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Coffee Granita



If it's hot where you are, Italian granitas are a refreshing and delicious way to enjoy something frosty.  They are super simple to make, require only two or three ingredients and everyone loves them.  For this post, I'm showing you how to make a coffee granita, which is popular is Sicily, but once you understand the technique, you can make all kinds of granitas - watermelon, strawberry, lemon, even almond - which is a favorite in Catania.  


garnish with a few chocolate shavings if you like


Granitas are made by taking a flavoring, such as coffee or pureed fruit, combining it with sugar and freezing it in a pan.  The technique is to not allow the liquid to freeze into a solid block - as it freezes, you scrape it with a fork to make a "slushy" type of texture.  



Coffee Granita

for a printable recipe, click here


  • 2 cups hot coffee (the strength is up to you)
  • ½ cup sugar  


Prechill glasses if you like.

Put the sugar in an 8" x 8" glass baking dish. Pour the hot coffee over the sugar and whisk until thoroughly dissolved.  Place in the freezer for about 40 minutes, until ice crystals start to form (the timing of this step will depend on your freezer).  When ice crystals start to form, take a fork and start scraping, to prevent the liquid from freezing into a solid block.  Keep doing this every 20 - 30 minutes, until you have a slushly type of mixture. Cover with plastic wrap.  

Spoon into individual little cups and serve frosty.  You can garnish with shavings of chocolate, if you like.


how great are these little mini cocktail glasses?  They 
even come with little spoons! 


Don't let the  opening photo fool you - I have not made these in typical glasses. I've used these tiny little cocktail glasses, which I just love - they are the perfect serving size for just a little something sweet!




Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Glaze


Do I need another bundt cake pan?  No.  But I couldn't resist this swirl cake pan from Nordic Ware.  I was picturing all kinds of cakes in it.  Lemon pound cake, Coffee Cake, and of course, chocolate cake.  For this recipe, I'm using my favorite chocolate cake recipe and combining it with a rich red wine chocolate glaze that I spied in Bon Appetit.  Chocolate and red wine are such a great combination, why not combine them in a cake?

Swirl Pan from Nordic Ware


I like this cake because there is no butter or chocolate to melt. You just use cocoa powder and vegetable oil. You can whip up the batter in just a couple of minutes.  The red wine glaze is super easy to make and gets thicker as you let it cool.




Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Glaze


for a printable recipe, click here

for the cake:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, divided
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

for the red wine glaze:

  • 8 ounces good bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ stick (¼ cup) butter, cut into pieces
  • ½ cup powdered (confectioner's) sugar
  • ½ cup red wine 



Make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare the bundt can pan by brushing the melted butter all over the surface of the inside of the pan and sprinkling with the 2 tablespoons flour and the 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and shaking it all over to coat the inside. Tap excess out (use more if needed).  Alternatively, you can spray with cooking spray but the cake may not release quite as well.  

Add 2 cups flour, sugar, ¾ cup cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt  to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk thoroughly to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well. 

Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.

Pour cake batter into prepared cake pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out fairly clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.

there's almost always lumps in cocoa powder - after 
measuring, be sure to sift it before adding it to batter


Make glaze:

 Heat chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate and butter are melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk in powdered sugar.

Meanwhile, bring wine just to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove chocolate mixture from heat and whisk in wine; let cool until slightly thickened and a rubber spatula leaves a trail in mixture when stirring, 8–10 minutes.
Set cake on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour glaze over cake and spread it across the top and over the edges with an offset spatula. Let cake stand at room temperature until glaze is set, 2–3 hours.


red wine glaze adapted slightly from Bon Appetit
chocolate cake from Add a Pinch


Casarecce Pasta with Pesto, Eggplant and Slow Roasted Tomatoes (and a Barilla Pasta Giveaway!)

Did you know there are hundreds of different pasta shapes in Italy?  Each region seems to have a special shape or two which is popular in that area.  Thanks to the good folks at Barilla, you will be able to experience some of these shapes because they are introducing five new pasta shapes with Barilla® "Collezione" pasta. I'm so excited about this line of pastas. And Barilla is even offering a giveaway gift basket for you, which includes each pasta shape plus goodies from Williams Sonoma, to a lucky reader.

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