogato!

To Make Simple, Classic Affogato:

  1. Prepare your espresso.  My favorite stovetop espresso maker is the classic Bialetti.
  2. Add a generous scoop of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream to a mug or heat-proof glass jar.
  3. Add a generous shot of espresso to the ice cream.  Measure with your heart (but remember that you’ll have to sleep eventually).
  4. If you’d like, you can add a generous shot of Amaretto to the top of this dessert.  I find that this step takes this dessert over the top in decadence.
  5. Either top with amaretto biscuits, chocolate shavings, or even raspberries, or eat right away.  Either way, this will be one of your favorite desserts.
  6. This dessert is really meant to be savored; the ice cream will likely melt before you finish eating it.  In that case, enjoy the melted ice cream/espresso/amaretto mixture that is at the bottom of your cup.
  • Author: Shani


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