Dolce: Italian Dessert Recipes

The meal isn’t over in Italy until something sweet, or dolce, hits the tongue. Go simple with fresh fruit and biscotti, or step it up with a rich Italian indulgence.

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©2009, Jeremiah Alley

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Gelato Affogato

Affogato couldn't be easier — just pour some hot espresso over good-quality vanilla ice cream — but the combination of two simple ingredients is an elegant and delicious one.

Get the Recipe: Gelato Affogato

Sfogliatelle

Flaky, golden-brown layers of dough melt away to reveal a creamy ricotta filling. Even though a pastry this beautiful looks difficult to make, the prep actually takes less than 30 minutes — waiting for the dough to rest overnight is the longest part of the recipe.

Get the Recipe: Zeppieri's Sfogliatelle

Tiramisu

David Rocco's traditional tiramisu is a creamy concoction of layered lady finger cookies, fresh mascarpone, bittersweet chocolate and dark espresso.

Get the Recipe: Tiramisu

Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

Giada's cookies are light and zesty. Creamy ricotta keeps them moist and fresh, while tangy lemon zest balances out the sweet glaze.

Get the Recipe: Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

Italian Ice

Make your own Italian ices at home with Giada's simple steps. A little shaved ice, fresh mint, lemon and sweet raspberry syrup and you're good to go!

Get the Recipe: Italian Ice

Espresso Chocolate Mousse with Orange Mascarpone Whipped Cream

A little bit of espresso powder in the chocolate mousse and orange zest in the whipped cream is all you need to make a fresh and satisfying spin on a dessert favorite.

Get the Recipe: Espresso Chocolate Mousse with Orange Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Chocolate Sformato with Amaretto Whip Cream

Giada's gorgeous cake is light and airy, delicately flavored with bittersweet chocolate and almond liqueur and festively decorated with toasted, sliced almonds.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Sformato with Amaretto Whip Cream

Amaretto Tiramisu for Two

Amaretto liqueur and amaretti cookies are the key ingredients for this easy take on tiramisu, portioned perfectly for two.

Get the Recipe: Amaretto Tiramisu for Two

Chocolate Hazelnut Zeppole

Instead of eating an entire jar of chocolate-hazelnut spread by the spoonful, pipe it into homemade zeppole — aka Italian doughnuts.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Hazelnut Zeppole

Castagnaccio: Chestnut Flour Cake

This unusual cake is thin and crispy, and features an alluring blend of sweet and savory flavors: raisins and orange zest, pine nuts and rosemary.

Get the Recipe: Castagnaccio: Chestnut Flour Cake

Souffle al Cioccolato

David's souffle is elegant and simple; a straightforward affair of high-quality dark chocolate transformed into a delicate and airy dessert.

Get the Recipe: Souffle Al Cioccolato

Carla's Torta di Ricotta

This delightful tart from David Rocco is filled with ricotta and bittersweet chocolate, and finished off with delicately arranged pear slices. Apricot jam gives it a final layer of flavor and makes everything glisten.

Get the Recipe: Carla's Torta Di Ricotta

Biscotti Di Prato

These biscotti, with raw almonds, orange zest and a light sugar glaze, are crunchy, sweet and absolutely perfect for dipping into a traditional glass of Vin Santo at the end of your meal.

Get the Recipe: Biscotti Di Prato

Risotto al Cioccolator: Chocolate Risotto

This playful dessert takes a typically savory dish and adds milk, sugar, bittersweet chocolate and chopped walnuts to Arborio rice for a rice pudding-style take on risotto.

Get the Recipe: Risotto Al Cioccolator: Chocolate Risotto

Bruti Ma Buoni

These "ugly but good cookies" may look a little rough on the outside, but true to their name are deliciously nutty and just a little bit chocolatey thanks to a mix of toasted hazelnuts and almonds and a touch of cocoa powder.

Get the Recipe: Brutti Ma Buoni

Gianluca's Cioccolatini: Chocolate Martini

This romantic, dessert-worthy cocktail is made from vodka and chocolate liqueur. For an elegant presentation, rub the rim of your martini glass with a pear and dip it in finely chopped chocolate.

Get the Recipe: Gianluca's Cioccolatini: Chocolate Martini

Lingue di Gatto: 'Cat Got Your Tongue' Cookie

These playfully named cookies are crisp and sweet, elegant and light as air, and are the perfect touch of sweet to finish any meal.

Get the Recipe: Lingue di Gatto: Cat Got Your Tongue Cookie

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

If you're a stranger to this combination, the tangy and slightly sweet nature of balsamic vinegar is a wonderful counterpoint to luscious, fresh strawberries.

Get the Recipe: Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate

This decadent cake uses a timesaving combination of boxed chocolate cake mix and a homemade mascarpone frosting. Top it off with bittersweet chocolate and candied toasted hazelnuts.

Get the Recipe: Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate

Ricotta With Vanilla-Sugar Croutons and Berries

Creamy ricotta gets some fresh flavor with citrus zest, mint and a little homemade vanilla sugar. Topped with sweet ciabatta croutons, tangy syrup and fresh berries, this is a light and sweet way to end any meal.

Get the Recipe: Ricotta with Vanilla-Sugar Croutons and Berries