Chocolate Mousse – (gf) MMMMMousse

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Elegant, cool, velvety, chocolatey mousse. Mmmmmmousse (eyes dreamily closed). Now for my personal disclaimer, I am not a big fan of chocolate. SAY WHAT? That’s right, I prefer the saltier side of life. Give me a potato chip over a candy bar every day of the week.

Even so, every now and then a nice bit of chocolaty sweetness sooths the soul. And the darker the chocolate and smoother the feel, the happier I am. Voila! The answer is this chocolate mousse.

Of course, as this is merely one of hundreds of recipes that you can find for this whipped treat, you can easily modify it to your liking. It doesn’t even have to be chocolate! Nope, it does not. I will explain later.

Oh, and while I shaved chocolate on the top I do not recommend doing so and I will refrain in the future. “Why?” you ask…well, let me quickly explain. It makes it lumpy. That’s it. Pretty for the picture, but not the tongue. I don’t want little bits of chocolate and I will never do it again. Maybe a dusting of….STOP. No. Nothing on top. Maybe a drop of whipped cream with a little raspberry liqueur infused into it. Now that’s how to top mousse. But I digress. As always. To the recipe!

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2 c. heavy cream (always get your cream from a local farm, if you can, it makes a difference)
1 T. vanilla (make your own if you need it to be gf)
4 egg whites
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1-2 T. instant espresso powder
6 oz. bittersweet (60% cocoa) chocolate chips – a good brand. I like *Ghiradelli
OR 4 oz. bittersweet and 2 oz. milk chocolate if you like a sweeter dessert, still *Ghiradelli

{*I mention brands only when I find using one to be important. I am not on Ghiradelli’s payroll.)

If you have a stand mixer, feel free to use it, but I just use my hand mixer fitted with the whip. Some folks use both beaters, but this recipe seems to turn out better with the whip.

1. Whip the cream, sugar and vanilla in a metal bowl nested over a bowl of ice water until very stiff peaks form. I begin whipping on #3, then increase the speed as the cream thickens. It usually takes 5-6 minutes, but the cream will show you when it is ready. The chilled bowl is important, the ice water nested bowl will allow you to let the cream sit on the counter while you make the rest of the recipe. Alternatively, you can chill the metal bowl and when the whipped cream is done, just put it into the refrigerator to keep it cold.

2. In a double boiler, or a metal bowl over gently boiling water, melt the chocolate and add the espresso when it becomes liquidy. Do this slowly and remove the pot from the heat just before all the chocolate is melted. Give it a few nice stirs and allow the chocolate to melt into itself slowly. You do not want this to happen over high heat/steam but gently. Cover with a plate or lid and set aside. It must cool, but not to room temperature. You want to keep the chocolate in liquid form, but no so hot that it cools into little hard pieces when added to the eggs.

3. In a third metal or glass bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form and there is no liquid to be found at the bottom of the bowl. I like using my stand mixer for this, but that’s because my arm is already tired from the whipped cream. If you use a hand mixer, again, use the whip and not the beaters.

4. When the egg whites are done, fold in the cooled chocolate slowly with a rubber spatula by adding the chocolate to the egg in 3 or 4 batches.

5. Fold the egg/chocolate into the cream. Lots of folding going on here. Much easier than folding fitted sheets. Hahah.

6. Put this lovely mousse into a large serving bowl (pictured) or directly into individual serving bowls like nice stemmed glassware or small dessert bowls. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

This is a remarkably sturdy dessert despite its seemingly delicate nature. It can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for 24-hours before your dinner party, for example. When you’re ready to serve, you can shave a little more chocolate on top (which I don’t recommend, see intro) or top it with some fresh berries or fruit sauce, whipped cream with a bit of raspberry liqueur infused into it or any number of things that make it your own creation.

It is also quite elegant as is. Save room for seconds, you’ll want them.