Chocolate Mousse, my #1 favorite dessert of all time.
Are you lazy? Maybe a procrastinator? Yeah, me too a lot of the time. Point is, if you’re like me, and you suddenly looked at yourself in your mind’s eye and said, “oh shit, it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow,” this recipe is for you too, maybe.
Some background: Valentine's Day is not a big deal around here. It never has been for me, even though I have a well developed sense of occasion. Hubs and I didn't make plans, and I spent about 2 weeks obsessing on what dessert I would post for this very dessert-ey holiday, and then I realized it was coming up real soon, and decided I couldn't be bothered with a pink fluffy three layer cake, and I remembered that Hubs likes chocolate more than anything anyway. As a bonus buy, this was my favorite dessert growing up - I used to ask for it on my birthdays (along with fried chicken). So, when desperation set in, I texted my mom and asked for her recipe. I'm happy to tell you it's easy. Since it's Valentine's Day I threw a bunch of dollar store hearts at it, and called it a day. Scroll down, and you'll find one, singular, restrained (read: classy) photo of the stuff as well, that doesn't have a ton of tinsel and cut up Mardi Gras style valentine necklaces all around it. The last pic shows the chocolate mousse looking pretty much just like my mom serves it. That is, in a bowl. Sans garnishes. She doesn't get down with tinsel for the most part.
Here’s some really good news: no heat required, only three ingredients necessary, and you probably have at least one of them in your refrigerator already. No added sugar, no tempering, no fussing. Also, you can’t really screw it up. Even if you don’t do it all perfect, it’ll still be tasty. I made two batches for this post, and the first one I kind of screwed up. You know what? It was still awesome and made my neighbors/landlords/friends/alternate family really, really happy. The prep photos show my egg whites over-beaten, and my whipped cream-chocolate combo kind of grainy because I didn't let the whipped cream cool enough. So what? I covered it in hearts and pastry tipped whipping cream and covered up my less than perfectly smooth surface texture. The pictures of the mousse at the end of the post, in the bigger bowl, are closer to the ideal texture - I was better about the egg whites, and I let everything get to the right temperatures before I started combining all the parts. If you look, you can see the surface is a little smoother there.
So, here we go: my favorite dessert growing up, Mom’s chocolate mousse. You'll like it, I swear.
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 2 bars dark chocolate, 70% cacao preferred
- 4-5 large egg whites
- More whipped cream or other garnishes, if preferred
- Melt the chocolate. Do it over water. I don’t own a double boiler, so I rested a metal bowl on the top edge of a pot of boiling water. Once melted, set aside.
- Whip the cream. Whip it into stiff peaks. Set aside. Do not refrigerate.
- Beat the egg whites. Get them shiny but not dry. Fluffy, with soft-ish peaks, but not fully stiff. When you get soft mountains that have a nice gleam, you're there.
- Combine. First, fold the chocolate into whipped cream. If your whipped cream is still cold, the chocolate will harden into flecks when you combine it - kind of a magic shell effect. If this happens, don't panic, just wait a little longer until the cream is at room temp and try again, adding the rest of the chocolate then. Keep folding until the cream and chocolate are one.
- Fold in beaten egg whites. Next fold the egg whites into the cream and chocolate mixture until fully incorporated. Use a soft touch, but you want all one color and texture. It will get wetter, and slightly more liquid, but also airier.
- Refrigerate. Transfer to your serving dishe/es and chill for at least 2 hours.
- Garnish. Or not. Try whipped cream, fruit, fatty sprinkles, flowers, choose your own adventure.
Makes 4-8 servings
- Don’t worry if you whip the cream and/or egg whites too stiff. I did. You can see in some of my pictures that I went a little too dry with the egg whites. It’s still going to be delicious.
- Don’t fret about the whipped cream breaking down while you’re doing the eggs. Just melt the chocolate, set aside. Whip the cream, set aside (at room temperature) while you beat the eggs. Then you're going to stir it all in as directed. It's important you let the whipped cream come to something close to room temperature or your end result will be a bit grainy - which is still super delicious if that happens. You can see the difference between a little grainy, and just right if you compare the pics up top (grainy) with the one below, and next to the recipe (smoother).
- When you go to add the egg whites, first tip the bowl, and carefully pour off any egg white liquid that is hiding under the fluffy beaten whites. You don't want that in your mousse.
- Garnishing is all about what you like. You don't have to do it at all, Mom usually didn't - I mean a giant bowl of fluffy chocolate stands on it's own two feet. Just jam something in there, or don’t. Your valentine wont care, and if you’re your own valentine, you especially wont care.
- This recipe is great doubled or tripled, and looks great for parties in a really big fancy glass bowl, which I don’t own.
- Eat it all in a few days, or it gets kind of broken down. Which, by the way, still tastes good.