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.
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
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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