Coffee Bean Granita

We are both serious coffee people. I drink an extra-hot soy latte every morning, and Alex drinks a large cup of black coffee. We're grumpy if the coffee is bad, happy when the coffee is good, and we're far too dependent to consider weaning off it.

In our lives, coffee items are divided into two categories: important morning coffee and whatever anytime coffee. The soy lattes and black cups are important morning coffee -- if anyone messes with the flavor, beware. Whatever anytime coffee is more flexible -- sometimes an iced glass in the afternoon, sometimes coffee ice cream in the evenings.

This granita also falls into the category of whatever anytime coffee. It actually has a very strong coffee flavor, and it's pretty healthy as desserts go since it's just coffee, ice and sugar. We added just a touch of whipped cream on top, which worked wonders with the sharp flavor. This makes a perfect hot afternoon snack or warm evening dessert.

The recipe, which is from Epicurious, takes about 7 hours total, though only about an hour of actual work goes into it.

4 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups whole coffee beans (about 6 ounces)
1/4 cup coffee liqueur (such as Tia Maria or Kahlúa)

Combine water and sugar in large saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil 3 minutes, then stir in coffee beans and boil an additional 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat, then cover and let steep until mixture is cool, about 3 hours. Strain liquid into 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Throw away coffee beans, or reserve some for garnish. Stir coffee liqueur into liquid in dish. Freeze until firm, stirring every 45 minutes, about 5 hours.