Friday, April 16, 2010

Chocolate Mousse

I've been in the mood for chocolate mousse for weeks now, but I've never had the time to commit to making it from scratch. Ina Garten, in her Family Style cookbook, has a scrumptious-looking mousse. That was the one I wanted to make.

I'll warn you in advance, this recipe does take a time commitment, it's not a one-step-wonder. However, it is so worth it if you want a light, fluffy, and utterly delicious mousse. If you make it for people, you'll win their hearts! Oh, a final warning: this recipe contains eggs that will not be cooked. You'll have to come to terms with that on your own. :)

The massive recipe list:
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee powder
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier liqueur (this is an orange flavored liqueur; I used orange flavored Triple Sec's cheaper)
  • 1 Tbsp. Armagnac/Cognac/brandy (you can use any of these; I happened to have a small bottle of Cognac in my stash from a different recipe)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, completely and utterly at room temperature!
  • 8 extra large (or just large) eggs-separated. You'll need all 8 egg yolks, but just 1 cup of the egg whites. Separate while the eggs are cold, but then allow it all to come to room temperature.
  • 1/2 cup sugar plus 2 Tbsp, divided
  • Pinch salt, recipe calls for Kosher, but I don't have any of that. The regular stuff works just fine!
  • 1/2 cup cold heavy cream
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for decoration
Whew, exhausted yet?

In a bowl, set on top of a pot of simmering water, add the chocolate chips...

The unsweetened chocolate, chopped...

Freshly brewed coffee...

Instant coffee powder...

Orange liquor...


And vanilla.

Stir until completely melted and smooth.

Still a little lumpy...

Ah, completely smooth. This mixture will be very thin, so don't worry! Let the chocolate cool to room temperature.

When the chocolate is at room temperature, start adding the butter, a couple of tablespoons at a time. It is very, very important that the butter has come completely to room temperature. Cold butter does not melt and beat well at all.

The mixture will start to thicken with the addition of the butter. I found that it's easiest to use a whisk here. I tried with just a spatula and the butter doesn't break apart and "melt" into the mixture as well as if you use a whisk.

When you're completely finished adding and beating in the butter, the mixture should be thick enough that you can see the "trail" you whisk leaves in the mixture.

Put the egg yolks into a mixing bowl (fitted with the paddle attachment).

Add 1/2 cup of the sugar.

Beat on high speed for roughly 5 minutes.

The eggs will start to turn pale yellow. This is good!

You're finished beating the eggs and sugar when the mixture is a pale yellow color and it falls back onto itself into a ribbon when you pull the paddle out.

On low speed, add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture.

Mix until it's all incorporated...

And then transfer to a large bowl. We'll do some major hand mixing and folding in here, so you'll want a much bigger bowl than you think you'll need. Trust me!

Wash out your mixing bowl, and with the whisk attachment, add the room temperature egg whites and a pinch of salt. I happened to have a little spoon that measures out a "pinch".

Add one tablespoon of sugar to the egg whites.

Beat on high speed until your egg whites are stiff, but not dry.

Still too liquid-y.

Nearly there.

And this is what it will look like when you've gone about 5 seconds too far! I should have stopped just a little before this stage. The egg whites weren't completely dry, which was good, but it did take a little more work to help the whites "melt" into the chocolate. I'll let you know that it turned out just fine, though!

Add half of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

And just mix it in. Mix, mix, mix until it's all incorporated.

Here's where you need a gentle hand. Take the remaining half of the egg whites, add it to the chocolate, and you need to gently fold it in.

In case you forgot how to fold, take your spatula and "slice" down the middle of the bowl. (I did add arrows to illustrate the technique to these "folding" pictures!)

"Swoop" under the mixture to the side of the bowl.

And then turn the mixture and spoon back to the middle. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat.

Ah, the egg whites are incorporated!

After you've finished folding, without washing out your mixing bowl or the whisk, add the heavy cream to the bowl.

And then add one tablespoon of sugar.

Whoops! Missed a picture! Whisk the cream and sugar until it is stiff.

Add the whipped cream to the chocolate mixture and gently fold until completely incorporated.

Ahh, all finished!

This recipe makes about 2 quarts (8 cups) of mousse. It's best to put this into the fridge for a few hours to really set up.

Meanwhile, in my still dirty bowl and whisk, I whipped up some sweetened cream for garnish.

I didn't measure anything here. I added some cream (maybe a couple of cups) to the bowl.

And then added a scant 1/3 cup of sugar to the cream.

Whisk until stiff, but stop before you get to butter stage! I stashed this in the fridge until I was ready to serve.

Mmm, the mousse is just as light as air! It's as close to eating a cloud as you'll ever get! Not that you want to eat a's just so light and fluffy and delicious!

I piped the sweetened whipped cream on top of the mousse and garnished with a sprig of mint from my herb garden. Utterly delicious!


soccermom10 said...

Oh my that looks delicious! I think I gained a couple of pounds just reading this recipe!

Joanne said...

That is so pretty! For some reason, I'm not a huge mousse fan (I prefer pudding) but it's so beautiful in the bowl (and I'm jealous of your fresh mint). I think I might need to plant a few herbs in some pots!