Last week, this mousse was my Mount Everest.

I needed to make seven batches of it for an event I was helping to cater. I played around with recipes and practiced and practiced, finally settling on a successful and delicious variation. But when it came time to actually make the mousse, everything went wrong and my kitchen turned into a disaster zone. It was a huge mess of dirty bowls, chocolate, and tears.

Making mousse

Mousse is easy, ridiculously easy. At least that’s what they say. And that statement is true, as long as you’re not a bonehead like me. Turns out the quality of chocolate you use makes all the difference, something I’m embarrassed I didn’t figure out on my own. My catering partner suggested it and from there on out it was smooth sailing.

So, learn from my mistakes! A lot of times regular old chocolate chips work just fine and I honestly can’t tell the difference in the quality of the final product, but this is not one of those times. Splurge for the good stuff and you’ll be glad you did.

This mousse is rich, but light. It’s sweet, but not too sweet. It’s smooth and creamy. It’s like eating spoonfuls of clouds made of chocolate.

I named this Hot Chocolate Mousse because I liked the idea of serving it like you would a hot beverage, in tea cups with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkling of cinnamon. Plus I think the cinnamon and espresso add a depth of flavor that transcends plain ol’ chocolate mousse; it’s like a fancy drink you eat with a spoon.

You can serve it however you want, and even omit the cinnamon and espresso if those aren’t your thing. But I really hope you don’t because I think you’d be missing out.

I must have made a dozen batches of the stuff last week and I’m still in love.

Hot Chocolate Mousse
Adapted from Food Network Test Kitchen
Makes 3 cups

6 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate (not chocolate chips), chopped
1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon espresso or strong coffee*
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Whip 1 cup of the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until medium stiff peaks form. Do not over whip. Chill in the fridge until needed.

Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Alternatively, you may melt the chocolate in the microwave on 50% power in 1 minute intervals, stirring between each.

In another heat proof bowl, combine the egg, egg yolks, and sugar. Use a hand held mixer or wire whisk to beat the eggs and sugar until pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Place the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water and continue beating until mixture is warm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue beating until the mixture comes off of the whisk in thick ribbons and had cooled to room temperature, about another 3 minutes.

Slowly begin folding the melted chocolate into the egg mixture until it is all combined and is uniform in color and texture. Fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream, being careful not to over beat it and cause it to loose it’s volume.

Transfer to serving cups and chill for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, whip the remaining 1/2 cup whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Add confectioners sugar and vanilla. Spoon over chilled mouse and sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.

*Substitute for 1 tablespoon water and 1 teaspoon instant espresso.

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12 Responses to Hot Chocolate Mousse

  1. Georgia (The Comfort of Cooking) says:

    Aww, sorry to hear that everything initially fell apart for you, but the finished product is absolutely gorgeous and I bet it tasted like heaven! I've made mousse under pressure, too (for a holiday party after an hour's night sleep on a red eye flight), and it… er, didn't turn out so well. Thanks for sharing! Also, I'm having a cookie and cookbook giveaway that you should enter if you haven't already!

  2. Ravenous Rowie says:

    That sounds so good! Love the way you served it, so cute! Sucky that you had problems with the recipe, but it's always so nice when you finally get exactly what you've been working towards!

  3. Alicia says:

    Are you serious? This sounds like HEAVEN. Thanks!

  4. Pretty. Good. Food. says:

    Oh my delicious. Wow, looks sooooo good:)!

  5. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite says:

    OMG – I LOVE the look of this. Would be perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, anytime of the day! Annoying that the recipe was problematic but LOOK at the end result!

  6. nico. says:

    ohh yum! I have been bookmarking everything you post! it is so overwhelming :)

  7. Victor says:

    I love mousse so much. Yours looks so rich and delicious!

  8. Anna says:

    I love mousse au chocolat! Great idea to add cinnamon and espresso for more depth.

    The recipe I usually use (from my Dad's French cookbook) doesn't call for any heavy whipping cream, only for beaten eggwhites (4), 1 teaspoon of confectioners sugar and 150g dark chocolate. Sounds a bit strange, but it works perfectly!

    It is the perfect treat after a big meal, and noone ever believes me that there's no whipping cream involved.

  9. Jackie says:

    I hate that, tears and worry, especially when you're catering! I was having the same yesterday when something went wrong with my catering… fifteen minutes before it was supposed to be served! Grah! Luckily I managed to salvage it (just about), but was feeling rather antsy for that fifteen minutes!

    These, however, look amazing. I love the name and presentation, too! Beautiful. And as a side-note, I heard from a chocolatier that the higher quality the chocolate the faster it burns, which is why when you're baking with chocolate you should use small chocolate chips. It's so temperamental to work with, but everybody loves it so! ;)

    Jax x

  10. veggietestkitchen says:

    What happened that made you have to keep remaking these? I don't understand (sorry, novice here) how using different chocolate chips would ruin it?

    Pics look great by the way. I love your plates!! They are so adorable.

  11. Maria says:

    It looks perfect! I am sure everyone loved it!

  12. Roxan says:

    I'm sorry to hear that things were not going so well, but so so happy that you were able to turn it around. I never do any large batches of cooking – it's always just for me and my husband – and I know how frazzled when things go awry when it's just for us two! I can't even imagine how it would feel if that happened for a huge batch. I would totally cry like a baby. But – looks like everything turned out perfectly and this mousse looks absolutely delicious!

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