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Coffee? Good.

Ice cream? Is it even a question?

Put them together and call it something fancy? Genius.

But I have a confession to make: I don’t like coffee. Love the smell. Hate the taste.

That may seem like a problem, but I assure you, it’s not. Because when it comes to hot beverages that give you a buzz and bring you back to life, there is a next best thing: hot chocolate.

Throwing it back to its Italian roots, I decided to create a Hazelnut hot chocolate to really up the ante on my take on Affogato.

hot chocolate affogato

Hot Chocolate Affogato

Oh, and I made the whole thing vegan and refined sugar free, just so you could have an extra serving...or three.

You’re welcome.

This particular recipe makes 3 generous servings, so if you need to feed more of your friends, adjust accordingly.

A note about the milk: You can, of course, use any kind of milk, but if you’re going for the Italian flare, use Hazelnut.

Don’t feel like making your own? No problem. Grab your favorite brand from the store and save yourself some time. I usually like Elmhurst.

If you’re feeling as fancy as the title of this dessert, you can make your own milk. See the instructions that follow.

  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 3Servings


Hazelnut Milk

  • 1 cup organic Hazelnuts, soaked overnight in filtered water
  • 2 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 1 date, pitted (optional)

Hot Chocolate

  • 1 batch of homemade Hazelnut milk (or 2 cups of store bought)
  • 1 tablespoon of raw unsweetened cacao nibs
  • 1 tablespoon raw unsweetened cacao powder
  • 2 dates, pitted


  • 1 pint of your favorite vegan vanilla ice cream (or regular if you’re a fan of dairy). I like Coconut Bliss
  • ½ a 73-85% dark chocolate bar - shave ¼ of it, and break the other ¼ into 3 pieces
  • Optional garnishes: shaved chocolate, cacao nibs, raw cacao powder and roughly chopped hazelnuts


For the Hazelnut Milk

  1. Drain and rinse your soaked Hazelnuts and place in a blender with your date and 2 ½ cups of water. Blend on high speed for at least a minute.
  2. Strain the milk through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth.

For the Hot Chocolate

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for a minute or two until smooth. You don’t need to strain this as long as the dates weren’t too hard (and if they were, try soaking them first overnight to soften them up and make them nice and buttery).
  2. Heat it up in a saucepan over medium heat until perfectly warmed.

For the Affogato

  1. Grab 3 bowls or short mugs and scoop out 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream per person.
  2. Pour about ½ a cup of hot chocolate over top of the ice cream.
  3. Garnish liberally with shaved dark chocolate, chopped hazelnuts, cacao nibs, raw cacao powder and top it off with a big ol’ hunk of that dark chocolate.

Pro tip: if you’re not using Hazelnut milk, don’t use hazelnuts as a garnish. There is a rule of thumb in the chef world that it’s bad form to garnish with an ingredient that isn’t actually in the dish itself (I tried this in culinary school. It was met with open and penetrating disapproval). So if you choose to instead use almond milk, use chopped almonds as a garnish. Cashew milk? Use chopped cashews. You understand.

There. Now you’re as fancy as your dessert is.


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