dirty masala chai affogato (vegan!) - The First Messpin it!

This post is sponsored by nutpods.

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This recipe title is a bit of a mouthful, but hear me out! I can’t remember the last time I posted a dessert or a sweet treat (other than in beverage form) here. In case you couldn’t tell from the higher ratio of savouries, I don’t play around with that side of food too often. When I bake or need to make a dessert, it’s usually because I have people coming over (and what even is a get-together without a sweet ending?). From there, I usually just go to a source that I trust, and then proceed to follow a recipe to the letter because I can’t handle the agony of dessert defeat. You’d think it would be the most fun part, but I was a ball of stress/rage when I was working on the dessert section of my cookbook. Also, telling my man that he couldn’t eat whatever sweet treat that was setting up in the refrigerator always felt kinda mean in the moment. Sorta silly, but true.

When I was trying to first establish some kind of consistency with my blog, I felt like I HAD to post vegan desserts to get more people seeing my work. I’d work and work on these sorts of things, but I knew that I was forcing it. Dessert for me most nights is a couple squares of dark chocolate or a tea latte, so why was I forcing myself to come up with this stuff? Just another lesson in listening to your intuition and letting that inner voice guide you.

Have you ever had affogato? It kind of knocks out dessert and coffee in one stylish and simple move (I think Italians may have a knack for this sort of thing in a general sense). It might be the easiest dessert outside of a store-bought option. If you’re baking and pastry stuff-averse like me, you might actually enjoy making this because it’s all assembly and there’s no baking required. You get a nice little serving of vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso poured over top. Then, those creamy pools of ice cream melt into the hot coffee… It gets a little soup-y. It’s hot and cold at the same time. You can add liqueur too! I started thinking about making a masala chai-flavoured ice cream to serve with the espresso, kind of referencing one of my favourite coffee house treats: a dirty chai latte.

So I set to work on the ice cream. I’ve been obsessed with nutpods dairy-free creamer lately. They sent me some samples a few months ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. The base of it is coconut and almonds, so you get a whole bunch of richness, but without an overwhelming coconut flavour. Aside from using it in my coffee/tea and as an alternative to cream in savoury recipes (so diverse!), it makes an excellent base for ice cream. Also, it’s the only vegan creamer I’ve tried that isn’t sweetened and that also doesn’t take a super heavy pour to get my coffee the way I like it (ie sort of looking like you added some coffee to a cup of cream hehe).

Anyway, the nutpods makes this ice cream sooo creamy and luscious. I combined the creamer with some frozen bananas so that I could lighten up any additional sweetener, and it totally works! The banana flavour comes in surprisingly light and meshes really well with the spices, tea, maple syrup, vanilla, and coffee. I give a few options in this recipe for churning the ice cream since my ice cream maker seems to be on its way out (surprise!) and I had to get creative ;)

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Print the recipe here!
NOTES: If I was serving this for a dinner, I’d pre-scoop the ice cream and lay the scoops out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Then, I’d slide the baking sheet into the freezer. When dessert time comes, just portion out the pre-made scoops into your serving vessels, brew the coffee, and voila! Also, I note some options in the recipe if you’re working without an ice cream maker. Last thing: start freezing some bananas now if you plan to make this recipe in the next day or two. If you already have some sliced ones in your freezer stash, you’ll need roughly 240 grams-worth.

2 very ripe bananas, sliced and frozen
1 1/3 cups unsweetened dairy-free creamer (1 full package of original unsweetened nutpods)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground cardamom
3 orange pekoe or other plain black tea bags
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup freshly brewed espresso, or other strong coffee that you love

First things first! Make sure your bananas are fully frozen and ready to go.

In a small saucepan, combine the creamer, cinnamon, ginger, sea salt, cloves, and cardamom. Place the pot over medium heat. Once the spiced creamer is at a simmer, drop in the tea bags and stir. Keep the creamer and tea simmering for 3 full minutes. Take the creamer off the heat, and remove the tea bags. Transfer the spiced creamer to a new bowl, and place it in the freezer to chill for 5-10 minutes.

Retrieve the spiced creamer mixture from the freezer and pour it into a food processor. To the food processor, add the sliced frozen bananas, maple syrup, vanilla, and olive oil. Run the motor on high until you have a creamy and thick consistency.

