An ice cream maker is a fun gadget, though most people find the novelty wears off after the first year or so. We still love ours, but have to admit it does not make the trip upstairs from the storage shelf in the basement very often.
Besides, you don’t need an ice cream maker to enjoy homemade frozen desserts. To make an icy granita, all you need is a freezer—this Italian treat is nothing more than a sweet flavored base that’s stirred around with a fork every 30 minutes or so during the freezing process to break ice crystals into smaller pieces (think snow cone).
For something a little more refined, try this fantastic frozen hot chocolate. It couldn’t be simpler, and it starts out exactly as it sounds: make hot cocoa, let it cool, freeze it. To serve, puree chunks of it in a blender or food processor. What you wind up with is the most mind-blowing upgrade to soft serve imaginable. And you won’t even have to pull your ice cream maker out of the basement!
Frozen Hot Chocolate
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Chocolate and the Art of Low-fat Desserts
Serves 6 to 7
- ½ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 2/3 to ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2-3/4 cups milk (we prefer whole, but 1% or 2% will work), divided
- Combine the cocoa and 2/3 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk in enough milk to form a smooth paste. Whisk in all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining milk and cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is steaming. Taste, adding a little more sugar if necessary.
- Cool (preferably in an ice bath), then pour the cocoa mixture into a shallow metal pan or ice cube tray and freeze until solid, preferably overnight.
- Break the frozen mixture into chunks and place in a sturdy blender or a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons milk and process until no lumps remain. Serve immediately in small glasses.
Any leftovers not eaten after pureeing can be refrozen and then scooped—they’ll be more solid, like a cross between sorbet and gelato. You can also pour leftovers into molds to make amazing fudge pops. Enjoy!
by Sara Bir