Candied Hazelnut Affogato

Need a simple dessert after those big holiday meals? Try a scoop of coffee ice cream, a shot of frothy espresso and a Pirouline cookie. Dress it up with candied hazelnuts- because you’re so fancy.

a glass with ice cream and cookies
This refreshing dessert is the perfect treat after a large holiday meal

After a large meal around the holidays, a refreshing dessert of poached fruit or simple ice cream often fits the bill. Hunky Hubbie and I enjoyed affogato in Chicago last June at the wonderful Italian restaurant, Coco Pazzo. The last thing I want to wrestle when entertaining is a cumbersome dessert and although this Affogato has a few moving parts, a well planned and executed dining plan, will result in a stellar treat.

To make this a pain-free dessert, I first scoop out the gelato and keep the serving dishes in the freezer . I make the hazelnuts a day or two before serving Be careful not to eat them all – they are delicious and a very addictive snack. Make pot of espresso and keep warm. Just before serving, froth the espresso and pour over the ice cream or gelatto.

This is dramatic to do tableside.

Sprinkle with the hazelnuts and serve with the cookie. Any type of crunchy cookie will work- I love the Pirouline, but try a wedge of shortbread, biscotti, or an Italian sandwich cookie like Baci di Dama. I like to crush a few of the hazelnuts and “dust” the ice cream with it for different textures throughout the recipe.

a glass of coffee ice cream, scoops of ice cream and nuts
elegant and easy

Ice Cream or Gelato?

I love gelato, especially coffee flavor, but ice cream works beautifully. Do not pick a flavor that competes too much with the espresso. Vanilla, coffee, hazelnut even banana are ideal. Avoid ice cream flavors like strawberry, chocolate mint or peppermint.

a glass with ice cream and cookies

Candied Hazelnut Affogato

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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 347kcal


for the candied hazelnuts

  • 2 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 TBSP water
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

for the affogato

  • 2 cups vanilla gelato or ice cream
  • 8 oz hot espresso
  • 4 pirouline cookies


To make the hazelnuts

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. On a sheet pan, place raw hazelnuts. Roast until browned and fragrant- about 8-10 minutes. Place warm hazelnuts in a clean dry dish towels and rub vigorously until the skins peel off. Set aside.
    A pan of hazelnuts
  • In a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring water to a simmer, add in sugar and salt. take care to remove any sugar from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush. Bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved- about 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, gently add in hazelnuts and stir to coat. Remove from heat. Using the same slotted spoon, place the hazelnuts on a rimmed sheet pan lined with parchment paper (I just use the pan for easy cleanup). Roast in an oven for 5-6 minutes until golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and let the nuts cool completely. Place in an airtight container until ready to serve.

To assemble the Affogato


  • Try using different kinds of cookies for your dessert.
  • Be bold with your flavor choices- try toffee ice cream or banana gelato
  • Scoop out the ice cream in advance for an easier assembly when having guests over
  • Nutrition

    Calories: 347kcal
    A glass of ice cream
    crunchy hazelnuts and crisp cookies are the perfect garnish
    A pan of simmering water and a scoop of sugar
    Make a simple syrup

    Try these other cool desserts:

    A frother whipping coffee
    Froth the coffee for maximum flair

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    1. Tracey Lupin says:

      Made this for a last minute dinner party. could not have been easier. Just bought candied nuts. It is so decadent, but at the same time, really light and refreshing. took 5 minutes to pull together.