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Plates of caramel macchiato panna cotta garnished with homemade chocolate salted caramel sauce and garnished with espresso beans.



An Italian classic, this caramel macchiato panna cotta has your favorite coffee drink flavors in an easy and elegant dessert.



For the salted chocolate caramel sauce:

  • 1 cup good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped (I used Ghiradelli)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the panna cotta:

  • 1 cup whole milk, divided
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 4 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream, divided
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Plain or chocolate-covered espresso beans as a garnish


Make the caramel.

Place the chocolate chips into a glass bowl.

Microwave the chocolate on medium power in 30-second intervals, stirring after each one, until melted and smooth.  Set aside to cool.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stir the water, sugar, and salt together until combined.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved.

Reduce the heat to medium and without stirring, allow the mixture to take on a deep caramel color.

Occasionally swirl the pan around gently to ensure that the mixture caramelizes evenly.  This will take 20 minutes or more, depending on your stove.  Don’t increase the heat or the mixture will scorch.

Remove the pot from the heat and gradually pour in the heavy cream, whisking constantly.  The mixture will bubble up, so be careful not to get burned or allow it to bubble over the side of the pot.

Stir in the vanilla.

Place the pot back over medium-low heat.

Stir in the chocolate until completely combined and the mixture is silky smooth.

Carefully pour the sauce into a heat-proof jar and allow it to cool completely before using.  Don’t place the lid on the jar until AFTER the sauce cools.  You don’t want condensation to form and drip on the top of your sauce.

The sauce will thicken as it cools and get very thick when refrigerated.

Make the panna cotta.

In a small bowl, stir together ¼ cup of the milk, the gelatin, and the instant espresso until combined. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the remaining ¾ cup whole milk, granulated sugar, and salt until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is steaming, but not boiling.

Stir in the gelatin mixture and continue to warm the mixture for another half a minute, not allowing it to come to a boil.

Set the mixture aside to cool for 30 minutes.

Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl.  Pour the gelatin mixture into the strainer and use the back of a spoon to push it through the strainer.

Whisk in ½ cup of heavy cream. Set aside.

In a medium glass or copper bowl, combine the remaining ½ cup of heavy cream and vanilla.  Whisk the mixture until very soft peaks form.

Fold the whipped cream into the coffee/gelatin mixture.

Spoon the mixture into four molds or ramekins and chill for 3-4 hours.  If you’re using silicone molds, they are easier to unmold if you freeze the panna cotta first.  Unmold the dessert onto a serving dish and allow it to thaw on the counter for about 15 minutes.

Spoon the cooled chocolate caramel over the panna cotta and garnish with espresso beans.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Chilling time: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: caramel macchiato panna cotta, panna cotta, espresso, homemade chocolate salted caramel sauce, Italian desserts, coffee desserts