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Espresso Parfait with Chocolate Caramel Sauce Recipe

4.50 from 4 votes
My Espresso Parfait with Chocolate Caramel Sauce recipe makes an eye-catching and palate-pleasing dessert of rich tastes and velvety texture.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE: Espresso Parfait with Chocolate Caramel Sauce is a lush, creamy, restaurant-level dessert you can easily make at home without an ice cream mixer or special equipment. It needs six hours in the freezer, so it’s a perfect make-ahead dessert for a party.

A richly-flavored espresso custard mixture is frozen and cut into slices, giving you an irresistible chilled treat. Pour my decadent deep dark Chocolate Carmel sauce over the Espresso Parfait, and you have a dessert that’s sophisticated enough to transport you to Paris but is as sweetly satisfying as a childhood ice cream sundae.

Table of Contents

What is Espresso Parfait With Chocolate Caramel Sauce?

Espresso Parfait with Chocolate Caramel Sauce is an espresso coffee dessert topped with a bittersweet chocolate caramel sauce.

A slice of richly-flavored velvety espresso parfait is drizzled with smooth chocolate caramel sauce, served on a silver dessert plate with a fork. A glass cup of extra chocolate caramel sauce is in the top left corner and a second plate of Espresso Parfait with Chocolate Caramel Sauce is in the top right corner.

American parfaits, such as my Breakfast Parfait, usually combine layers of yogurt or ice cream, fruit, and other toppings. Comparatively, a French parfait is a custard-based mixture of egg yolks, cream, sugar, and flavorings that is frozen in a loaf pan and served in slices.

Both Parfait and Semifreddo are no-churn frozen desserts. Parfait is a custard mixture with egg yolks,  while Semifreddo is a meringue mixture with only the whites.

Tools You Need for Espresso Parfait with Chocolate Caramel Sauce

Key Ingredients for Espresso Parfait With Chocolate Caramel and Why

Egg yolks

  • Using only the yolks gives the Espresso Parfait its velvety richness.
  • Beating the egg yolks well incorporates air to add volume, which is key to theEspresso Parfait’s mouse-like texture.

Granulated sugar (aka regular sugar or caster sugar)

  • In the Espresso Parfait, the sugar is heated with the water, espresso powder, and vanilla to make a syrup that’s whisked into the eggs.
  • In the Chocolate Caramel Sauce, sugar and water are simmered for a longer time in order to get caramelized. Check out my How to Make Caramel for detailed pro tips.

Espresso powder

  • Espresso powder not only enriches the parfait but also balances with sugar and cream yielding a mellow coffee flavor.

Heavy whipping cream

  • Heavy whipping cream or heavy cream is just natural FRESH CREAM skimmed from milk, with a fat content of around 36% to be able to whip up well.
  • Regular or light cream will not work in this recipe due to a low fat content.
  • Heavy cream aerates the parfait and enriches the sauce.

Bittersweet chocolate

  • Bittersweet chocolate (63 – 72 % cocoa solids)  is darker and more profound than semisweet chocolate with the perfect balance of bitter and sweet.
  • Check out my Ultimate Guide to Chocolate to know more about when and how to use different types of chocolate.


Salt adds an essential briny note to the Chocolate Caramel Sauce, keeping the sauce from being overly sweet.

How to Make Espresso Parfait with Chocolate Caramel Sauce

Preliminary steps

  • Line a loaf pan with clingfilm.
  • Put egg yolks in a bowl, and place it on a towel near the stovetop to prevent it from moving while whisking in the hot sugar. Or you can use a stand mixer on low instead of mixing by hand so you don’t have to use both hands during this step.
  • Chill an additional bowl that you’ll be using to whip the cream, and be sure to chill the cream, too.

Make the parfait

  • Espresso syrup:
    • Bring the sugar, water, espresso powder, and vanilla extract to a simmer over medium heat .
  • Custard:
    • Slowly stream in the heated espresso syrup while whisking the egg yolks. This “introducing” method will avoid cooking egg yolks.
    • After throughly combining the yolks and espresso syrup, return the mixture to the pan and cook for a few minutes over low heat until thickened.
    • Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove any bits of egg. Set the custard aside to cool.
  • Assemble the Parfait:
    • Beat the cream to stiff peaks, and fold it into the cooled custard.
    • Spoon into the prepared loaf pan and freeze for at least six hours.

Make the chocolate caramel sauce

  • Caramel:
    • Make sure to let sugar COMPLETELY dissolve first before bringing it to a simmer. Otherwise, the sugar tends to crystallize.
    • Once the sugar comes to a simmer NO MORE STIRRING. Cook until it reaches a deep amber color.
    • Pour in the heavy cream and salt, CONSTANTLY WHISK until all the cream is incorporated.
  • Adding chocolate: 
    • After it has come to a simmer, pour it over the chocolate in the bowl. Let it sit UNDISTURBED for 5 minutes.
    • Whisk the caramel and melted chocolate together.

Silky smooth Chocolate caramel sauce is dripping from a spoon into a glass bowl with two handles.

Can I Make Espresso Parfait With Chocolate Caramel Sauce in Advance?

Yes. The parfait has to freeze for at least six hours, so make it the day before or even a week in advance. The sauce will keep in the fridge for eight weeks.

How to Store Espresso Parfait With Chocolate Caramel Sauce?

