Cold Brew Affogato

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and one of our dear friends who is hosting her first "Friendsgiving," asked us recently for an easy dessert idea that could supplement all the pies that her nearest and dearest are bringing to her home. Since she will be handling the bulk of the meal prep, we wanted to give her a make-in advance idea that still had a bit of a wow factor when presented to the table. So we decided on affogato...with a California twist.

One of our favorite go-to desserts is the classic Italian affogato, which for those of you who are unfamiliar, is gelato that is submerged ("affogato" means "drowned" in Italian) in a shot of espresso. The hot bitter espresso melts the gelato a bit, and you are left with a creamy and delicious bowl of perfection.  

We decided to give ours a California spin by making it with cold brew coffee, instead of espresso. It's less bitter and acidic than its Italian cousin, and actually packs more caffeine per sip - which helps counter all that turkey tryptophan. 

Cold brew coffee has been the rage here in L.A. for a few years but it's becoming more mainstream. And you can see why! It's so easy to make and there truly is no better method for brewing iced coffee. 

Cold Brew Coffee Affogato

Makes about 32 oz. coffee, which is enough for 32 affogatos - but trust us, make it all and drink the rest! The only item you'll need that you may have to track down is some cheesecloth. 


3/4 cup coarsely ground coffee beans (we love the brand Lavazza but you can use whatever you prefer. Grind your coffee right before making this, if possible. )

4 cups water

vanilla gelato (about 6 oz. per person - our favorite supermarket brand is Talenti)

amaretti cookies (if desired - we prefer the crunchy variety on this)

Add your ground coffee to your container of choice - plastic, glass, ceramic - it doesn't matter. Just make sure it's deep enough to hold the water once you add it.

Gradually pour in the water and stir gently to ensure the coffee grounds are fully moistened. Cover the top with a piece of cheesecloth and let stand at room temperature for at least 12 hours. *Having made lots of cold brew coffee in my day, I cannot stress enough how important this step is - you cannot speed up the brewing process or you will be left with watery, tasteless coffee.

When ready to strain, remove the cheesecloth from the container and use it to line a fine mesh sieve. Pour the coffee through the lined sieve into whatever container you'll be storing your cold brew in (in this case, a nice pitcher if you're going to have it on your Thanksgiving table).

Store in the refrigerator until ready to use - it will last about two weeks if you don't end up drinking it all first.

To make the affogato, scoop two scoops of vanilla gelato into a small dish. A good tip is to pre-scoop right before your guests arrive and pop the bowls into the freezer. Pour about two tablespoons of the cold brew onto the gelato and if desired, top with some crumbled amaretti cookies. 

We love to pour the coffee tableside for more of a wow factor. 

Even though Thanksgiving is an American holiday, it is a celebration of food shared with the ones you love - what is more Italian than that?