Espresso Granita with Whipped Cream
Top the granita with a hefty portion of whipped cream; you'll need the mild sweetness of the cream to balance the strong espresso. If you're cutting down on caffeine, you can use decaffeinated espresso beans instead of regular.
Vietnamese Coffee Sundaes with Crushed Peanut Brittle
The Vietnamese love drinking superstrong iced coffee combined with copious amounts of sweetened condensed milk. Joanne Chang created this simple ice cream sundae as a way to enjoy the same flavors. Shards of peanut brittle made with a generous pinch of cinnamon add great flavor and crunch.
This dessert, which is like the fluffiest, creamiest ice cream pie imaginable, was created by Spago's pastry chef, Sherry Yard, for the opening of Spago Beverly Hills in 1997. It's based on a Malakoff torte, which is a traditional Viennese layered cake. "For the warmer climates of California, we changed it to a semifreddo, which is perfect for summer," says Wolfgang Puck.
Pots de Crème with Chocolate, Chile and Espresso
The pots de crème can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.
Blanco y Negro
At Harvest Moon Cafe in Sonoma, California, Nick and Jen Demarest prepare simple food with a Mediterranean bent. Jen, who creates the desserts, uses a food processor to make this lemony, cinnamon-laced ice milk for her nod to Italian affogato—espresso over ice cream. Desserts like this earn raves from the locals, including revered author Paula Wolfert.
Milk-Chocolate Cremoso with Espresso Parfait
Although Miamians are assumed to be too bathing-suit conscious to indulge in dessert, this decadent milk-chocolate cremoso (a silky pudding-like dish) drizzled with olive oil is one of the best-sellers at Michael's. "Some people are like, 'Whoa...olive oil and chocolate?'" says Michael Schwartz. "But the olive oil reinforces the richness of the cremoso. As if you need any more richness."
Vietnamese-Style Iced Coffee
Cold-brewing involves steeping ground coffee in cold water. RBC NYC coffee bar uses the method here.
Frozen Chocolate-Chip Meringata
Meringata—Italian for “meringue cake”—is an elegant yet homey frozen dessert of whipped cream sandwiched between meringue rounds. Rolando Beramendi slices the meringata and serves it with a warm chocolate-espresso sauce.
Espresso Gelées with Candied Pistachios
Melissa Clark loves this dessert because "it's light, but feels very sinful." Greek yogurt and sugared pistachios add satisfying creaminess and crunch.
Caffè Romano Martini
On a trip to Helsinki, Philip Duff drank an espresso romano (an espresso served with a piece of lemon zest). When he returned home, he tinkered with ingredients behind the bar and created this drink.
Coffee Crème Caramel
This exquisite flan-like dessert can be made several hours ahead.