You can store leftover parfait for four weeks in the freezer. Cover well in cling wrap to avoid freezer burn.


What’s the difference between a parfait and no-churn ice cream?

  • Most no-churn ice creams are egg-free and made by whipping cream with condensed milk for a super-quick frozen treat. Try and enjoy my Easiest Homemade Ice Cream Recipe with 50+ Flavors!
  • Parfait contains eggs and is a frozen custard with whipped cream folded in, which gives it a more complex flavor and richer texture.

Why does the caramel mixture have to reach DEEP AMBER color before adding cream ?

This also explains why caramel turns grainy after cooling when the mixture didn’t reach DEEP AMBER color before adding cream:

In short, a deep amber color is a telltale sign of sugar melting properly to turn into liquid sugar to form a smooth rather than grainy caramel.

  • When sugar only dissolves, these whole sucrose molecules separate from one another. The molecule itself doesn’t come apart. Granulated sugar is still granulated sugar floating in a sugar-water solution. So when it cools, sugar granules are still there and the caramel turns grainy.
  • When sugar is heated to a certain point at which sugar resembles a deep amber color, its molecules start to break down. As the heat continues, different types of compounds start producing liquid sugar. So when it cooled , it could reach a softer and stickier liquid-sugar texture.

My caramel crystalized–what happened?

  • Caramel crystallized due to uneven heat from a thin-bottomed sauce pan, dramatic temperature change, raising the heat too early, improper stirring, lack of stirring, and lack of cooking time.
  • Be sure to read through my article of How To Make Caramel (Troubleshooting Guide & Video) to perfect a Caramel Sauce every time!

Gemma’s Pro-Chef Tips for Espresso Parfait With Chocolate Caramel

  • Line the sieve with cheesecloth to get an even finer strain with the custard.
  • The best way to test if the cream is at stiff peaks is to remove the beater from the cream. If it holds a peak shape without falling back onto itself, it’s at stiff peaks.
  • Under whip rather than over-whip to prevent the cream from separating.
  • Use a stainless steel pan, not an aluminum pan, when making caramel. This prevents the caramel from cracking.
  • Don’t stir the caramel while it’s cooking, but you can use a pastry brush and a cup of water to push down sugar crystals that accumulate on the sides of the pan.

More Frozen Desserts

Espresso Parfait with Chocolate-Caramel Sauce recipe

4.50 from 4 votes
My Espresso Parfait with Chocolate Caramel Sauce recipe makes an eye-catching and palate-pleasing dessert of rich tastes and velvety texture.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 8 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Freeze Time 6 hours
My Espresso Parfait with Chocolate Caramel Sauce recipe makes an eye-catching and palate-pleasing dessert of rich tastes and velvety texture.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 8 servings


For the Espresso Parfait

  • 8 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (8 oz/225 g) granulated sugar
  • cup (5 fl oz/142 ml) water
  • cup (1 ⅓ oz/37 g) espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/240 ml) heavy whipping cream

For the Chocolate Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup (6 oz/170 g) bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped
  • 1 cup (8 oz/225 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (4 fl oz/120 ml) water
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/240 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt


To Make the Parfait

  • Line a 9x5-inch (23x12 ½ cm) loaf pan with cling wrap, leaving about 4 inches (10 cm) hanging over the edge on all sides. Set aside.
  • Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl next to the stove. It might help to place a towel underneath it to hold it in place.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine the sugar, water, espresso powder and vanilla extract and bring to a simmer.
  • While continuously whisking the egg yolks, slowly drizzle the hot sugar syrup into the eggs.
  • Once combined, transfer the mixture back into the pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Just a few minutes.
  • Immediately strain the mixture through a fine sieve into the bowl and set aside to cool down for 15 minutes.
  • Using a stand or hand mixer, whip the cream to stiff peaks on high speed and then fold it into the custard until evenly combined.
  • Spread the parfait base into the prepared loaf pan, cover with the overhanging plastic wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours.

Make the Chocolate-Caramel Sauce

  • Place the finely chopped bittersweet chocolate in a medium, heat-proof bowl and set aside.
  • In a medium, high-sided saucepan over medium heat, allow the sugar to dissolve in the water. Once it has, turn up the heat and let it simmer without stirring until it reaches a deep amber color.
  • Carefully pour in the heavy cream (it will bubble up and steam) and salt, whisk constantly and let the caramel sauce come to a simmer.
  • Remove from the heat and pour directly over the chopped chocolate. Let this sit for 5 minutes without stirring to allow the chocolate to melt. After 5 minutes, use a whisk to combine the chocolate and the caramel.
  • Transfer the sauce to a jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. It will keep in the fridge for up to 8 weeks.
  • To serve, warm up the sauce in a small pot or the microwave until liquefied.
  • Unwrap the parfait and either slice or scoop onto serving dishes and drizzle with the sauce. Serve immediately. Store the leftover parfait in the freezer for up to 4 weeks.
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11 months ago

Hi… amazing recipe… tried it with coffee it was mind blowing and also without coffee to make it vanilla flavoured and it was even more delicious!! Now I wish to use the same recipe and make it a chocolate flavoured one… my thought is that we add bitter sweet chocolate instead of coffee and melt with sugar and vanilla extract !! Do you think it would work ? My only worry is chocolate and water don’t go together so want to do with water !! Maybe add yolks first and chocolate in the end ? Also can you advise on… Read more »

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.


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