Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching.
I don’t know about you, but to me saying “I love you” is even better when chocolate is involved.
Most people don’t realize how easy it is to make luxurious chocolate mousse at home.
There are a few tricks, but in its basic form with just a little melting, whipping, and mixing you can own Valentine’s Day.
One big romantic chocolate gesture of love, coming right up!
Here’s what you need:
Chocolate, Eggs, Sugar, Butter, and Heavy Cream. Grand Marnier or other liqueur optional but highly recommended.
Also, whipped cream, raspberries or strawberries, and chocolate nibs or shavings for garnish are an excellent idea.
Separate 3 eggs and put the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another.
Sorry there is no egg separating picture but I didn’t have any extra hands while making this.
Basically you can crack the egg and carefully tip the yolk from shell to shell letting the white drain out. OR my favorite method is to crack the egg into your clean hand and let the white drain through your fingers while keeping the yolk safely in your hand. I almost never break the yolks doing it this way.
For melting the chocolate, you will need a double boiler. This just means a pan with a little water that boils on the bottom half with a bowl placed on top.
I don’t have a dedicated double boiler (you can buy them, but why?) so I just use a regular sauce pan and sit a mixing bowl (metal or heat resistant glass) on top. The trick is to put only a couple inches of water in the bottom. For the most even heat, you don’t want the water to touch the bowl on top.
Bring the water in the bottom of your double boiler to a boil then turn the heat down to low so that the water just simmers.
Place the mixing bowl on top of the pot and add 4 Tablespoons of butter (½ stick) and 8 ounces of chocolate.
I’m using my favorite Ghirardelli Bittersweet chocolate chips but you could use semi-sweet or any other chocolate you’d like. Just buy a good quality chocolate since it is the star of the show.
Stir the butter and chocolate together over the GENTLY simmering water until the chocolate melts.
ONE BIG TIP! When you’re melting chocolate the only way you can really go wrong is if water gets INTO your chocolate. If that happens your chocolate will “seize up” and become very lumpy.
The best way to avoid that is to obviously take care that your spatula is dry and that you don’t get over zealous with your double boiler splashing water all around.
Also, be sure your chocolate melts gently over low temperatures. This might take some stirring but it’s better to go slow and steady than to overheat your chocolate.
If your chocolate does become a lumpy mess, you can sometimes recover it by stirring in a bit more butter or even vegetable shortening. The fat helps the molecules to bind back together. However, sometimes seized chocolate is a lost cause and you have to start over.
If you are careful and patient, however, this usually doesn’t happen.
Once your chocolate has melted, add the egg yolks one at a time and stir to combine. Cook the eggs in the chocolate for 1 minute more then take the pan off the heat.
Working very carefully not to drip any water from the bottom of the bowl into the chocolate, transfer your melted chocolate to a large mixing bowl to cool.
Add the 3 egg whites to separate clean bowl and whip them with a mixer until stiff peaks form.
See the peaks?
In a separate bowl, add 1 cup of heavy cream and beat until it just starts to thicken.
Add 2 Tablespoons of sugar and beat until the cream is whipped into soft peaks.
Superfine sugar works best if you have it but I’ve also made this with confectioner’s or powdered sugar and regular old granulated sugar.
When your cream is about halfway whipped, add 2-4 Tablespoons of Grand Marnier.
Continue to beat the cream until it is fairly stiff and fluffy.
I’ve also made this many times substituting Frangelico Liqueur which has a hazelnut flavor.
I added 4 Tablespoons (no surprise there) because I like the flavor and don’t mind my desserts a little on the boozy side.
Remember that you don’t even have to commit to buying a whole bottle of expensive liqueur. Airline bottles are a cook’s best friend.
Note: If you’re not using any liqueur, you might want to add 2 extra Tablespoons of sugar to the whipped cream, especially if you’ve used bittersweet chocolate.
To put the mousse all together, add the whipped egg whites to the chocolate.
Using a spatula, gently fold the whites into the chocolate using an over and under motion until almost no whites remain visible.
It’s is important not to just stir like crazy. Take your time so you don’t deflate the fluffiness of the egg whites.
Once the whites are incorporated, add the whipped cream and in a similar fashion, gently fold them into the chocolate.
Once again, slow and steady so that the cream stays whipped and fluffy.
Spoon the chocolate mousse to pretty dessert cups or decorative glasses.
Depending on the size of your glasses/cups and the size dessert you’d like to present, you’ll have between 6-8 servings.
Place the glasses on a tray and refrigerate until chilled.
You can make these in advance but the longer they chill the more set the mousse will become. If you’d like your mousse more fluffy, either chill it less or take it out of the fridge before serving so it can warm slightly and the texture can relax.
Garnish with whipped cream (I’ve found REAL whipped cream in a can from Land O’ Lakes that I love for making pretty swirls) and fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries.
Add a few shavings of chocolate or some cocoa nibs for extra fun and because you can’t have too much chocolate!
Serve this to people you love on Valentine’s Day, on any other holiday, or just because you deserve it!
Here’s the recipe – Adapted from Emeril Lagasse