The Best Winter Dessert:: Affogato

Panforte Ice Cream Affogato with Italian Almond Cake |

If I haven’t yet convinced you to love Italian cuisine, specifically desserts, I am almost certain today’s post about affogato will change your mind.

Traditionally, affogato is a scoop or two of vanilla, chocolate, or coffee gelato topped with a shot of espresso. While you can always buy high-quality ice cream from your local market, there’s nothing like making it yourself, especially with this Italian twist: panforte affogato.

Panforte is an Italian fruitcake of sorts. You can make it yourself, scoop it up online, or you can often find it at stores like Trader Joe’s. You’ll need just a pinch of panforte to make this dessert, but trust me, it makes all the difference.

This recipe comes from my friend, Alisa Barry. Give it a try. You’ll love it!

Panforte Ice Cream Affogato
serves 8

You will need:
– 1 cup whole milk
– 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
– 1 cup of sugar
– 5 egg yolks
– 2 cups of cream
– 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
– 4 ounces panforte (an Italian sweet dessert “bread” found in specialty stores or online)
– 8 ounces espresso

To prepare:

In a small saucepan, warm the milk, sugar and vanilla bean over medium low heat just until the sugar is dissolved. Remove a ¼ cup of the milk and sugar mixture and add to the egg yolks to temper, so the eggs don’t curdle. Add the egg mixture back to the milk and continue to cook, while stirring, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Strain the mixture into the cream, scraping any bits of vanilla bean into the mixture. Add the vanilla extract. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and chill until ready to churn. This recipe can be made a day ahead.

In a food processor, chop 4 ounces of panforte until ground, but not pulverized. (Reserve a tablespoon for garnish)

Churn the ice cream, adding the chopped panforte and continuing to churn until evenly distributed into the ice cream. Freeze until ready to serve.

To make the affogato, scoop the ice cream into glasses. Pour strong, freshly brewed coffee or espresso over the ice cream. Garnish with a sprinkling of the chopped panforte.

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Swedish Themed Party featuered in Atlanta Magazine’s Home


As the Entertaining Editor for Atlanta Magazine’s Home, guess what? I get to attend and throw a lot of parties. I must admit, though that I love a good party and lately the shoots for AMH have been one great party after another. This month we feature one of my favorite creatives in Atlanta, Helen Ballard. A design trailblazer, she’s always on point and ahead of the curve. Her trendy Swedish Solstice party knocked it out of the park. I was excited to be invited, and the food was divine, so try the recipes. Pick up a copy today and let me know what you think. It’s also available online. Let summer begin!

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Photos by: Amber Fouts

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Spring Paella Party

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Hi ! Nicole here, I am Annette’s web manager, and friend, back in the fall, Annette invited me and a few other fabulous friends to come to her home and enjoy a spring-inspired paella party and photo shoot for Atlanta’s Magazine Home. Of course we were there to shoot a spread for the premiere issue of the magazine, but we were also there to enjoy the yummy food and great company. In between posing this way and that, we were able to feast on an incredible paella dish along with a cheese plate fit for a king and heavenly pots de creme. Suffice to say there wasn’t a hungry person in the house.


Even though the party was held in the late fall, the weather could not have been better. It was just cool enough to enjoy drinks by the fire, but warm enough still to sit with the windows open and take it all in. The ambiance was perfect and the company couldn’t have been better. We ate, we laughed, and we smiled for the camera. I have to say, I had no idea whatsoever how much work went into a magazine shoot. It is definitely not all fun and games (although we did have fun). There was an incredible amount of time spent on set-up and angles and color and candlelight and lighting. I was in awe of it all. It was a lot of hard work for the team, but lots of fun for the guests to experience. When do you every get to watch the pros at work and be a super model…um never. I loved it! Thanks for the memories Annette!

Stay tuned for the paella recipe later this week!

xo, Nicole

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#pppholidaytable giveaway :: Thanksgiving winners announced!

I had the best time looking through the entries for my first instagram #pppholidaytable giveaway event. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and setting the table every year is the best!

There were 3 winners with varied backgrounds and from all over the world. Two of our entries were first timers on some level which is amazing!

1. La Petite Americaine lives in Paris. She is American and sent this beautiful setting. Check out her blog and follow her on instagram for her view of Paris that is very food centric. She wrote that she missed Thanksgiving in the U.S. and decided why not have herself a merry little Thanksgiving. Brava! Exactly! Why not?! Just gorgeous, but it is Paris after all…

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2. Love Lilly, the blogger from Miami. Lilly set her holiday table for Thanksgiving for the first time in her newly renovated home. She did a beautiful job! Check out her blog  Lilly Pond(ering)

Here’s a little background on Lilly’s table setting; I love this background story!  Just lovely; thanks Lilly!

:: “My husband and I just moved into our new house after a long renovation and wanted to host Thanksgiving for the first time! I wanted to make sure the food was delicious and that everything looked lovely for our guests. I had purchased the napkins, tablecloths, vases, glasses, and plates earlier in preparation (party of 16!). I bought place cards, flowers, and feathers the day before to see what I could do to dress the table, and this is what I came up with when I finally got to set the table!


3. Julie Witzel did a gorgeous job with a very modern take on Thanksgiving which I loved.

I loved this quote from Julie :: “I had so much fun putting that table together as it was the first holiday my family has ever let me host (I’m the youngest, and I live in the smallest apartment). Perhaps now they will come here more often.”

Check out their website here.

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Thanks to everyone that shared their gorgeous holiday tables; they were really all just Picture Perfect. Have a great weekend. xx

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Thanksgiving Place Settings

IMG_6873 Every year around this time of year, I start thinking about what my table might look like for Thanksgiving. I start pulling things together around my table and decide what style I like best. I suggest you do the same. In my cookbook Picture Perfect Parties, I stress the importance of thinking and planning ahead. In the next few weeks, I will be posting recipes for Thanksgiving from my book, so stay tuned and let the planning begin!

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I love the holiday season, and can’t wait to share it all with you. xx

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