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8 Must-Try Coffee Desserts in NYC

Beyond tiramisu: How modern pasty chefs are creating new, caffeine-spiked sweets
February 27, 2014
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by Jess Bender

Coffee has long been a key ingredient in classic desserts like tiramisu and affogato, but NYC pastry chefs are using java in new creative ways. Read on to learn more about their sweetest creations.

Chestnut Tiramisu at Dominique Ansel Bakery
The Cronut mastermind has a tendency to breathe new life into run-of-the-mill desserts. In his interpretation of the Italian staple tiramisu, he replaces the usual ladyfingers for a whiskey espresso-soaked chestnut cake, and dollops it with a generous serving of chestnut mousse and mascarpone cream.

Opera Cake at Épicerie Boulud
While Daniel Boulud is known for juggling eight restaurants in Manhattan, the French chef is often applauded for his elegant, well-crafted desserts and pastries. He even turns a simple and classic chocolate cake, which can be an afterthought at most fine-dining establishments, into a showstopper. Boulud’s multi-tiered dessert is layered with coffee-soaked almond sponge cake, a pure chocolate ganache and a coffee buttercream.

Coffee Mousse Cake at Lady M Confections

If you ever wanted a mid-day wake-me-up but were too tired to make your own cup of joe, eating this cake would be a less-daunting alternative. Dark chocolate and light coffee mousses are spread between multiple layers of a whiskey-soaked chocolate sponge cake. The final product is covered in a smooth coffee ganache.

Affogato at Esca

This Italian seafood destination takes pride in their roots and combines some Italian staples into one dessert that’ll keep you up all night. The already-creamy gelato is taken to another level with a mascarpone base, which is then sprinkled with dark chocolate chips and crushed ladyfingers. To cap it off, a moat of hot espresso surrounds the cool dessert.

Flan de Rosa at Rosa Mexicano

The traditional Mexican flan has a simple base that can withstand all kinds of adaptations, including a spike of caffeine. The chic Mexican eatery spikes their spongy vanilla custard with a strong espresso and serves it on top of a spicy ancho chile brownie with a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream.

"Coffee" at Le Bernardin

Though it's been a New York icon since the mid-80s, the refined French dining room is still innovating - down to its dessert menu. This mysteriously-titled dessert begins with a dense chocolate cake base and is followed by a creamy mascarpone mousse, caramel cremeux, coffee ice cream, and melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake crumblings on top.

Coffee Semifreddo at The Lambs Club
Semifreddo, which literally translates to “half-cold” in Italian, develops its unique, mousse-like consistency from mixing together gelato and whipped cream. This versatile semi-frozen dessert is accompanied by amaretto toffee and a generous serving of espresso ice cream.

Coffee-Infused Chocolate Tart at Navy
At this cozy Soho newcomer, executive chef Camille Becerra accepts the challenge of working with local produce and ingredients. One of her homegrown desserts, a coffee-infused chocolate tart with a peanut-coffee Florentine, uses beans from Brooklyn roaster Kitten Coffee.

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