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Date-Sweetened Coffee & Cookies Affogato (Vegan, GF, Date-Sweetened, Boozy Option)

Another Italian recipe but healthy! Haven't heard of affogato? It's an Italian dessert made of a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with a shot of espresso and a splash of amaretto. With this recipe, I had to be extra and I made it a scoop of coffee & cookies (AKA coffee cookies n cream) ice cream with a sweetened "mocha shot" (think espresso shot, but w/ chocolate and sweetened) and an optional splash of amaretto. Amaretto is an almond-flavored alcohol and most brands are inherently vegan and gluten-free, but it does contain sugar and obv alcohol. But the affogato will still be INCREDIBLE w/o the booze! This recipe is fairly easy, and for those of you who have been waiting for a date-sweetened version of my über creamy, sweet, and rich ice cream, this is it! More ice cream flavors will be coming soon based on this date-sweetened one. PLEASE NOTE: this dessert contains caffeine from the coffee & cookies ice cream and mocha shot. The mocha shot will be pretty potent, so for those of you who aren't a fan of espresso or coffee or don't consume caffeine, you can omit it and make a simple vanilla (or plain cookies n cream) ice cream and just enjoy a scoop of ice cream. There's a lot of customization options here. Get in your kitchen, and be prepared to be transported to an Italian café!

Doesn't that look SO HECKIN' GOOD?! That's because it is. A delectable creamy, sweet coffee cookies n cream ice cream with a hot shot of chocolate espresso overtop, finished with an (optional) splash of amaretto. What's not to love?!

Everyone who I've served this to was IN LOVE. Don't take my word for it, try it yourself! Currently, I'm working on a recipe for a "Matchagato" with a scoop of matcha ice cream, a matcha shot, and a splash of white creme de cacao liqueur (which is naturally vegan + GF). If you're not a coffee fan, wait out for this one!

I'm currently also working on making my first date-sweetened baked whole layer cakes, as I've only experimented with cupcakes so far. Stay tuned for baked layer cakes!

What's a summer recipe you wanna see on The Dimpled Date? Like this post and leave a comment!


For the coffee & cookies ice cream, the raw cashews can be substituted with raw unsalted almonds. You might be able to get away with raw unsalted macadamias instead. Just make sure whatever nuts you use, they're raw, unsalted, and unsweetened. Instead of Medjool dates, you can use any variety of dates you wish, such as Deglet Noor. The Medjool dates can be replaced with 2/3 cup plus more to taste of your sticky sweetener of choice, e.g. pure maple syrup, agave nectar, coconut nectar, OR honey (if not strictly vegan) (read important section in bold below if using a sticky sweetener). You might be able to get away with date syrup, but I can't guarantee 100% that this will work (because date syrup is robust and molasses-y in flavor). If using a sticky sweetener instead of the dates, adjust the recipe by using 1 1/4 cups // 300 ml homemade thick almond milk, 135 ml // 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, 70 gr // 1/4 cup almond butter, and 3 shots (75 ml total) espresso. I haven't tried this recipe with granulated sweeteners, and therefore have no recommendations on how to use those as a substitute. To make this ice cream base sugar-free you could *try* using a sweetener like 100% pure liquid monk fruit extract (just monk fruit, NO erythritol), but I can't guarantee that the texture will still be the same creamy, luscious consistency. Also know that if you want sugar-free ice cream for this recipe, you would have to substitute your favorite store-bought or homemade sugar-free chocolate vanilla creme sandwich cookies for my date-sweetened Healthy "Oreos," otherwise omit them.

For homemade thick/extra creamy almond milk you could sub homemade thick extra creamy coconut milk OR your unsweetened plant milk of choice (homemade or store-bought, preferably thick/extra creamy), such as cashew milk, oat milk, rice milk, soy milk, pea milk, hemp milk, Brazil nut milk, etc. Just make sure it's unsweetened. The coconut oil shouldn't be substituted as it's key for the texture and flavor of this ice cream. Likewise, the almond butter shouldn't be substituted either, as it adds depth of flavor, a more stable texture, and a fuller flavor, but you may use raw or roasted almond butter, salted or unsalted. In place of the almond butter, you can try unsweetened creamy cashew butter, unsweetened creamy sunflower seed butter, hazelnut butter (for a "Nutella" coffee & cookies sort of thing), PB (for a PB coffee & cookies sort of thing), OR coconut butter ("coconut manna") might work, but there's no guarantees on this last one. If you must, you can sub the nut/seed butter with the same amount of coconut oil (in other words, use 3/4 cup coconut oil [measured before melting] AKA 200 ml melted coconut oil [melted before measuring] total). You may use strong brewed medium or dark roast coffee and instant coffee powder in place of the liquid espresso and espresso powder, but it won't come out quite the same. If you're not a coffee person or can't have caffeine, ditch the espresso, and you'll have a wonderful cookies & cream ice cream (don't bother making the mocha shot to go overtop)! Keep posted for a lower caffeine, cleaner tasting version of this recipe made with matcha ice cream and a matcha shot.

