Today is my wedding anniversary … James and I have been married for 12 years! I waited a very long time to get married. My friends told me I was being too picky, but I knew that when I met the man I was supposed to be with, I would know it in my heart. And I was right. From the time we met, James and I have been nearly inseparable. We have been very fortunate, and though sometimes the road has been challenging, I wouldn’t change any of it. James is the quintessential chocoholic. He lives, breathes, and dreams chocolate. If chocolate is on the menu, you can bet that it will be what he orders. For years there was a wonderful little French bistro in our town and we ate there every New Year’s Eve. No one could make a better or more intense chocolate dessert than Claude and Dominique – and yes, James ordered it every year! In honor of my wonderful husband, I can’t think of a better recipe for this week’s Chocolate Monday than a deep, dark, luscious chocolate mousse.
I love to entertain and I think that anything served in a beautiful container just tastes better – there is something about seeing a stunning dessert being presented in a martini glass that delights my soul. Anticipating the first taste and knowing that soon I will be diving into it. A beautiful dessert is the perfect way to end a dinner party. Buy yourself some fun glassware to elevate simple desserts to sublime status! I hope you enjoy this chocolate Monday treat and fall in love with chocolate (or someone else) again every time you make it!
Getting intense chocolate flavor is totally dependent on using high-quality bittersweet chocolate. Surprisingly, adding a little coffee actually boosts the chocolate quotient and adding a splash of chocolate extract rounds out the flavors. You can get chocolate shavings by using a vegetable peeler on a block of chocolate. If you want chocolate curls, melt chocolate and spread thickly on the back of a metal baking sheet. When it is firm but not stiff, use a bench scraper to push the chocolate, creating beautiful curls.
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 3 tbsp dark rum
- 1 tbsp strong coffee
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cup sugar, divided
- 2 large whole eggs
- 6 oz bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
- 1 tsp chocolate extract
- 4 large egg whites (discard yolks or use in another recipe)
- Large pinch of salt
- 6 stemmed glasses for serving
- Whipped cream, for garnish
- Chocolate shavings or chocolate covered coffee beans, for garnish, optional
- Mint sprigs, for garnish, optional
- Fresh berries, for garnish, optional
- Sprinkle the gelatin on the liqueur in a small bowl and set aside.
- Combine the milk and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a small saucepan and whisk to mix. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a small bowl. When the milk boils, whisk about a third of the milk into the eggs. Return the remaining milk to a boil over low heat, then whisk in the egg mixture. This is called tempering the eggs. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens slightly. Don’t let it boil or the eggs will scramble. Take pot off the heat, and quickly whisk in the gelatin.
- Whisk in the chocolate and continue whisking until the chocolate is melted and the cream is smooth. Scrape it into a medium bowl and cool it to room temperature. Once cool, stir in chocolate extract.
- To make the meringue, place about 2 inches of water in a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and just under a simmer.
- Combine the egg whites, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk by hand just to mix. Place the bowl over the pan of water and whisk gently until the egg whites are hot (160°F on an instant-read thermometer) and the sugar is dissolved. Don’t be concerned if there are some small breadcrumb-sized specks of solid egg, these will disappear when the meringue is whipped.
- Place the bowl on the mixer with the whisk attachment and whip on medium speed until the meringue is cooled (it doesn’t have to come all the way down to room temperature) and increased in volume (see photo above).
- Stir 1/3 the meringue into the chocolate mixture. When it is fully incorporated, fold in the remaining egg whites, mixing until no white streaks remain.
- Divide the mousse among the glasses and refrigerate until set, about 3 or 4 hours.
- Serving: You may decorate each serving with a dollop of whipped cream and some chocolate shavings, chocolate covered coffee beans, mint sprigs, or a few berries.
- Storage: You can prepare the mousse the day before just cover the mousse with plastic wrap (touching the surface) to prevent a skin from forming. For a special touch, put mousse in a piping bag with a large tip and pipe it into the glasses.
- Yield: about 6 (1/2-cup) servings