Starbucks’ adult version of the classic root beer float is exactly what you think it is—a truly ideal pick-me-up for an afternoon slump. It’s simple and perfect (especially on a hot day).
All you need: a scoop of rich, vanilla bean-flecked ice cream and about eight ounces of cold brew coffee. Or kick it up a notch by swapping the extra-strong cold brew for freshly brewed espresso for an affogato. The term translates to “drowned” in Italian, which is exactly what happens to the ice cream as piping hot espresso is drizzled over the top. Whether you choose to go affogato-style or cold brew float, the result is a decadent, caffeinated dream—and so easy to make.
This coconut milk–based recipe is perfect for dairy-free eaters, and it makes an excellent replacement for conventional vanilla ice cream. Plus, coconut milk contains medium chain triglycerides, which have been shown to boost metabolism and energy levels.
Are we justifying putting ice cream in your coffee and calling it healthy? Maybe … (you’re welcome).
Coconut-Vanilla Ice Cream
Yield: 4 servings
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Special equipment: ice cream maker
Make the coconut ice cream
Slice vanilla beans lengthwise, then scrape out seeds with a sharp paring knife. Add beans and seeds to coconut cream in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then cover, turn off heat, and let infuse for 15 minutes. Remove beans and keep mixture warm over low heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually pour in warm coconut cream mixture, whisking constantly. Stir in salt. Return mixture to pot and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon.
Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, then cover and chill in the fridge at least 1 hour. Churn in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a parchment-lined metal container or loaf pan to store in freezer.
Assemble the float or affogato
For float: Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the bottom of a tall glass. Pour 8 to 16 ounces of cold brewed coffee over, depending on how strong you’d like your drink. Serve with a straw.
For affogato: Use about one scoop of vanilla ice cream to every ounce of espresso. Place ice cream to a highball glass, and pour freshly brewed (hot!) espresso over the top.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont