Mocha Mint Granita
Granita is reputed to have been made in Roman times, and I've been making coffee granita for over 30 years, so this immediately came to mind. However, since it is so popular and traditional, I challenged myself to come up with a fresh twist on the old favorite. The mint crop is burgeoning and I found a box of Ghirardelli chocolate in the cupboard, so: mocha mint granita. Served with freshly whipped cream, it was reminiscent of mint oreo cookies-and-cream accompanied by a rich cup of fresh espresso.
6 C water
3 oz dark coffee, pulverized as for espresso
2 oz sugar
2 oz Ghirardelli chocolate powder (unsweetened)
1/2 cup (packed) fresh mint, minced
1 C heavy cream
mint leaves for garnish
Bring the water to a boil. Place in glass or earthenware container and stir in coffee, sugar, mint and chocolate. Place container on extra low flame or heated serving tray and steep for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture should not boil or even simmer. Strain through extra-fine sieve. Allow to cool to room temperature and carefully pour off liquid through another strainer, being careful not to disturb any sediment that has settled to the bottom of the container. Chill liquid.
Freeze in an ice cream maker until stiff and crystallized. Place in plastic container and fluff with a fork, then keep frozen until serving time. To serve, allow it to soften slightly and give it another fluffing. Whip the cream until stiff. Find a friend with a nice collection of interesting martini glasses (thanks Joe & Julia!) and fill one halfway up with cream and top with granita. Garnish with mint leaves.