Affogato is Italian for “drowned.” In this case, it is a scoop or two ice cream or gelato drowning in strongly brewed low-acid coffee. Though it can be a morning beverage in Italy, it is more often a dessert in the U.S.
This recipe is so simple that whenever you want, you can have a delicious vanilla affogato in less than 5 minutes. It can also save you $5 or more compared to ordering affogato at a coffee shop.
Ice Cream versus Gelato for Affogato
Ice cream and gelato are both sweetened dairy desserts, but they are different in the way they are made. Ice cream is higher in cream than gelato. During churning, more air gets added to the ice cream. Gelato does not melt as easily as ice cream. Using it in affogato will lead to a more distinct, longer-lasting scoop in the warm coffee. Ice cream melts faster. You can use either one in this recipe. It will come out great no matter what!
Variations on Vanilla Affogato
You can vary this recipe in many ways. Here are some ideas.
Using low-acid coffee, such as Alex’s Low-Acid Organic Coffee, can give it a smoother taste and also help you stick to a low-acid diet if you are on one, such as for acid reflux or heartburn.
Using plant-based ice cream, such as almond milk-based or coconut-based, instead of dairy ice cream or gelato.
Using another flavor of ice cream, such as coffee or chocolate, or having one scoop of each flavor in each serving. Pistachio is another option.
Spiking it, such as with amaretto or Irish cream.
Adding a pump or two of syrup, such as chocolate, mocha, hazelnut, or vanilla syrup.
Swapping cocoa powder for cinnamon powder.
Adding a maraschino cherry or some whipped cream when serving it.
You cannot go wrong with this recipe, so feel free to experiment with it however you like. You can serve it on its own, or serve it with fruit, such as strawberries, or with some simple cookies.
Preparing to Make Vanilla Affogato
For this recipe, you will need 2 espresso cups or coffee mugs. Each should be able to hold 8 ounces. You will also need to brew the coffee before assembling the affogato. You can do it ahead of time, or make it fresh right when you are making the recipe and preparing to serve it.