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Low-Calorie Espresso Granita Recipe

This frozen dessert comes in at under 200 calories, and we bet you'll want this instead of ice cream now.
Low-Calorie Espresso Granita RecipeMitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

A trip to the ice cream parlor used to mean a single scoop of ice cream atop a sugar cone, a perfect little 200-calorie treat. Now, at places like Häagen-Dazs, Baskin-Robbins, and Cold Stone—where serving sizes have grown out of control and high-calorie add-ins are the standard—that same trip to the scoop shop may set you back 1,000 calories. When it comes to dessert, it’s best to stay in—especially if you learn to make granitas, frozen desserts that are every bit as satisfying as ice cream and easy enough for a 6-year-old to make. And that’s where our espresso granita comes in.

Nutrition: 170 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated), 28 g sugar

Serves 4

You’ll Need

2 cups espresso or very strong brewed coffee, warmed
1⁄2 cup sugar
Light whipped topping (If you have the time and don’t mind the extra 50 calories, fresh whipped cream is best. Beat a cup of heavy cream in a cold metal mixing bowl with a tablespoon of sugar until soft peaks form.)
1⁄2 cup shaved dark chocolate

How to Make It

  1. Combine the espresso with the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. (If the espresso has cooled, you may need to microwave it for 45 seconds to help the sugar dissolve).
  2. Pour the mixture into a shallow metal baking pan (there should be about an inch of liquid) and place in the freezer.
  3. After 15 to 20 minutes, just as the mix has begun to freeze, remove the dish from the freezer and use a fork to scrape the ice crystals developing on the surface.
  4. Careful scraping will help you achieve a light, almost creamy granita, rather than a chunky, icy one. Repeat this step once every 30 to 45 minutes until the granita is entirely frozen.
  5. For each serving, place a small scoop of the granita in a chilled wine glass, top with a spoonful of whipped topping and a bit of the chocolate, then repeat with a second layer.

Eat This Tip

The same granita technique can be applied to dozens of different products with amazing results. Try these, too:

  • Lemon or lime: Blend 2 cups water, 3⁄4 cup sugar, 1⁄2 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
  • Blueberry ginger: Blend 2 cups blueberries, 3⁄4 cup water, 1⁄4 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • Watermelon basil: Blend 4 cups watermelon chunks, 1⁄2 cup sugar, juice of 1 lemon, 8 basil leaves

This recipe (and hundreds more!) came from one of our Cook This, Not That! books. For more easy cooking ideas, you can also buy the book!

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