Mousse au Chocolat

Bonjour! C'est moi, Allison. Et, je parle le Francais aujourd hui. Kidding!

It's Valentine's Week and everything is all chocolate and red and French in the world and I may be a wee bit over-caffeinated overexcited.

J'adore Valentine's Day. Not because my husband and I celebrate it, per se, but because the red & pink, the chocolate, the HEARTS! It all makes me feel so light and happy. Ooh, what else is light and happy? Chocolate Mousse!

This dessert was all the rage in the late 1970s and early 80s. What happened? It's so lovely and light, so rich and distinct. I'm not sure how mousse became a cake filling and not a stand alone dessert. My mom made it for dinner parties when I was younger and I recall how decadent and exciting it was as she spooned it into champagne glasses or poured it into our casserole dish. Mom always made mousse the proper way - with eggs - but I went another direction. Classic chocolate mousse is made with frothy, gorgeous egg whites and sometimes cooked yolks. More often than not, the eggs are not cooked at all (oh! There's my answer! Now that the US is all litiginous, we don't serve raw eggs.). Anyhoo, I decided to make a truly creamy version and here it is.

Certainly you can use this as a filling (chill for 30 minutes before spreading on cake layers and then chill after you frost your crumb layer to help the cake set up), but it is so nice all on its own. A little bourbon whipped cream (recipe below) topped it nicely, but so could crushed chocolate wafers or chocolate curls. Or raspberries. Or cherries. Oh, I could wax on and on. Just make this one, you Fancy Lovelies!

Happy Valentine's Day!

xox,

A.


Chocolate Mousse
Serves 6
2 C heavy whipping cream
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small bits
1 t vanilla
1/4 t sea salt

Whip 1-1/2 cups of the cream until just holding the form of your beaters - it should be a bit soft and pillowy. Set aside.

Bring 1/2 cup of the cream just to a boil on the stove top and immediately whisk in the bittersweet chocolate. Stir in the vanilla and sea salt. Let sit about 5 minutes to cool.

Working with your mixer on low, add the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream a little bit at a time (in 3 scoops). Divide your mousse into 6 cups or champagne flutes (you can use a piping bag) and refrigerate about an hour before serving. The longer the mousse is in the fridge, the firmer it will be on your spoon. Dollop a tiny spoonful of bourbon whipped cream and enjoy!

Bourbon Whipped Cream
1 C heavy whipping cream
2 T good-quality bourbon (I used Russell's reserve)
1-1/2 T brown sugar
1 t vanilla

Beat the cream, bourbon, sugar and vanilla at high speed until soft peaks form in the cream. Chill or serve immediately.

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