Confession time: I am not a coffee drinker.
Don’t hate. It’s not that coffee doesn’t taste delicious. It’s more of a personal choice. See, as the daughter of a die-hard coffee addict, I just decided to go a different way in life. Plus, I don’t like the tooth stains. They’re not too pretty.
Still, the flavor is great, and I love to bake with coffee. Or make icy summer treats with coffee. This granita is quick and easy. All it takes is two ingredients and you’re on your way to icy coffee happiness!
This week, I’ve been alternately going to work for meetings and staying home for what I call Camp Mommy. Next week I go back to work completely, and I gotta tell you, it will be a lot easier than being in charge of Camp Mommy. For you full-time moms who have kids at home, I salute you.
Yesterday we went to the following places: the park, the bouncy place, Target, and the library. We went home for about a half hour somewhere in the middle to have lunch, and when I begged my kids to let me have five minutes to sit on the couch before heading out again, my son said, “Camp Mommy is boring. You just want us to rest.”
I mean, really? Really?!
Parenthood is a thankless job. People complain that teaching is, too, but I do get thanked occasionally. So there. Wrangling 150 teenagers per semester is a heck of a lot easier than managing my own three children.
That’s why I get so angry when people think that teaching is anything like childcare. When I tell people that I’m not actually that into kids who aren’t my own, they stare at me and say, “But you’re a teacher.” Yep, that’s right. I love working with teenagers, but note my word choice: “working with.” As in, helping them learn and grow. I’m not instinctively nurturing, and that’s not my job as a teacher. I’m around to teach these kids how to write and think critically. It’s fun, rewarding, and crazy hard work.
It’s also nothing like childcare. For me, teaching is easier, but it depends on your personality. Most people can’t teach for more than a few years without quitting because they fundamentally misunderstand the job. That’s why teacher retention rates are so low.
And teaching is definitely exhausting. I’m up crazy early, have days that go 11-12 hours (and that’s before I go home, make dinner, play with kids, do bathtime and bedtime, and then start grading papers again), and collapse exhausted into bed. Teachers tend to sleep very well at night. And it’s very tempting when it’s dark and cold outside to turn to the nice hot coffee.
But I’ve been down that road, and it scared me how much happier I was with caffeine. It just wasn’t me. So instead, I limit my coffee consumption to treats like granita.
Granita is an icy concoction that is made by combining sugar with a flavor choice (like pureed fruit or, in this case, coffee) and then freezing the mixture into icy little shards. You accomplish its texture by stirring the granita at regular intervals during the freezing process. It’s not hard to make at all, but don’t make a batch unless you’ll be home for a couple of hours to stir it up.
For a better granita, use a good-quality coffee. You could make it really strong and use espresso, but then don’t have this for dessert after dinner unless you want to be peeled off the ceiling. Remember, this is real coffee we’re dealing with.
No matter how you spend your days, you reserve the right to be exhausted. To make those in-between moments a little easier, work some coffee into your dessert!
- Combine the coffee and the sugar, mixing well.
- Pour the coffee mixture into a 9-inch round pan. If the coffee is still very hot, be careful.
- Transfer the pan to the freezer, taking care not to spill the contents.
- After 30-45 minutes, stir up the hardened flakes that have frozen at the edges. From that point on, stir every 20-30 minutes until the whole pan is made up of icy flakes.
- Ideally, serve soon after making the granita. If not, use a fork to break up the ice before serving.