We love coffee for breakfast, coffee for lunch, and definitely coffee for dessert! There’s a reason that after-dinner coffee is such a popular treat—It tastes absolutely divine! The unique notes and flavor profiles of different coffees can complement your sweet treats for an irresistible bite (and another bite, and another).
Today, we’re going to give you some of our favorite coffee dessert recipes you can make at home, sprinkled with some tips and tricks about how to pair coffee with your favorite sweet treats.
(Don’t worry if you’re not a pro baker. We’ve picked recipes that our staffers make and love, with a focus on whole ingredients, simple processes, and absolutely tasty results.)
When we think of coffee desserts, we think of tiramisu first. This Italian coffee dessert has ladyfingers dipped in espresso (and brandy!), topped with layers of whipped eggs, sugar, mascarpone cheese, and cocoa sprinkling. We’re going to give you a basic tiramisu recipe (and the easiest one we know), but don’t be afraid to adapt and experiment with it.
To create eight servings, you’ll need:
- 6 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup whole milk (can use a creamy milk alternative like coconut or soy)
- 32 oz (four 4 oz containers) of mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/2 cups espresso, cooled to room temperature (rich Havanero espresso would go great in this recipe!)
- 1/2 cup brandy (optional)
- 32 Italian ladyfinger biscuits
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- Bittersweet chocolate (for shaving decoration)
This recipe has a lot of steps and seems daunting at first, but it’s easier than it looks. It just takes a little practice to get the custard right. It’ll be worth it though!
- Line an 8-inch square baking dish with plastic wrap. Let at least 3 inches of plastic wrap hang over the side.
- Set aside a large bowl of ice water.
- Custard time! In a heatproof bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar together. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until sugar dissolves. Don’t let the bowl touch the water.
- Slowly whisk in the milk until the custard is light and foamy. Temperature should be about 170 degrees F.
- Remove the bowl from the heat, and set in the bowl of ice water (from step 2). Whisk, while the custard is cooling, for about one minute.
- Put the mascarpone in another large bowl. Fold the custard and vanilla extract into the mascarpone using a spatula. Whisk until smooth (but beware of over-mixing). Set aside.
- Combine the espresso and brandy in a shallow bowl. One at a time, gently dip the ladyfinger biscuits in the espresso mixture. They should be soaked but not soggy.
- Arrange the ladyfingers in the baking dish. They should cover the entire bottom of the baking dish (about two rows of five biscuits).
- Cover the bottom layer of ladyfingers with the mascarpone-custard.
- Make another layer of ladyfingers on top, but lay them in the opposite direction (for aesthetic and stability).
- Top with more mascarpone custard. Keep layering like this with the remaining ladyfingers and custard until you’ve reached the top of the baking dish.
- Dust with cocoa powder.
- Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for four hours, or overnight.
- After refrigerating, put a plate upside down on the top of the tiramisu. Flip it all over in unison, so the tiramisu is upside down. Remove the baking dish and plastic wrap. Now you’ll need to flip it again; so, put a serving plate on the bottom, and flip so it’s cocoa-side up.
- You can top with shaved chocolate if you’d like.
- Now enjoy!
If you love the flavor of tiramisu, check out these other unique tiramisu recipes compiled by Brit+Co.
Like tiramisu, affogato is another of the most popular and traditional Italian coffee dessert recipes. It’s basically a scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream, covered in hot espresso—Try it with bold and flavorful Italian Cafe D’oro. For the adults, the espresso might be mixed with amaretto, Kahlua, or another flavored liqueur.
You can keep the espresso hot, or you can chill it so it won’t melt your ice cream. To chill, let the espresso cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until cold.
Affogato is usually served in a wine glass—but we love every way to enjoy ice cream and espresso! This dessert is traditionally made with vanilla ice cream, but try out different flavors to see what you like best. We personally love chocolate ice cream with espresso.
3. Caffeinated Kahlua Brownies
These tropical desserts are the perfect mixture of coffee, chocolate, Kahlua (coffee-flavored liquor), and fudgy cake.
To make 18 servings of brownies, you’ll need:
- 8 oz unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1 cup and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 5 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons finely ground coffee grinds
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 and 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup strong, hot coffee
- 1/4 cup Kahlua
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease a pan, ideally 9x13x2 inch.
- In a saucepan, melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Stir occasionally. Once they are melted together, remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat eggs, sugar, coffee grounds, vanilla, and salt at high speed for five minutes.
- Reduce to low speed, and add cooled chocolate mixture. Beat until mixed in.
- Add flour and beat until mixed in. Don’t over-mix.
- In a small bowl, combine hot coffee and Kahlua. Pour mixture into the larger bowl of batter.
- Pour batter into the greased pan. Bake in oven for about 35 minutes. The edges should look crisp and the center shouldn’t move.
- Let brownies cool to room temperature before cutting and serving.
4. Coffee cookies
Everyone loves cookies. And with a subtle hint of coffee flavor, you’ll be sticking your hand in the cookie jar every few minutes. This healthy recipe is based on the Bulletproof diet, so you can feel good about indulging in your coffee desserts.
For 24 large cookies (or 48 small), you’ll need:
- 1/2 cup refined coconut oil
- 1/2 cup grass-fed unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup local honey
- 3 tablespoons espresso powder (or very finely ground espresso)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup coarsely ground oats (not steel cut)
- 2 cups cassava or almond flour (all-purpose flour works as well)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine coconut oil, butter, honey, and espresso. Beat well.
- Add eggs and beat together.
- Mix in the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Scoop dough onto baking sheets. We recommend using an ice cream scooper to get the right amount. Keep the dough drops two inches apart to account for spreading while baking.
- Bake for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool on a cooling rack. Cookies continue baking and harden while cooling, so don’t leave them in the oven until they’re hard.
- After cooled, enjoy one, two, three, or four cookies!
5. Coffee in A Mug Cake
Turn your morning mug of coffee into a chocolate cake for a luxurious treat—that’s super easy to make!
For a single-serving mug cake, you need:
- 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (more, to taste)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons coconut or almond flour
- 2 tablespoons espresso
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg
- Combine the chocolate chips and olive oil in a microwave-safe mug. Heat in microwave for about 30 seconds, until melted.
- Stir in flour, coffee, and baking soda. Add egg and stir to combine.
- Heat in microwave about 1.5 to 2 minutes, until cake is cooked through. If you put a toothpick or fork in it, it should come out clean.
- Let cool for two minutes before eating.
Dessert coffee drinks
Prefer to drink your coffee desserts? Here are some of the tastiest dessert coffee drinks to try!
- Keoke Coffee: Coffee, brandy, Kahlua, and crème de cacao (with whipped cream)—Check out one of our keoke coffee recipes here!
- Irish Coffee: Coffee, Irish whisky, sugar, and whipped cream
- Vietnamese Iced Coffee: Espresso, sweetened condensed milk, and ice (this recipe is one of our favorites!)
- Coffee Jelly Filipino Style: Give this one a try! It’s a great addition to coffee, boba, or other coffee dessert drinks!
What are your favorite coffee dessert recipes? Tag us in your pictures and recipes on social media for a shout out from Eldorado!