Given The Artist’s Italian heritage, passion for espresso, and penchant for all things Italian, it is no wonder that this Chocolate, Espresso, and Bourbon Affogato is one of his favorite desserts!
Affogato is the Italian name for desserts made with either ice cream or gelato and espresso. The coffee is poured over the top and it becomes something like an ice cream float.
If you use hot espresso, the ice cream melts almost instantly, turning this into more of a sweetened coffee drink, but The Artist prefers his with cold espresso, helping to slow the ice cream’s melting and giving him dessert he can linger over a bit longer after dinner.
I love it because I can have all the ingredients ready to go (set everything but the ice cream on a tray in the kitchen along with your dessert bowls and spoons) and can put these together while the dinner dishes are being cleared from the table!
Adding the chopped chocolate or chocolate chips adds a wonderful crunchy bite to an otherwise very soft, liquid dessert. Yet another reason to love chocolate!
While traditionally you use vanilla ice cream like I did today, you can use any flavor you like. Chocolate chip, mocha, or stracciatella gelato would be fun – hmmm I should have thought of that earlier! Of course, a deep dark chocolate ice cream would be a lovely indulgence, or any others that you think would go well with the espresso.
One thing I love about Chocolate Chip, Espresso, Bourbon Affogato is that you can make it in a snap and don’t have to worry about a fussy dessert! If you make yours with cold coffee, brew it early in the day, transfer to a measuring cup with a spout for easy pouring, and leave it at room temperature. It will be waiting for you whenever dinner is done and you’re ready to serve.
With children drinking coffee at increasingly younger and younger ages, this becomes less of an adult dessert and one for all ages. But if you are serving little ones, definitely leave out the liquor!
There are gluten-free bourbons and other alcohols on the market that are made without gluten grains, such as Hudson Bay Bourbon which is made from 100% corn. You can find lists of gluten-free alcohols here, here, and here. See my notes below in the Gluten-Free Tips section for more details.
Of course, you can be a purist and use just espresso and ice cream, but the addition of the bourbon makes this the perfect after dinner treat … at least according to The Artist! LOL We both loved this Chocolate Chip, Espresso, Bourbon Affogato and hope you will too!
By the way, aren’t these glass dessert cups adorable. They remind me so much of a set my grandmother and mother had. They were used for special occasions when I was young and I always loved the way they sparkled when the light hit them. I found these at a shop in Berkeley where they repurpose old items. I LOVE them!!
Happy Chocolate Monday!
How to make Chocolate, Espresso & Bourbon Affogato:
- Mix together the espresso and bourbon (if using)
- Place a scoop of ice cream in each dish
- Pour the espresso/bourbon mixture around the ice cream
- Sprinkle with a few chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
- Add a mint sprig and serve
Always place your bunch of mint (with freshly trimmed stems) in a glass of water, loosely cover with a plastic bag, and leave on the counter to keep it fresh longer. Then just pluck sprigs or leaves to use in any of your recipes or drinks.
My mother always planted her mint beneath the spigot for her watering hose. The inevitable dripping from the hose connection kept the mint happy and growing vigorously without much other watering. So clever!
Key Ingredients for this Recipe
- Brewed espresso or coffee, chilled
- Bourbon, optional
- Dark chocolate or mini chocolate chips
- Vanilla or chocolate ice cream or gelato
- Fresh mint sprigs
Kitchen Tools I Use to Make This Recipe (affiliate links)
Gluten from grain alcohol is reduced to below the 20-ppm limit during the distillation process, making virtually all alcohol gluten-free. However, some distillers add caramel coloring that may include gluten back into the liquor before bottling. It is always safest to check with the manufacturer to be certain.
If you are making this dessert for someone with celiac or highly reactive gluten-intolerance, you can either simply leave the bourbon out entirely, or use a combination of gluten-free vodka (look for those made from potatoes or apples, such as Blue Ice or Hudson Bay) combined with a little brown sugar. While not the same flavor as bourbon, it will give you the customary touch of sweetness and smoothness while remaining absolutely gluten-free.
- 1/2 cup chilled brewed espresso or coffee
- 1/4 cup bourbon, dark rum, or brandy (optional)
- Finely chopped semisweet chocolate or mini chocolate chips
- 1 pint vanilla or chocolate ice cream
- Fresh mint sprigs, for garnishing
- In a measuring cup with a spout, combine the espresso and bourbon. Set aside.
- Sprinkle some of the chocolate chips in the bottom of each dish. Equally divide the ice cream between 4 dessert bowls, using a small spring-loaded scoop.
- Pour the espresso and bourbon around the edges of the containers. Sprinkle some of the chopped chocolate or chips over the top and tuck in a mint sprig. Serve immediately.
Adapted from an Epicurious recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 704Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 47mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 4gSugar: 51gProtein: 4g
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This post was first shared in April 2017. The article was updated in 2020.