January 31, 2014

Viennese Iced Coffee

I started 2013 with a restaurant review.  And I almost went the same route this year but eventually decided against it and instead opted for a cold, frothy drink.  Oddly enough, I keep craving icy treats in cold weather when that should normally happen in scorching temperatures.  But what could be better than coffee and ice cream paired together in one wicked frozen drink?  

On a cold, snowy afternoon, we were watching this brilliant yet deeply sad French drama ("Three Colors: Blue" – a must-see especially if you’re a fan of French cinema or foreign films in general) with our friends Gretchen and Joel.  At one point in the movie, the main character goes into a coffee shop and orders “her usual” – coffee and ice cream.  In a nutshell, it was a small cup of coffee that the woman ever so slowly pours over the side of ice cream; but that was all I needed – I was instantly thirsty for Viennese Iced Coffee!  The very next day, in arctic temperatures, I went and bought a huge container of ice cream (yes, I’m one of those peculiar people who don’t have any ice cream in the freezer because I could devour it by the ladle) and whipped up Viennese Iced Coffee, a really tasty frozen coffee beverage very popular in Viennese coffee shops that I haven’t sipped in an extremely long time!

I may or may not have mentioned that I’m a voracious coffee drinker!  In the morning, I usually go for a double espresso if I’m in the vicinity of a Starbucks or the dark and intensely smoky French Roast coffee when I’m at home.  Needless to say, I love coffee in desserts.  This particular Viennese Iced Coffee recipe has the best of both worlds.  It’s a dessert type of drink with very strong coffee and ice cream, which adds a delightful sweetness and vanilla-infused creaminess.  Not to mention that this cold drink is the perfect afternoon sweet treat that will give you the right amount of caffeine to power through the rest of your day.  And if you’re in the mood for happy hour, adding a splash of Amaretto or Irish Cream would work wonders.  Cheers!   

Viennese Iced Coffee
Adapted slightly from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten 

Makes: 4 servings


·         6 (1-ounce) shots of espresso or 6 ounces strong coffee, regular or decaf
·         3 Tablespoons sugar
·         1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
·         ¼ cup hot water
·         2 cups ice
·         4 scoops vanilla or coffee ice cream
·         Unsweetened cocoa powder or bittersweet chocolate shavings
·         Straws, for serving


Combine the coffee, sugar, vanilla extract, and hot water in a blender and stir until the sugar dissolves.  Put the ice in the blender and process on high until the mixture is almost completely smooth.  Divide the mixture between 4 glasses.  

Scoop one ball of ice cream into each glass.  Using a small sifter, sprinkle each drink lightly with cocoa powder or decorate with a few chocolate shavings.  Serve with a straw and a teaspoon.   

Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!)