Pumpkin Spice Affogato

I brainstormed lots of ways to introduce this post, but you know what? Sometimes words fail. So—a photo.

Pumpkin Spice Affogato

Ah. Sometimes, photos fail. Sometimes, the vision you have in your head of what a Pumpkin Spice Affogato will look like doesn’t match the reality, because (1) there’s not much of a contrast between pumpkin-colored ice cream and dark coffee, and (2) not having a tripod means you have to ask your significant other to pour the coffee so you can catch a mid-stream shot, and sometimes your significant other accidentally spills it, and sometimes you lose your temper and very unfairly blame him, and in the time it takes for you to talk it over and apologize, the sun starts setting and you lose the light. So sometimes, you have to ask your readers to use their imaginations, and you have to ask them for forgiveness for the lackluster photos. (And you have to ask your significant other’s forgiveness for snapping at him.)

Just pretend you can see two perfectly round scoops of deep orange pumpkin spice ice cream, with a stream of hot coffee coming down from an unseen pouring device, just starting to melt the top scoop of ice cream. Then, another shot—melty, foamy, frothy ice cream and coffee blending into one puddly mess. Affogato, baby.

Do I need to back up? Not sure what affogato is? Let me enlighten you. Literally meaning “drowned” in Italian, affogato in culinary terms is a scoop of ice cream (typically vanilla) topped with a shot of espresso. Something magical happens with the hot coffee hits the ice cream, producing a frothy, hot-and-cold, sweet-and-bitter, opposites-attract mug of superlative yumminess. I like to make it with a shot of amaretto, and I’ve had a version at Great Sage that included the most chocolate-y chocolate stout I’ve ever tasted—that particular affogato was very nearly a meal in itself.

Now that we’re all on the same affogato-appreciating page, let’s talk about this pumpkin version. Such a simple idea, and pretty darn simple to execute, too. A couple scoops of pumpkin ice cream are all you need to transform the traditional dessert into something any coffee-loving fan of pumpkin spice flavors can appreciate. If you don’t have an espresso maker (alas, I don’t), strongly brewed hot coffee works nearly as well.

Of course, there are dozens and dozens of pumpkin ice cream recipes out there, and the recipe I dreamt up turned out to be very similar to one the ever-inspiring Hannah Kaminsky posted four years ago, right down to the addition of bourbon. So I can’t call my pumpkin ice cream recipe 100% original, but I did make some changes to Hannah’s recipe, reducing the sugar and changing the spice profile just a bit. But you don’t have to use my recipe in your affogato; feel free to choose from any of the plentiful pumpkin ice cream recipes out there.

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream
Adapted from Hannah Kaminsky’s recipe

  • 1 14-oz can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (or more coconut sugar)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Dash ground nutmeg

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk briskly until all ingredients are well incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Chill for 10 minutes if necessary, then transfer to your ice cream maker and process following the manufacturer’s instructions. Once it’s reached the consistency of your choice, transfer to another container and freeze until ready to use.

Pumpkin Spice Affogato
Serves one

  • 2 small scoops pumpkin spice ice cream
  • 2 shots of espresso or strongly brewed coffee

Place the scoops of ice cream in a heat-safe glass mug. Pour your freshly made espresso or coffee over the ice cream. Eat without delay.

How do you feel about affogato?

Mocha Teff Muffins

LVV MoFo 2014 main

Last year for Christmas, my parents put bags of teff flour in the kids’ stockings. (Has that sentence ever been written before?!) I’d ask a leading question like, “What do you think it says about us that we were thrilled?” but I suspect many of my readers would be equally excited to receive a new ingredient as a present! I loved everything about this gift, from the thought behind it to the product’s packaging.

Truth be told, though, I haven’t used it till now. I wanted to do it justice, y’know? I figured I should make injera, but I wanted to do that only if I were making a big Ethiopian feast, and that just hasn’t happened yet. But as I rummaged through my pantry in search of nutritional superstars in disguise, I noticed that a quarter cup of teff flour has 20% of your daily value of iron, 8% of our RDV of calcium, 24% of your RDV of iron, and a cool 5 grams of protein. Needless to say, I had to try it, and I wondered how it would fare in a baked good. The answer? Really, really well.

Mocha Teff Muffins Mocha Teff Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

  • 3/4 cup teff flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (Dutch-processed, ideally)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup cold very strong coffee (feel free to make it using instant espresso powder)
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup vegan sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar (or additional regular sugar)
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3-1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350˚ and prepare a muffin tin using liners or a light spray of oil.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the first seven dry ingredients (teff flour through cinnamon). Stir to combine, then add the oats. In a small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients and the sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet. Using a plastic spatula or a wooden spoon, stir gently to combine, but don’t overmix. The batter will be very smooth, almost silky. Fold in the chocolate chips, then add the batter to the prepared muffin tin with a spoon. Fill each well about 3/4 of the way. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for at least five minutes before eating.

