Cappuccino Granita: A Hand-Made Italian Frozen Dessert

Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD
Total Time 10 min
Prep 10 min, Cook 0 min
Yield 5 3/4-cup servings (73 cals)

A granita is a hand-made Italian frozen dessert with a slushy texture. This dessert is light and refreshing on a hot day, and will appeal to all of you coffee lovers out there. Lactose-free milk makes it suitable for a low-FODMAP diet. It is very easy and requires little hands-on time, but plan ahead as it does take a number of hours to properly freeze.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups extra-strong brewed coffee
  • 5 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup lactose-free whole milk

Preparation

  1. Since flavors are muted when icy cold, make extra-strong coffee using your preferred brewing method. Clear a flat space in your freezer. The bottom, back shelf is coldest. Have a 9-inch round or an 8 x 8 x 2-inch pan on hand, preferably metal. Glass or ceramic can be used, but will freeze much slower.
  2. Place cocoa powder in a medium bowl. While coffee is still very hot (reheat it if yours has cooled), add about ¼ cup of coffee to cocoa powder and whisk to make a smooth, thick slurry that is slightly thicker than heavy cream.
  1. Add another ½ cup of coffee and stir until mixed. Stir in the remaining coffee.
  2. Add sugar and whisk until it is dissolved. Whisk in cinnamon, vanilla, and milk. Pour into the baking pan and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Re-stir the liquid, as the cocoa may have settled to the bottom, and place flat in the freezer.
  3. After 1 to 2 hours, the mixture will start freezing along the edges (the timing of this will vary depending on the temperature of your freezer and the type of pan). Use a fork, with the tines curving downward, to scrape ice crystals from the pan edges and corners to the center. Mix to redistribute ice and liquid, breaking up the larger chunks.
  4. Repeat the scraping, ice-breaking, and mixing every 1 to 2 hours. The mixture will become slushy. Continue until no liquid remains and slush is frozen solid. Once it is completely frozen, run the fork over mixture and scrape again (use some elbow grease!) to create thin flaky crystals.

    Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

    Substitute ¼ teaspoon almond extract for the vanilla, or use a combination of the two.

    Cooking and Serving Tips

    Adding cocoa to hot liquid “blooms” the cocoa, making its flavor more complex and prominent.

    For a pretty presentation, serve in wine or martini glasses garnished with a dollop of whipped cream and a teaspoon of shaved chocolate.

    If you are sensitive to caffeine, use decaf coffee so you can enjoy a treat in the evening without keeping yourself awake! Alternatively, use caffeinated coffee for an afternoon pick-me-up.

    In hot weather, chill serving bowls or wine glasses for 20 to 30 minutes before serving to slow down the melting. Granita will keep for several weeks, frozen in an airtight container. Just before serving, re-flake the granita if necessary.

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