Ice cream-making method 1: Transfer the masala chai ice cream base to an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Ice cream-making method 2: Pour the masala chai ice cream base into clean ice cube molds (preferably small ice cubes). Then, freeze the ice cream solid in the molds. Once frozen, let the ice cream “cubes sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes. Then, place the ice cream “cubes” back into the food processor and run the motor on high until you’ve “churned” the ice cream. It should look like soft serve at this point. Serve ice cream immediately or transfer the ice cream to a dish for a hard freeze.

Ice cream-making method 3: Place the masala chai ice cream base into a dish and transfer to the freezer. Set a timer for 1 hour. When the timer beeps, retrieve the ice cream and manually “churn” it up with a spatula, breaking up the hardened chunks at the edges. Return the ice cream to the freezer. Repeat this process 3-4 times. This method almost guarantees you a few ice crystals, but the mixture is still pretty creamy overall. Perfect for “low tech” types that may not be super fussy on texture ;)

To serve: portion the masala chai ice cream out into 6 serving bowls or glasses. Divide the hot coffee amongst the bowls of ice cream, carefully pouring it over top. Serve immediately.

*This post was created in partnership with nutpods dairy-free creamer. All opinions/endorsements are my own. Thanks for supporting!


  • Elenore Bendel Zahn27/04/2016 - 4:21 am

    Laura! Ok, first off, Dirty Chai Latte?! – Post that! I totally wish I could sneak by your house an evening and share one of those :) Secondly, these babies up here looks Ah-Mazing! I remember when I trained to be a barista and I had the first affogato in my life. Gosh, that was really something! Love you tons, lady! Thank you for all your gorgeous inspiration you put out into the world.ReplyCancel

  • Tori//Gringalicious27/04/2016 - 6:35 am

    There is so much to love about this! I am such a huge fan of chai and making affogato with it sounds incredible! I so want to try one of these!ReplyCancel

  • Agnes {Cashew Kitchen}27/04/2016 - 7:16 am

    Ughh this looks SO good! *sighing with longing* Those perfectly creamy ice cream scoops… _<)
    xx AgnesReplyCancel

  • Agnes {Cashew Kitchen}27/04/2016 - 7:18 am

    Hm, looks like my comment got strangely cut off. Trying again!

    Ughh this looks SO good! *sighing with longing* Those perfectly creamy ice cream scoops… <3!
    I know exactly what you mean about that dessert struggle. I've never been much of a baker or sweet eater in general, but I also feel like a food blog should contains at least a couple of sweet recipes. It's for sure the section i struggle with the most! I've lost count on how many cakes have come out of the oven as total failures, and it's the worst feeling. I hate to throw away food! Often I just eat the damn cookies or whatever anyway. Or hide them in the back of the freezer and forget about them hehe *oops*. But dessert doesn't have to be a fancy cake, it can for sure be a slightly sweeter than usual smoothie/milkshake, or raw energy balls or just dates stuffed with peanut butter. I think those are totally legit recipes to post on a food blog or in a cookbook ;)
    This looks amazing anyway! Now I kinda just feel like spiking my banana-chai smoothie with an espresso shot, to get the worst craving out of the way (bc making my own ice cream is a huge threshold for me)
    xx AgnesReplyCancel

  • Leah M | love me, feed me27/04/2016 - 9:45 am

    Oh my goodnesssss, I am so in love with everything about this recipe. I can’t wait to make it!! Also in love with all the pictures (and every other picture you ever post)!!ReplyCancel

  • Maya | Spice + Sprout27/04/2016 - 10:47 am

    Mmm! This looks amazingggggg <3 I work in a gelato/coffee shop in the summers and we make homemade vegan flavours. Affogatos have always been my go to sweet treat there. It is perfect because you don't need too much gelato to make it taste great, and it just becomes this amazing melty pool of deliciousness!ReplyCancel

  • Allyson27/04/2016 - 10:59 am

    Affogato is the only way I like coffee, and I love the look of this particular affogato. And as someone who doesn’t own an ice cream maker I appreciate your thorough investigation of alternate methods of freezing. I hear what you’re saying about not having a lot of dessert recipes on your blog, but for me it’s a very different problem. I’m a pastry cook by profession, and so when I’m trying to figure out what to post I rarely do desserts, because the ones I gravitate to are so complex and not well suited to online spaces. Plus, a few squares of dark chocolate really is the best everyday dessert.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Well and Full27/04/2016 - 12:05 pm

