My first stop at any street fair during the summer is the frozen lemonade stand. Imagine lemonade, already a refreshing beverage, but frozen and shaved into a soft snowy mound directly in your glass. When the sun is beating down and there are funnel cakes and corn dogs yet to be found, there's nothing better. Frozen lemonade is a bit different than its cousin, the Lemon Shake-Up. This is more like a granita, and in fact, it technically is a granita. You make a base of squeezed lemonade and sugar syrup, diluted with a little water. Freeze it solid and then use the tines of a fork to shave off enough to fill your cup (or follow Martha Stewart's method and throw it in a blender).
The result is something more intense than regular lemonade. That bright lemony goodness is infused into every tiny crystal. Each frozen mouthful hangs for just a second on your tongue before melting. It really is like eating a handful of lemon-flavored snow.
Slurp it through a straw or take bites with a spoon: either way, refreshment is guaranteed.
What You Need
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups lemon juice from 6-8 lemons
1 1/2 - 2 cups additional water for diluting the lemonade
1. Make a Simple Sugar Syrup - Combine 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar in a saucepan. Simmer over medium-high heat just until the sugar dissolves, about three minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Squeeze the Lemons - While the sugar syrup cools down, squeeze all your lemons. You should end up with about 1 1/2 cups of fresh lemon juice.
3. Sweeten and Dilute the Lemonade - Add 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/4 cup of sugar syrup to the lemon juice. Taste and add more water or sugar syrup to taste. Once frozen, the lemonade will taste less sweet than it does at room temperature, so it's ok to over-sweeten it a little at this point.
4. Freeze the Lemonade - Pour the lemonade into your baking dish. Cover and place the dish in the freezer. Every hour or so, give the lemonade a stir to break up the big ice crystals. Let the lemonade freeze overnight.
5. Serve the Frozen Lemonade - Scrape the tines of a fork across the surface of the frozen lemonade. When you have a good mound of snow, scoop it into a waiting glass. Repeat until your glass is filled, and then enjoy before it starts to melt! Make these glasses "to order," as I find that the snowy texture of freshly shaved ice doesn't hold well in the freezer.
• Ginger Frozen Lemonade - Infuse a few rounds of fresh ginger into the hot sugar syrup. Strain out the ginger before mixing it into the lemonade.
• Arnold Palmer Frozen Lemonade - Infuse two bags of black tea into the sugar syrup. Remove before mixing with the lemonade.
• Strawberry Frozen Lemonade - Hull a pint of strawberries. Blend the strawberries, the lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of sugar syrup in a blender or food processor. Add water or syrup to taste and freeze as directed in the recipe.
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(Images: Emma Christensen)