For our second installment of the June Cook Book Challenge, I opted to dive into a coffee-focused cookbook we received as a gift from my Mom called Coffee: Scrumptious Drinks and Treats. I mean, how can anyone say no to a book with “scrumptious” in the title? You can’t. It would make you a terrorist. Plus, as we know Mike loves anything coffee flavored so I decided to make him a treat. The actual recipe I tried was one I’ve had bookmarked since last summer – a coffee granita. What could be better for a steamy June afternoon?
So, by all accounts making a granita is not a difficult task but I managed to screw it up anyway. If you do it right, a coffee granita is a simple combination of brewed coffee, simple syrup and in this recipe a touch of vanilla. Mix it together, pour it into a shallow pan and then visit this mixture every thirty minutes to disturb it with your fork, creating that granular granita texture we all know and love.
My first misstep was taking the “shallow pan” instruction too literally. What I didn’t manage to piece together until we were mid-pour is how difficult it is to handle a shallow pan full of liquid without sloshing the mixture all over the kitchen. Stop. Collaborate. Plan B. We put the liquid into a (clean) roasting pan with sides at least 2 inches high. I highly recommend you consider doing the same.
My second flummox came later in the night. We intended to have the granita that evening and I was dutiful about my trips to the freezer to stir the mixture. Regardless, after one too many glasses of wine we completely lost interest in granita in favor of falling asleep on the couch in front of the Colbert Report (yeah. we’re cool. wanna hang out?).
So the next night I pull the tray back out of the freezer and, sure enough, all that forking was overcome by a night in the freezer. I now had a sheet of frozen coffee. I bet Dunkin Donuts never had to put up with this. In the long run, all I had to do was let the granita defrost and then crush it up again, although the consistency never got to look quite as nice as I had hoped.
We served the granitas in large wine glasses with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. They were just what the doctor ordered – sweet, coffee-flavored ice crunch. The recipe makes 6 servings which means we have plenty of leftovers. I look forward to digging into more.
Coffee Granita adapted from Coffeeby Betty Rosbottom
In a saucepan, combine 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugarover medium heat until sugar dissolves. Pour this simple syrup into a small bowl and refrigerate until cold. Brew the coffee with 2 1/4 cups of water. Combine coffee with cooled syrup in a medium bowl and stir in 1 ts vanilla. Pour mixture into freezer-safe pan (watch those edges).
Freeze, stirring the mixture every thirty minutes to keep from freezing into a single sheet. Keep doing this for 3 to 4 hours until it reaches a grainy consistency.
To serve, spoon into a chillled glass and top with whipped cream.