Sweet Musings with a Bitterly Sharp Wit

Drowned in Cacao


Considering the thrilling news about my book and the rising temperatures outside, it’s no surprise that ice cream has been on my mind lately. Starting off the season on a high note with one of my personal favorites, an affogato is the perfect transitional dessert for a lingering spring with a few sudden heat waves thrown into the mix.

Classically prepared with vanilla ice cream, the frosty scoops are unceremoniously drowned in steaming hot espresso, mingling for those few fleeting seconds to create a sensation that vacillates between hot and cold, cold and hot, and finally hot once more. It’s the kind of dessert that you can’t get wrapped “to go” at a restaurant, that you can’t get prepackaged; it must be enjoyed immediately, but above all else, thoroughly. Perhaps I love it so much because it really forces you to be in the moment, rather than mindlessly munching on stray cake crumbs or a few leftover cookies. It’s more of an experience than dish, when you get right down to it.

Of course, I’m hardly the sort to do anything traditional when it comes to food, so my flavors vary as wildly as the weather. The only constant has been that strong, dark shot of espresso poured on top… Until I discovered there was such a thing as chocolate tea. Pacha provided me with the opportunity to sample their cacao infusions, providing the inspiration for my inverse affogato. Instead of pouring espresso on top, why not freeze it as the ice cream instead? Steeped for twice as long and at double-strength, the chocolatey brew marries harmoniously with the creamy coffee ice cream, giving life to a new mocha flavor, as delicate as it is complex.

If the world is not black and white, why should all affogato remain merely vanilla and espresso?

Inverse Affogato

Espresso Ice Cream:

1 Can (1 3/4 Cup) Full-Fat Coconut Milk
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Teaspoons Instant Espresso Powder or 1 Tablespoon Instant Coffee Powder
1 Tablespoon Arrowroot Powder
1/4 Cup Kahlua or Coffee Liqueur

To Serve:

Strong Brewed Cacao Tea, Hot

To make the ice cream, simply toss all of the ingredients except for the liqueur into a medium saucepan and whisk thoroughly. Make sure you break up any clumps before turning on the heat to medium. Whisk periodically until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook at a full boil for 2 additional minutes, and then remove the pan from the burner. Add in the liqueur last, stirring to incorporate. Let cool to room temperature and then chill thoroughly for at least 3 hours before churning in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once churned, transfer the fresh, soft ice cream into an air-tight container and stash it your freezer for at least 3 hours before serving.

To serve your affogato, simply scoop the ice cream into a heat-safe dish and pour as much of the hot cacao tea on top as desired. Eat immediately!

Makes About 1 – 1 1/2 Pints Ice Cream

Printable Recipe


Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

24 thoughts on “Drowned in Cacao

  1. That sounds perfect and as always your picture is stunning!


  2. This is the coolest recipe I’ve seen in a long time. It gives me even more reason to purchase an ice cream maker! Also congratulations on your success!


  3. This is such a clever recipe… creative and beautifully captured. You’re a star, Hannah. Seriously.


  4. I do the same thing, I don’t know why but I’m more than happy to stuff my face full of ice cream during winter. It’s just too good. My favourite is pistachio :)


  5. Wow, that sounds AMAZING. I love the picture, I can almost taste it through the screen. :)


  6. Chocolate tea is really a thing? And it’s poured on top of ice cream? Oh my gosh!


  7. Mmmh yummy recipe for the espresso ice! I’ll surely try it


  8. I can honestly say that I don’t know anybody who owns an ice cream maker. It’s not really a thing here in Poland. But now I’ll definitely look for one!


  9. Sounds divine! I have an ice cream maker as yet unused, so this sounds like the perfect way to get it into production!



  10. Drowned in cacao tea eh? “WHAT a way to go!” Oh YUMMO! I can’t wait to see if we get that cacao tea over here as bollocks to the expense, I will be buying some :) Sometimes you just have to suck it up and pay the ferryman if you want to experience some of life’s finest pleasures and you just waved a tantalising moment of prospective future bliss at me when coupled with your delectable frozen creation…look out summer 2014, here I come! (well, after we get winter 2014 and spring 2014 out of the way ;) )


    • You don’t need a fancy cacao tea blend to make it, though! I should have mentioned this earlier, but if you just toast 1/2 cup of cacao nibs before infusing them in about a quart of boiling water, you should get similarly tasty results. :)


      • I would toss in some tea leaves to get that lovely rich flavour added in to the mix. Delish! I just pinned it so I don’t forget it :)


  11. Chocolate tea?! That is so exciting! How have I never heard of this?


  12. Oh my! That ice cream looks utterly delicious! Loving the picture too, the hot cacao tea looks great! =)


  13. Congratulations on your book!!! The experience of eating this dessert sounds so interesting. I have never had anything like it bit can just imagine how wonderful the taste and texture experiences would bring to your mouth. Take Care, BAM


  14. Awesome idea and photos…thanks.


  15. Coffee ice cream is my absolute favourite – is there any way know to humanity that I can make it at home without an ice cream maker?


  16. Nothing beats coffee ice cream, but tea? what a great idea!


  17. Good HEAVENS, Hannah—you are a goddess. Holy moly… I just had breakfast (so, it’s 12:50 on a Sunday. Whatever) and I am dreaming of this ice cream. I drink three espressos a day; who said I couldn’t have one or two in the form of ice cream? Boom. Grazie! :-)


  18. I made your divine ice-cream & loved it so much! I served it without the tea because we can’t fine it cover here! I served it on a cone!


  19. Yummy espresso ice cream, I love your idea of putting cacao tea as the topping!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s