My new favorite neighborhood spot is an unassuming jazz club that from the outside looks like it's in a state of only marginal operation. I never would have thought twice about it if a friend hadn't played there the other night, but the minute I walked in, I was enchanted by the music, the unexpected smell of gourmet pizza, and the fancy old-school cocktails offerings.
We had come from dinner, so after my friends and I sat down and took in the scene, we ordered two equally unexpected desserts-blood orange and coffee granitas. Both were perfectly refreshing, but I especially loved the sweet pick-me-up of the coffee. This is definitely my next impressive-but-very-simple dinner party dessert.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
2 cups hot espresso or very strong coffee
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar(I used brown sugar for the granita and white for the whipped cream)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chilled heavy whipping cream(or you can use store-bought whipped cream)
Bittersweet chocolate shavings, chunks, or mini-chips
1. Stir the espresso, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Pour into a metal baking pan and freeze for 1 hour. Stir, mashing any frozen parts with the back of a fork. Cover; freeze until firm, about 2 hours. Using a fork, scrape granita vigorously to form icy flakes.
2. Beat cream and remaining tablespoon sugar in a large bowl until peaks form. Divide granita among bowls or glasses. Top with whipped cream and garnish with chocolate shavings.
*This can be made a few days ahead. Cover it tightly with foil, keep frozen, and give it a quick scrape before serving.