For Valentine’s Day last year, I wanted to surprise my girlfriend with a surprise 4 course dinner. The finale was a chocolate mousse. This was actually one of the first “fancy” desserts I ever made. The first being truffles, which I still make with my little sister.
Making chocolate mousse is the same as making truffles, except that the heavy cream is first whipped. This creates an airy and smooth final product. You have to “whip it, whip it, real hard!” in the words of Officer Rick Ross. Moving that rap lyric aside to the side, making mousses is pretty simple and I would encourage you to try it.
You’ll notice that this recipe calls for gelatin. This concept is taken from Alton Brown’s mousse recipe. The purpose of the gelatin in this recipe is to hold the air in the mousse in place. The gelatin aids the fat in holding the foam together, similar to the function of fats and proteins in ice cream. In theory, you can omit the gelatin, but the mousse wouldn’t be as stable, so it might be necessary to eat the mousse the day it is made.
Another option to incorporate air into chocolate is to utilize egg white meringue instead of heavy cream. The procedure is the same, except that you are whipping egg whites instead of cream and the egg yolks are tempered into the melted chocolate. Also with this method gelatin is not utilized because the meringue is relatively stable. For 12 oz of chocolate, you would need 5-6 whole eggs for this method.
In summation for mousses you have three choices: 1) whipped cream + chocolate 2) whipped cream + chocolate + gelatin 3) meringue + chocolate
1 3/4 cups whipping cream (divided)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 tablespoons of sugar
12 ounces quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon of vodka (optional)
1 tablespoon of Irish Cream (optional)
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon flavorless, granulated gelatin
- Chill 1 1/2 cups whipping cream in refrigerator. Chill metal mixing bowl and mixer beaters in freezer.
- On top of a double boiler, combine chocolate chips, vodka, Irish cream and butter. Melt over barely simmering water, stirring constantly. Remove from heat while a couple of chunks are still visible. Cool, stirring occasionally to just above body temperature.
- Pour remaining 1/4 cup whipping cream into a microwave safe cup and sprinkle in the gelatin. Allow gelatin to “bloom” for 10 minutes (the gelatin will cause the cream to gel). Then carefully heat by microwaving the cream in 7 second intervals swirling after each interval until the cream is liquid again and most of the gelatin is dissolved. Do not boil or gelatin will be damaged. While stirring, strain the mixture into the cooled chocolate and set aside.
- In the chilled mixing bowl, beat cream to medium peaks with sugar and vanilla. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream in two doses. There may be streaks of whipped cream in the chocolate and that is fine. Do not over work the mousse.
- Spoon into bowls or martini glasses and chill for at least 1 hour. Garnish with almonds/fruit and serve.
(If mousses are to be refrigerated overnight, chill for one hour and then cover each with plastic wrap)