Mocha Teff Muffins

I’m enchanted with teff flour! The grain itself is teeny-tiny, and the flour is incredibly fine. It makes a silky-smooth batter that mixes with nearly no trouble, and the baked muffin has a light, delicate crumb. I’m itching to bake with it again already!

And the nutritional stats of these not-too-sweet muffins? If you eat two (and you will), you’ll get 22% of your RDV of iron, 7% of your RDV of calcium, about 7 grams of protein, and a respectable helping of fiber.

Have you cooked with teff flour?

Insomnia, Brought to You (ahem, ME) by Bloom Bake Shop

Orange rectangle with the white fist-shaped Vegan MoFo logo and the text "Vegan Month of Food 2012."
As I write this, it’s 5:33 AM and I haven’t slept yet. It’s not because I’ve returned to my college-era night-owl ways, it’s not because I was feverishly working on some craft project, and it’s certainly not because I really enjoy all-nighters and the exhaustion they bring on the following day. No, it is because of this:

Top-down view of a big mug of coffee in the left-hand side of photo. In the right background is a small white rectangular platter with two cupcakes and a blondie.

My downfall.

Oh, coffee. You taste so, so good, especially when you’re lovingly brewed in a French press. But you are so, so dangerous to a small gal like me, a little lady with no caffeine tolerance to speak of and an idiotic “It’ll be okay!” attitude when she downs a big mug of you at 3:30 in the afternoon.

Clearly, it was very much not okay. After two hours of tossing and turning in bed, I slipped out and headed to the living room. As S and Moria slumbered, I curled up on the couch and finished reading A Feast for Crows. Then I tried to sleep again, this time on the couch. When that failed, I opened up the ol’ laptop and set to work sprucing up my LinkedIn profile, overhauling my resume, and researching housing options on the east coast. (I’m not on the job hunt right now, but I want to be prepared.) I Facebooked a fellow insomniac friend and invited her to visit me in Madison. I ate an apple. I Pinterested. And then I realized that I ought to prepare my post for tomorrow, so here I am.

Coffee isn’t the sole cause of my sleepless night, though. No, this fella probably played a part:

In the foreground is a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting. In the background are a blondie and another cupcake, this one with a lighter frosting.

Sugar overload!

These beauties come from Bloom Bake Shop, a truly adorable little shop just a few minutes from our apartment in Middleton. Bloom boasts an impressive vegan selection, most of which is gluten-free. Now, let it be known that I’m not gluten-free – I quite enjoy gluten in all its forms. So when S and I first stopped at Bloom a few months ago and noticed that all their vegan options available on that day were also GF, we were disappointed. We’d been burned by GF vegan baked goods before, and we didn’t want to repeat that crumbly, grainy experience. But we gave Bloom a chance, and I am oh so glad we did. Bloom blew my expectations out of the water. You would truly never, ever guess that any of their baked goods are vegan or GF, never mind both. Everything is always moist, sweet, and perfectly spiced. I’m pretty much in love with all of their offerings.

Yesterday, we got a carrot cake cupcake with maple-spice frosting, a blondie, and a chocolate cupcake. The chocolate cupcake is called Be Decadent, but that name could really apply to any of these baked goods. They are incredible. That blondie is most definitely one of the most sublimely delicious treats I’ve ever purchased; it hits the perfect balance of seeming under-baked (i.e. chewy and delicious) without being at all heavy or gooey. I can’t rave about these desserts enough! They are most definitely “sometimes foods” – they’re insanely sugary and clearly full of oil or Earth Balance – but I think they’re worth every unhealthy bite for the joy they bring me.

Close-up of the chocolate cupcake. It has a small frosting flower on top.

Sweet.

Not only does Bloom create beautiful, delicious desserts, but it’s also one of the most delightful little shops I’ve ever had the pleasure of entering. Every bit of decor – from the distressed wood cabinets to the old-timey display case to the pastel KitchenAids that are visible from the street – fits together perfectly, creating an environment that sits firmly on the unpretentious side of shabby-chic. The space is small, with a single table and two chairs, but floor-to-ceiling windows let in lots of light and counters by the window create additional seating options. It’s exactly the sort of place you want to spend an hour on a Saturday afternoon, sipping coffee and nibbling sweet treats. And the staff is singularly lovely, friendly and just as charming as you’d expect someone who works in such a blissfully sweet environment to be. Next time I’ll be sure to bring a different lens for my (fine, S’s) camera so I can capture the interior – you want to see it; I promise.

If all that weren’t enough to make you love Bloom, there’s this – they source many of their ingredients locally and use organic, fair-trade foods when possible. And they do all their vegan and GF baking first thing in the morning in a dedicated area of the kitchen. Be still, my heart!

Clearly, I’m enamored. So enamored that I can’t even stay angry with that coffee for keeping me up all night. It was worth it.

And now? Well, it’s 6:07 and I’ve been pretty productive. Let’s just say that I’ve got a household full of Sims who are calling my name. ;)

What’s your favorite indulgence? Where do you go to chill out and eat delicious treats?