Affogato, the Adult Sundae


Photograph by Ditte Isager

We like an over-the-top finish as much as anyone, but on most nights our dessert prep goes like this: Pour a shot of espresso over vanilla gelato. Two ingredients. Three steps. The classic affogato--Italian for "drowned"--delivers effortless complexity: You get the hot mixing with the cold, the bitter with the sweet. And it's forgiving. Don't have an espresso maker? Any super-strong coffee will do, even decaf. No gelato? Ben & Jerry's works. If you feel compelled to dress it up, theaffogato will oblige. Try chocolate or dulce de leche ice cream; sprinkle chopped hazelnuts, cocoa powder, crumbled cookies, or demerara sugar on top. You can do pretty much anything you want. What you won't have to do is overthink dessert.