Happy First Day of Fall! Can you believe it’s already here? Autumn’s arrival definitely snuck up this year, leaving me feeling slightly sad for missed opportunities to spend lazy days by the pool and evenings barbecuing with friends, but also hopeful and excited for crisp mornings, tall leather boots, and the twinkly magic of the holidays that are just around the corner.
While it may not feel like fall in many parts of the country (we’re expected to hit a whopping 97F here in Austin today) the calendar says it’s official, which is all the motivation I need to dust the cobwebs off of my collection of neglected cool-weather spices. In an effort to ease the transition from one season to the next, I’ve been craving recipes that highlight the best of both worlds. These affogatos are just that. They offer up the perfect contrast of cool, creamy ice cream in combination with sweet maple syrup and warm, spicy nutmeg. For those of us still straddling the line between bikinis and margaritas and sweaters and falling leaves, dessert has never been more simple or delicious.
At risk of offending Italian cuisine purists everywhere, these Maple Nutmeg Affogatos feature classic vanilla ice cream together with cold brew coffee that’s been laced with fall flavors instead of the more traditional shot of espresso. The cold brew not only makes the affogato attainable for those of us without espresso makers in our home kitchens, but also keeps things frosty just in case like me, you’re feeling fallish on the inside, but still wrestling with summer-like temps on the outside. Grate a little fresh nutmeg on top and the result is a mingling of creamy and cool, bitter and spicy to form what I can only describe as a more grown-up version of a root beer float.
In order to make up for my violation of one of Italy’s most simple and time-honored treats, I paired these affogatos with a classic amaretti cookie. Completely unadulterated and made with only 4 ingredients, these naturally gluten-free cookies are light, crunchy and bursting with almond flavor. Served alongside an affogato, or even just a simple cup of coffee, they’re perfect for dipping. Not a coffee drinker? Try them crumbled and sprinkled over ice cream. Enjoy!
For the affogatos:
- 4 oz. cold brew coffee
- 3-4 tablespoons grade B maple syrup, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring
- almond-flavored liqueur, optional
- vanilla ice cream
- nutmeg, freshly grated
For the amaretti cookies (small-batch recipe):
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more for dusting
- 13 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon almond flour
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
To make the affogatos:
- Combine cold brew coffee with maple syrup, maple flavoring, and almond-flavored liqueur (optional), adjusting to your desired sweetness.
- Scoop vanilla ice cream into chilled cocktail or dessert glasses.
- Pour cold brew mixture over the vanilla ice cream, dividing it evenly between the glasses, and grate nutmeg over the top. Serve immediately.
To make the amaretti cookies:
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the granulated sugar in a food processor and process on high until for about 30 seconds to make the texture more fine.
- Add in the almond flour and pulse to combine.
- Add in the egg white and almond extracts and pulse until a smooth dough forms.
- Scoop teaspoons of the dough onto the lined baking sheet and dust with more sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cookies have turned light brown. Turn off the heat, leaving the cookies to cool and crisp up in the oven for an additional 2 hours.