The vanilla shouldn't be replaced, but you can substitute it with an equivalent amount of scraped vanilla bean, pure ground vanilla beans, OR sugar-free vanilla powder/paste/syrup. If you must, you can omit the vanilla. The pinch of sea salt can be replaced with table salt or may be omitted. For the "Oreos," you can use my Healthy Oreos, my Protein "Oreos" (in this post), OR your favorite homemade or store-bought vegan, gluten-free chocolate vanilla creme sandwich cookies (use sugar-free as needed). Alternately you can omit the "Oreos" for plain coffee ice cream, or if you want a more traditional affogato, omit both the "Oreos" and the coffee, and your affogato can be made traditionally with a scoop of vanilla ice cream instead.

For the mocha shot for serving this dessert, you can omit it if you just want the ice cream (the mocha shot is pretty concentrated). But if you're here for a traditional affogato, the espresso technically shouldn't be substituted, but if you must use instant coffee powder. The boiling water is necessary to make the mocha shot. The cacao powder is optional, and you can omit it for a regular espresso shot, but if you want a chocolatey flavor too, use the cacao (or cocoa powder). For sweetening the mocha shot you can use date sugar OR a sticky sweetener such as date syrup, but if you want a traditional espresso shot, then omit the sweetener and flavors. The pinch of ground vanilla beans is perfectly optional, but can be replaced with 1/8 tsp vanilla extract. The splash of amaretto is also completely optional, but you only need less than a shot (amaretto is an almond-flavored liqueur from Italy that is typically vegan/GF, but of course has sugar and alcohol. Pick a vegan variety to ensure it's free of egg whites and honey). For serving, one would traditionally shave chocolate overtop, but for vegan make sure it's dark chocolate, 100% if needed (or at least refined sugar free). Really, you can serve this however you want.

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Stay tuned for what's new at The Dimpled Date. A whole lotta yum is coming your way!

In the meantime,

Enjoy! <3


Date-Sweetened Coffee & Cookies Affogato (Vegan, Gluten-Free, 100% Date-Sweetened, Boozy Option)

Soak Time: overnight or 8 hours (or technically, 1 hour in hot water)

Prep Time: 1 hour 35 min (incl. time to make Healthy "Oreos" and homemade almond milk)

Cook Time: 10 to 12 min (for Healthy "Oreos")

Chill Time: 8 hours or overnight

Total Time: abt 2 overnights plus 2 hours (I know this sounds overwhelming, but it's mainly soaking and chilling time)

Servings: 1 affogato (you'll have leftover ice cream)

Ingredients (for the coffee & cookies ice cream):

-1 cup // 140 grams raw unsalted cashews, soaked (pref.) overnight in cold water w/ a pinch of salt OR technically soaked at least 1 hour in hot water (can sub raw unsalted almonds, soaked // be sure to discard the soaking water)

-2 1/4 cups // 300 grams Medjool dates, pitted and soaked 2 hours in hot water OR overnight in cold water

-1 2/3 cup // 400 ml homemade unsweetened thick almond milk OR 400 ml homemade unsweetened thick coconut milk OR 400 ml store-bought unsweetened almond milk/plant milk of choice (pref. extra-creamy) (but store-bought won't yield the same texture)*

-abt 1 cup (measured before melting) // 250 ml (melted before measuring) coconut oil, melted

-1/2 cup // 110 grams creamy almond butter (can be homemade or store-bought, raw, activated, or roasted // can sub unsweetened creamy cashew butter OR mild unsweetened creamy nut/seed butter of choice)**

-4 shots espresso, liquid (100 ml) (2 heaping tsp espresso powder + 3/4 cup hot water)

-1 heaping Tbsp espresso powder

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-pinch sea salt

-1 1/2 cups // abt 225 grams my Healthy "Oreos" OR my Protein "Oreos" (in this post) OR your vegan/gluten-free chocolate vanilla creme sandwich cookies of choice (sugar-free as needed)

Ingredients (for the "mocha shot"):

-1 tsp espresso powder

-2 oz // 1/4 cup boiling filtered water

-2 tsp cacao powder

-1 Tbsp date sugar (date sugar, made of dried & ground dates NOT date palm sugar) OR 1 Tbsp date syrup OR 1 Tbsp 100% pure maple syrup (can sub sweeter of choice, to taste)

