I am feeling pretty lucky that my turn to pick the recipe for sweet melissa sundays falls on Valentine's Day. Now I know a lot of people have strong feelings towards this holiday, but any excuse to make decedent chocolate desserts (and decorate them with lame purple candy hearts) is okay with me.
I went with chocolate mousse for the section. I've made a whole lot of chocolate mousse in my life and I've screwed it up more than a few times- but this one is billed as "easy". One of the reasons I love the dessert and keep making it is that you can spike it with a million different liquors and get some rad results. This recipe didn't call for spiking but I left out the vanilla and went for it. In the past I've done grand marnier, Kahlua, amaretto. This was the time for something new...frangelico. I ended up adding about a tablespoon and a half and got a nice hint of hazelnut in the mousse. The end result was light in texture but rich in flavor.
Hope all the other bakers enjoyed this one- my apologies in advance for not getting around to see what everyone did in a timely manner, I'm on vacation now enjoying some Internet free time. Happy Valentine's.
Easy Chocolate Mousse
Makes 6 servings
5 and 1/2 ounces best-quality semisweet (58%) chocolate, coarsely chopped (Spike note- I used 4 oz semi and 1.5 oz bittersweet chocolate)
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 and 2/3 cups cold heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (Spike note-or skip and add a tablespoon or so of frangelico or grand marnier, etc)
2 tbs confectioners' sugar
1. In the top of a double boiler set over simmering, not boiling, water, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove from the double boiler and set aside to cool to room temperature (Spike note, don't let it get cold or it won't mix well in #3).
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer set over a pot of simmering, not boiling, water, whisk the egg whites with the sugar until the sugar has dissolved (you can feel with your fingers for sugar grains at the bottom). Transfer the bowl to the electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, and whip until the peaks are stiff but not dry.
3. Add one quarter of this meringue to the cooled chocolate and whisk to blend. Gently fold in the remainder of the meringue until mostly Incorporated (it can be slightly streaky at this point).
4. In the clean bowl of the electric mixer, whip the cream, vanilla (or liquor), and confectioners' sugar to medium-soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the chocolate meringue mixture until just incorporated.
5. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl, or pipe it into individual bowls. Cover the bowl(s) with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until set.
Serve chilled, garnished with fresh berries, if desired. The mousse may be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 days, or frozen for up to 3 weeks.