Very Iced, Very Frozen Coffee

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End your meal with the taste of espresso (even if you don’t have a machine).
very iced, very frozen coffee
Chris Bernabeo/Sweet Enough

“There is not a better thing to end a meal with than a tiny espresso, but you know who doesn’t want to make an espresso after dinner? Me,” Alison Roman writes in her new cookbook, Sweet Enough—and we happen to agree. But even if you don’t own an espresso machine, you can still make a coffee-flavored dessert like this very iced, very frozen coffee recipe to enjoy after dinner. (All you need is a freezer.)

“With a cloud kiss of whipped mascarpone dolloped just so, I feel like a special little barista every time I serve it,” she explains. “And before you ask ‘Is this an espresso martini?’ know that…sure, yes, but also no. While I do love to serve this in festive coupes or martini glasses, the alcohol isn’t here to ‘get you drunk.’ Rather, alcohol lowers the temperature at which liquids freeze, meaning this treat is always the perfect texture for scraping into tiny little frozen crystals à la granita, and not, say, a solid block of coffee ice. If you’re skipping the alcohol, it’ll still be great, but just be prepared for a bit more elbow grease when scraping the frozen coffee.”


4 cups (945g) strong brewed coffee (cool or cold)

¼ to ½ cup (55 to 110g) plus 2 tablespoons (25g) sugar, divided

¼ cup (50g) vodka, coffee liqueur, Baileys or bourbon (optional)

¾ cup (175g) heavy cream

¾ cup (6 ounces/170g) mascarpone

Kosher salt


1. In a medium bowl, combine the coffee, ¼ cup (55g) of the sugar, and the vodka (if using), and stir to dissolve the sugar. Taste it—if you like your coffee on the sweeter side, feel free to add the remaining ¼ cup (55g) sugar, or maybe if you’re using a sweet liqueur, like Kahlúa, you might not need it. (It’s OK if it tastes a little too sweet prefreeze; flavors dull the colder they are.)

2. Pour the mixture into a loaf pan, cake pan or shallow baking dish and place in the freezer. Wait for it to freeze (at least 2 hours, depending on your freezer), then use a fork to scrape up the frozen coffee into little fluffy crystals.

3. When ready to serve, in a medium bowl, with a whisk or an electric hand mixer, whisk the heavy cream with the remaining 2 tablespoons (25g) sugar until medium-stiff peaks form. Whisk in the mascarpone and a small pinch of salt.

4. I like to spoon some of the frozen coffee into a martini glass or coupe, then sort of compact the crystals so they are dense but still edible with a spoon. Top with a perfect little dollop of the whipped mascarpone.

Nutrition Facts
  • 247 calories

  • 18g fat

  • 17g carbs

  • 2g protein

  • 17g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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Cover of 'Sweet Enough' by Alison Roman with a credit line that reads: Excerpted with permission from Sweet Enough, copyright 2023 by Alison Roman, photographs copyright 2023 by Chris Bernabeo, published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.

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