Luxurious, chocolatey, rich decadence is what this recipe gives back to you. Each spoonful is simply melt in your mouth delicious, but you definitely don’t need much to fill you up! Reserve this sinful treat for when you have company coming over as it makes more than enough for one person to consume.
Mousse is a rich dessert that resembles a ‘foam’ in many ways. It can be light and airy, or you can have denser heavier versions. This recipe however, is light in texture but denser in terms of how rich the flavors are. To me it always provided a compact dessert that packed a big punch.
I found this recipe quite a few years ago via Tyler Florence and his various affiliations. While I have tried many other mousse recipes, this one provided the taste and texture I always wanted to achieve.
In order to achieve the lightness in mousse, one would typically use whipped cream or whipped eggs whites. To then flavor the mousse, one could add chocolate, fruit puree or for savory versions of mousse, liver or hard boiled eggs could be added too. This recipe is the kind that uses chocolate in combination with both whipped egg whites and whipped cream. But don’t let the challenging part scare you, with some explanations below hopefully you can learn from the directives and rock this mousse out!
I feel that many of the recipes I have posted in the past are pretty straightforward. This recipe is definitely more for an intermediate home cook. There are three components which are done separately and then all folded together. You have the whipped egg whites, whipped cream and a chocolate, egg and butter mixture. The biggest challenges rise with the egg whites, the chocolate mixture and the end folding stage.
Whipping egg whites is definitely a science, of which I learned more than I never knew was possible when embarking on French Macarons. The best thing to whip eggs whites in is a copper bowl due to the reactivity of the two elements. It’s almost impossible to over-beat an egg in a copper bowl, which is why cream of tartar can help out when using other materials. The next best bowl is made of stainless steel, and is what most people have access to. The least successful bowls for whipping egg whites is plastic and glass. You can do it of course, but you run a greater risk of over-beating your egg whites. Here’s a great reference on egg whites from one of my favorite blogs, The Kitchn. They take you through what to look for and at the end of each article is all sorts of follow up information on the subject of all things egg whites.
The chocolate mixture sounds pretty straightforward but in watching my sister reenact this recipe with me, I realized how tricky it can become just due to timing of the other components. You start off by melting chocolate and butter in double boiler, or in a makeshift bowl set over a saucepan (see picture). The point is not to overheat the chocolate, and get it to melt slowly and evenly with steam from below. Once you have the right setup, this is no problem; it’s when you have to add the egg yolks that can pose the challenge. I usually take my chocolate and butter mixture off of the saucepan, and allow it to cool for a few minutes. I usually know it’s ready to go when I can put my finger in the chocolate and not have to react quickly (pull my finger out for fear of burning myself). At that time I’ll take my egg yolks and whip them one by one quickly into the chocolate. This method of cooling the chocolate slightly seems to have resolved a lot of my gritty textural issues that result from not incorporating the egg yolks fast enough. Eventually when you get the hang of whipping while pouring, you can combine the chocolate and egg yolks together when still hot.
The last stage which can be tricky is how you fold all the components together. Folding is something that is used very often in baking when combining a heavy ingredient (cake batter or chocolate) with something that lighter in density (usually whipped something). In mousse, this folding technique allows for a light and spongey texture in the mousse without it being too dense and heavy once it sets (think of most flour-less chocolate cakes- too much mixing and that’s what you’ll end up with). While the chocolate in this recipe isn’t too heavy, the egg yolks that were added earlier will structurally pull everything together to strengthen the components once it has set. To see the difference, try the mousse right after folding, and then try it again once it’s set for a few hours. The difference is substantial (see below).
While I use this base version of the recipe below, I found there are so many ways to make it your own. As pictured in the recipe, my preferred way to eat it is with frozen raspberries, cocoa nibs and whipped cream (weird but so good). I also like adding extra vanilla bean powder and orange extract when I’m making it. In terms of making it your own though and tailoring it to your likes, you can use various flavor extracts or alcohol and add that into the whipped cream. You can use any type of chocolate that you’d want which will significantly change how sweet or bitter the end mousse will become. For a nuttier mousse, you can add peanut butter or Nutella to your melted chocolate before adding in the egg yolks. Then there’s all the toppings from crushed nuts to crushed candies, crystallized fruit or ginger, fresh fruits and even sprinklings of cinnamon or chili powder.
As always, I like to give you tried and true recipes that you can tailor to make your own. Enjoy this bliss of the recipe as is, and then go crazy and share with me your favorite way of making this after you give it a second or third try. From my kitchen to yours!
6 ounces of bittersweet Chocolate Chips
3 tablespoons unsalted Butter
3 Eggs, separated and room temperature**
1/2 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 cup Heavy Cream, cold
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
In a chilled bowl, beat the Heavy Cream until it begins to thicken up. Add 2 tablespoons of Sugar, dash of Salt and the Vanilla, continue beating until the Cream holds soft peaks. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the Egg Whites until foamy. Add the Cream of Tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup Sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Place the Chocolate Chips and Butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan containing about 1-inch of barely simmering water (or use a double boiler). Stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool until warm to touch, but not hot. Then grab a whisk and beat the Egg Yolks into the chocolate mixture, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Set aside.
Now that you’ve got the elements prepared, put it all together. Start by gently folding the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Then, fold in the egg whites. Take care not over work the mousse or it will be heavy. Place saran wrap directly on the mousse and chill until needed. You can also divvy the mousse up into individual servings, covering each with saran wrap and chilling.
For variations on this recipe, you can also add in different extracts such as orange, raspberry or vanilla. You can also add in different varieties of chocolate based on your tastes, see note above for all the ways to make it your own.
**I did have to note one last thing- this recipe does contain uncooked eggs. I do urge caution to everyone due to the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illnesses. To help reduce this risk, I recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean eggs with intact shells, and try to avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.