-pinch pure ground vanilla beans (optional // can sub 1/8 tsp vanilla extract)

For serving (optional):

-splash amaretto liqueur (use a brand that's vegan & GF // it will still contain sugar & alcohol, though)

-dairy-free dark chocolate shavings (100% chocolate if need be // or at least refined sugar free if need be)


1. Make sure the cashews and dates are soaked. Make a batch of my Healthy "Oreos" (following the directions in this post) OR my Protein "Oreos" (in this post) if using homemade "Oreos." If using store-bought chocolate vanilla creme sandwich cookies, you don't have to worry about this. Measure out the "Oreos" and chop them. Make sure you've made the homemade almond milk (if using homemade // see "Notes" below on how to make it). If making homemade almond butter, ensure you've made it. Make sure the espresso for the ice cream is brewed and cooled slightly, and make sure the coconut oil is melted.

2. Add all ingredients for the ice cream, EXCEPT the coconut oil, almond butter, and Healthy "Oreos" to a high-speed blender like a Vitamix, or a food processor will work too. Blend on high using a tamper as needed, stopping and scraping down the sides as necessary until the mixture is as smooth and uniform as possible.

3. On a low speed setting, drizzle in the melted coconut oil and scoop the almond butter into the ice cream through the tamper hole (in a Vitamix/blender lid) or feeder tube hole (in a food processor lid), blending until just incorporated. Turn the speed to high and blend for 10 to 15 seconds.

4. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe large glass bowl/dish OR a jumbo ice cream container (or several smaller ones) and place in the freezer. Wait to add the "Oreos."

5. Every 30 minutes to 1 hour, remove the ice cream from the freezer and stir/mix it manually with a spoon or spatula. Then return back to the freezer immediately. Repeat this step 2 to 3 more times (so, stir it a total of 3 to 4 times, once every 30 minutes to 1 hour). After the second or third stir or until it’s thick enough to hold them, fold in the chopped chopped "Oreos." The purpose of this step is to get an über creamy texture (like gelato) and to prevent ice crystals from forming.

6. Allow the ice cream to freeze 8 more hours or overnight until completely solid.

7. The next day, defrost the ice cream at room temp until just scoopable, but still very firm (you want it as firm as possible so the espresso shot doesn't melt it too much). This should take at least 10 minutes. If you're not a fan of straight up espresso or coffee, then you can skip the mocha shot and just have the ice cream (defrost it at room temp for 15 to 30 minutes until the perfect creamy, rich texture, not too hard not too soupy), although an affogato is traditionally meant to have an espresso shot overtop of it. Once scoopable, make your affogato a single scoop or (I recommend) a double scoop (big scoops are nice too, and remember you'll probably wanna go back for more ice cream afterwards because the espresso flavor is strong). I recommend adding the scoop(s) to a glass mug or a small drinking glass, so you can take in all that gorgeous melted ice cream + mocha shot beauty! Place in the freezer until the mocha shot is ready. If you want to make more than 1 affogato or enough for a crowd or party, add 1-2 scoops of the ice cream to however many glasses/glass mugs you need (because this recipe makes a ton of ice cream. If you only make 1 affogato, you will have a LOT of leftover ice cream.

8. Make the "mocha shot": add all mocha shot ingredients to a small mug or bowl, and using a hand frother or small whisk, whisk together the ingredients until frothy and foamy. Alternately, you can use a spoon to mix together the mocha shot ingredients, but it won't come out quite as foamy.

9. Remove the ice cream-filled mug or glass from the freezer and pour the hot mocha shot overtop. If desired, finish with a splash of optional amaretto*** and dairy-free dark chocolate shavings (100% dark chocolate or refined sugar free as need be). Or use whatever toppings you desire (some ideas: a drizzle of my Sea Salt Caramel Sauce, a drizzle of my Paleo "Nutella" [don't chill the "Nutella" just use it straight after it's blended up], or a couple of my White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups). Have a spoon(s) handy and delight in coffee heaven! Also: make sure you go back for a second (or third) scoop of ice cream! Mangia! Enjoy!

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer. To defrost, leave at room temp for 15 to 30 minutes before serving or until scoopable.


*to achieve the extra thick almond milk consistency, use a ratio of 1 part soaked raw almonds to 1 part water and blend, then strain thru a nut milk bag. It will be extremely thick, but this makes the resulting almond milk über rich and creamy, which translates to SUPER creamy gelato consistency. If making homemade thick coconut milk, use a ratio of the meat of 1 brown coconut to 2 cups water OR 2 cups shredded coconut to 2 cups water, blend, then strain thru a nut milk bag.

**see "Substitutions" section of post, above

***use a vegan brand of amaretto. All are GF, but please note they will still contain sugar & alcohol

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