(Adapted from a recipe by Yvonne Ruperti on Serious Eats)
Because it’s loaded with chocolate, this is richer and creamier than your typical icy granita—although it still has plenty of that crunchy, cooling appeal. A bit of chili powder and a dash of cayenne give already-cinnamony Mexican chocolate plenty of Latin flavor. (If you need a little inspiration, or wonder what granita is, read my post about granita.)
Makes about 1 quart
2 cups brewed strong coffee
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup natural cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/6 teaspoon cayenne powder
One 3.2-ounce disc Mexican chocolate, chopped (see below)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the coffee, sugar, cocoa powder, chili powder, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne, whisking until smooth. Add the chocolate, whisking until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch glass or metal baking pan and set aside until cooled to room temperature.
Transfer the baking pan to the freezer and freeze, stirring with a fork every hour or so, for 3 to 5 hours. Continue to freeze until completely frozen, 2 to 3 hours.
Break the granita up with a fork before serving.
NOTE You can find Mexican chocolate in the Latin or ethnic section of most major supermarkets. Look for the cylindrical packages—they’ll contain 6 discs apiece, each slightly more than 3 ounces. If you can’t find Mexican chocolate, substitute 3 ounces of semisweet chocolate plus 1/8 teaspoon additional cinnamon.