Summer has finally come to Seattle and I am waiting for my internal thermostat to adjust whilst lying inert and working my way through a stack of library books on food and sweets. Although I've read about Montezuma's passion for chocolate many times, the notion of spiced chocolate served on fresh snow delivered from the mountains by runners resonated anew today, as I sat sweating and looking at the icy caps on the far-off Olympic range.
In keeping with my recent slackadaisical efforts, this is another treat that couldn't be any easier. I picked up the original recipe for "mocha ice" ages ago and have never made it the same way twice. I've gradually reduced the amount of sugar called for (sometime I'll also try it with agave or maple syrup), and I use whatever herbs or spices I have on hand. With Montezuma in mind I went with chipotle and cinnamon this time, along with a splash of tequila. While the tablespoon of booze contributes very little in the way of flavor (or buzz) it makes my life a lot easier, since I don't currently own either a blender or a food processor. The alcohol keeps the ice from freezing completely hard, enabling me to grate the block into chocolatey snow using nothing more than a fork and a little effort.
2 1/2 c water
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c table sugar
1/3 c cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
up to 1 tsp combined dry spices (eg cinnamon, cardamon, chile powder, chipotle, ginger)
1-2 Tbs strong coffee or espresso
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 Tbs alcohol (eg whiskey, tequila, vodka)
Bring the water, sugar, cocoa, and spices to a low boil. Stirring frequently, let the mixture continue to bubble for 5 minutes over medium heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in the coffee, vanilla, and alcohol. Transfer to the freezer in an appropriate container (with room for the liquid to expand). When the ice more or less solidifies rake it with a fork to make soft, fluffy granita-style slush. Eat immediately with spoons or allow to thaw to a slurpable consistency. Also good topped with a tiny amount of heavy cream or half-and-half.