Cranberry Herbal Tea Granita (Italian Ice)

I get positively giddy every time I eat Italian ice. Italian ice is the kind of dessert that gives rise to happy dispositions and is also unbelievably easy to make. I have found it to be a perfect medium, not too heavy like ice cream cones, nor too light like sno-cones.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am revisiting the Betty Crocker Thanksgiving Cookbook: All You Need to Cook a Foolproof Dinner. This recipe is 145 calories per serving, but to go even lighter, I am substituting Light Cranberry Juice Cocktail for the regular version. Light Cranberry Cocktail has 2/3 fewer calories and carbs than the traditional variety.

Cranberry Herbal Tea Granita (Italian Ice)

  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 slice orange
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 tea bags red zesty herbal tea flavored with hibiscus, rose hips, and lemongrass
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
  • Fresh fruit, if desired
  • Thin almond wafer cookies, if desired

1) Insert cloves into the peel of the orange slice. I use two slices for good measure.
2) Heat water, sugar, cinnamon and orange slices to boiling in 2-quart saucepan, and stir occasionally. Remove from heat.

3) Add tea bags. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes. I couldn't locate any red zesty tea bags at the local grocery, so I replaced it with lemon zinger. Lemon zinger is flavored with hibiscus, rose hips, and lemongrass. Remove tea bags, cinnamon stick, and orange slice(s).
4) Stir cranberry and pineapple juices into the tea, and pour into 2-quart nonmetal bowl or square baking dish, 8 X 8 X 2 inches. Cover and freeze about 2 hours or until partially frozen. Stir with fork or wire whisk. Surprisingly, my Italian ice is still in a liquid state after two hours. Cover and freeze 3 hours or overnight.
6) Remove Italian ice from freezer 20 minutes before serving. Scrape surface with fork and spoon into glasses. Garnish with fruit and cookies. I choose blueberries as a garnish because they are so yummy!
This recipe truly is foolproof, and the modifications didn't have any affect on the flavor. Yes, this is a cold dessert, and temperatures are quickly dropping outside. That is why I am enjoying my Italian ice by a nice cozy fire in my living room. Ciao!