While celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago, Jonathan and I reminisced about many of our wonderful memories as a newlywed couple.
When we first married, Jonathan worked the night shift which meant I was usually up in the morning as he was getting home and going to bed. He typically woke in the early evening as I was preparing dinner, and on one particular evening, I was inspired to make a special dessert for him — a rich and creamy chocolate mousse! I ran to the store, grabbed my ingredients and hurried back home to get started.
Everything went smoothly until it was time to whip the heavy cream. As I stood there with my hand mixer, the cream would not thicken. As I pondered why the cream was not thickening, my eyes glanced to the carton on the counter.
Half and Half
In my rush at the store, I had grabbed half and half instead of heavy cream. I was incredibly disappointed! Jonathan would be waking soon, so there was no time to go back for heavy cream.
But then I came up with something incredibly brilliant! (No, not brilliant at all!)
What thickens gravy? Ah yes, flour!
I am sure you are either laughing or wrinkling your forehead at your computer screen in great distress, and I completely understand, but as a newlywed, I felt so clever!
What a creative wife I am! Jonathan will be so proud of me!
At this point, thickening the mousse was my greatest concern. Certainly the chocolate will cover up any hints of flour! Besides, flour is used with chocolate all the time! Cookies, brownies, cakes!
That evening as I brought out the beautiful glasses filled with, um, “mousse”, I couldn’t wait for Jonathan to try it!
Jonathan took one bite — his expression was immediately reminiscent of a baby’s first taste of pureed peas. Cold pureed peas.
I couldn’t understand. What was wrong? It looked so exquisite in the glasses!
Then I tasted it for myself.
Do you remember those little jars of Elmer’s glue in kindergarten? The ones with the stick in the lid to spread out the pasty glue?
Yes! That is precisely what I made! With a very subtle hint of chocolate.
I don’t recall trying to make chocolate mousse after that.
Chocolate pie? Sure! Chocolate cake, cookies, brownies, candy? Yes, of course!
Chocolate mousse was reserved for fine dining at a restaurant.
But after eighteen years, I really wanted to make something special for our anniversary! I have been perusing chocolate mousse recipes on Pinterest for many months. I’ve seen a bounty of beautiful, silky mousses, and there was one in particular that stood out. This recipe wasn’t anything like the one I tried years before. This included a double boiler, quality dark chocolate and no flour! Sounds perfect!
I said a prayer, took a deep breath and moved forward with this lovely little dessert.
Inspired and adapted from Not So Humble Pie’s Frangelico Dark Chocolate Mousse
*I prefer to use all organic ingredients whenever possible
Dark Chocolate Mousse
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
1/3 cup *Crio Brü brewed cocoa (or water)
8 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate (I used a mixture of 72% and 60% cacao)
1 cup chilled heavy cream
-In a stainless steel bowl (that will work with a double boiler), whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well incorporated.
-Over a double boiler, continue whisking until (as noted in NotSoHumblePie ) a ribbon of the egg/sugar mixture flows back into the bowl when the whisk is lifted and the sugar should begins to dissolve.
-Add the brewed cocoa (or water) and continue whisking over simmering water until mixture reaches 160° F. *(Crio Brü is a fabulous find from Azure Standard — when I first ordered it, I thought I was getting a type of gourmet cocoa, however, it is brewed like coffee, not sweetened unless you sweeten it yourself and has a very distinct cacao bean flavor. It worked very well in the mousse!)
-Remove from heat and add your finely chopped chocolate.
-Stir well to incorporate the chocolate — the mixture will gradually cool. When it is cool enough to touch, stop stirring and set aside. My mixture cooled within four or five minutes. Ahh … isn’t this lovely!
-While the chocolate mixture continues to sit beautifully, whip your heavy cream until it reaches the soft peak stage. You can be sure I double, no triple-checked to make sure I had heavy cream!
Gently fold your heavy cream into the chocolate mixture, cover and set in refrigerator to cool for approximately four hours.
About 20 minutes before the mousse was ready, I made some additional whipped cream sweetened with a touch of vanilla and sugar.
Then I gently spooned the mousse into glasses from our wedding day, topped with the additional whipped cream and a little grated chocolate …
and smiled as I served it to my family.
This recipe did not disappoint! It was wonderfully smooth and incredibly rich! The original recipe states that this will serve 8-10. I filled four glasses, but the recipe could indeed serve eight with its intense chocolate flavor!