    I loooooove that you made this affogato with banana ice cream. For someone who doesn’t have an ice cream maker (aka me) this is perfect. Also love the combination of coffee + chai, it reminds me of my Starbucks order ;)ReplyCancel

  • Simone27/04/2016 - 12:16 pm

    Good lord. This is all the things I love in one cup! Laura, you’re a crazy genius.ReplyCancel

  • Keara McGraw27/04/2016 - 1:25 pm

    Frickkkkkkk this looks amazing! Holy s. My less than glamorous kitchen can totally handle this, thank you for the multiple options regarding freezing the mixtures! Also… “I can’t handle the agony of dessert defeat”––Laura, that is literally my life. Sooo embarrassing to stay up way past my (grandmotherly) bedtime just to attempt to salvage a batch of freaking cupcakes. I need more agony-free dessert ventures, heh. This is gorgeous!!ReplyCancel

  • Libby27/04/2016 - 2:58 pm

    Are you kidding me?

    Dirty. Yes.
    Masala. Yessss.
    Chai. MMHMM!

    You got me so enthusiastic.ReplyCancel

  • Jaime27/04/2016 - 5:48 pm

    I’ve never had affogato! I’m much the same with sweets/desserts (down to the dessert routine of chocolate or a sweet drink) — so I loved your framing of affogato as something that can actually be less fussy than a pastry or baked dessert. It’s not something I ever considered making at home. Loving your play on flavors here, too. Thanks for the push.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina Abram27/04/2016 - 6:59 pm

    This looks sooooo good!! Love the dirty chai flavour!ReplyCancel

  • I love affogato! This looks so, so good and the pictures are beautiful!

    Well done!ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn28/04/2016 - 7:08 am

    Don’t even worry about the dessert situation lady!!! I love that you post amazing savory recipes that are approachable and real meal food…I mean, that’s the inspiration I need/love!!! Desserts great and all, but its all over the vegan blog world…its amazing healthy delicious plant based entrees that are lacking in that community… and you totally bring it!!!ReplyCancel

  • Stacy Ladenburger28/04/2016 - 1:20 pm

    I am a big fan of the affogato, and this rendition looks amazing. I’m also very in favor of you writing about whatever you most love on your blog. There are other sources for pastry, after all. ;) But this fits the bill for easy company dessert for sure!ReplyCancel

  • thefolia28/04/2016 - 1:31 pm

    Viva la affogato and of course masala chai! My days would be lost without them. Happy feasting!ReplyCancel

  • Jessie Snyder | Faring Well29/04/2016 - 5:21 pm

    Thank you for introducing me to this creamer Laura! I just saw that it’s sold at my favorite market here in town, picking some up this weekend! And I want to dive head first into a bucket of this ice cream. STAT.ReplyCancel

  • […] best I could. And boy, did my favorite peeps deliver. Can we get a hallelujah for the AH-mazing Dirty Masala Chai Affogato The First Mess created?? And of course, everyday social media reminds me how much avocado toast […]ReplyCancel

  • Eden Passante10/05/2016 - 1:25 pm

    Everything about this sounds unbelievable!! Looks so good!ReplyCancel

  • mammina — Life. Love. Ideas.29/05/2016 - 5:01 pm

    […] 10. I may be running behind on this, but I have just discovered dirty chai masalas. This recipe though! […]ReplyCancel

  • […] a dirty chai affogato. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] affogato is. I’m saying this because I had never heard of it until Laura of The First Mess posted a recipe for it. I saw it and was immediately inspired to create my own! Plus, I’m all about the banana […]ReplyCancel

  • […] it!pin it! Take my obsession with all things dirty chai (see here and here), add a little pumpkin, and you’ve got what I’m calling the dirty deluxe. It’s a […]ReplyCancel

  • Hanna29/08/2017 - 6:45 am

    Great Recipe!! Looks like a great time.ReplyCancel

  • […] use nutpods in my cooking too (see here and here), so when I had a craving for that creamy-crispy polenta again, I tipped a luscious pour of their […]ReplyCancel

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