In Italy, under the canopies on the piazza, tourists and natives slurp this as a popular refresher on a summer day. Top it with brandy and whipped cream for an authentic touch.
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 cups espresso or triple-strength coffee
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Brandy for garnish
- Whipped cream for garnish (optional)
Combine the sugar, water, and cocoa in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook until the syrup is clear.
Remove from the heat and stir in the espresso and vanilla.
Let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 3 hours.
Pour into a 9-inch nonreactive square pan, cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and place in the freezer.
Once an hour, stir with a fork, scraping the crystals from the sides of the pan into the liquid center.
Repeat 2 or 3 times until the entire mass is set into small, light crystals, 2 to 3 hours.
Serve at once or transfer to a container, cover, and freeze.
To serve, spoon into chilled parfait or other decorative glasses, letting it mound on the surface, and pour 1 teaspoon of brandy over each serving.
Top with whipped cream, if desired.
Nutritional information is based on 8 servings, but does not include Whipped Cream or Brandy for garnish.