No dessert says decadence like chocolate mousse. It is the perfect combination of rich chocolate flavor melded with lush creaminess. It is an adult dessert that also delivers the pure childhood joy of chocolate pudding. Despite its reputation, it is both easy to make and a healthy choice. The richness means a smaller portion will satisfy and using quality fats make it a good dietary choice.
There are a lot of chocolate mousse recipes available and, honestly, most of them will deliver a reasonable outcome. We developed this recipe with a primary goal of simplicity in both ingredients and execution. Various forms and alternates of the prime ingredients were tested to find the optimal point as well variants which appealed to subsets of our tasting panels. This recipe and procedure illustrates why SWTD chose this for the debut.
Recipe development was done by Andrew Hall. My staff are the willing taste test victims.
The chocolate. This is the most important part of the recipe. It is essential to purchase quality chips that are labelled 60-70% cacao. The cacao percent basically indicates how much chocolate flavor there is vs fillers and sugar. While all the sugar content in this recipe comes from the chocolate, we don’t want much. We also don’t need a lot of cocoa butter (main part of the remaining filler) since we are mixing the chocolate with cream to get the texture we desire. While you may be tempted to go for the ultra-rich cacao that is greater than 70%, we need some fat in the chocolate and both taste and execution tests at above 70% cacao had issues. Alternately, milk chocolate or other lower cacao percentages were simply too sweet or lacked the chocolate punch this dessert requires.
Chocolate is a place where spending a little extra money truly delivers value in this recipe. We used Guittard Extra Dark (63%) chips for the final recipe. A package is readily available at stores like Target for around $3 and will make five sets of the recipe (10 servings in total.)
The cream. The choice of cream is a major focus for the quality of fat. Ideally, picking grass-fed and non-ultra pasteurized delivers the best result in terms of both flavor and healthiness of the fats. In taste tests, the non-ultra pasteurized did deliver a higher level of creaminess due to the gentler method of processing the cream, and it also whips up a lot stronger and higher.
All that said, we recognize that quality cream is both hard to find and expensive. (It usually only comes in larger containers, so stay tuned for other ideas to get the most out of it!) My preferred local brand is Snowville Creamery Cream but is usually around $12 for a half gallon (enough for 32 servings total!) That said, this still works out to less than $1/serving of chocolate mousse and this pleasure here is well above that.
If there are choices to be made here, look for cream labelled as at least grass-fed for the best results. Organic is ideal but not necessary. The quality of the fat is determined more by the cow being grass-fed more than the organic.
We also tried to make the recipe as easy as possible with ratios of ingredients that can be readily scaled for more servings.
Shop with the Doc Dark Chocolate Mousse
Makes 1 cup of chocolate mousse = two servings
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (60g)
1/2 cup heavy cream (120g)*
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
*This is one recipe where volume was a little less accurate. We found enough variation in the fat content of the creams we tested that the volume of 120g of cream showed significant inconsistency. I strongly suggest using weight which allows for an easy 2:1 ratio of cream to chocolate which makes scaling for more servings much easier.
Over low heat, melt chocolate and 2 T of the (total) cream. Mix with a spatula as it melts to a smooth and shiny texture. Allow to cool and mix in salt and vanilla.
Whip remaining cream into soft peaks. (Chill whisk and bowl for best results.)
Take a small amount of the whipped cream and mix into chocolate. Be gentle, but mix thoroughly until it is the texture of chocolate syrup. Then slowly fold in the rest of the cream into the chocolate in small batches. Fold gently, scraping to the bottom of the chocolate and folding over top of the cream. The final mousse should be light, but thoroughly mixed and uniform in color.
Place in serving cups and chill for at least two hours. When ready to serve, allow to warm up for 15-30 minutes – this is actually pretty important as if it is too cold, the chocolate flavor is diminished. Garnish with a little whipped cream and raspberries, if desired.
Coffee Chocolate and coffee are very complimentary flavors. This variant really doesn’t taste at all of coffee, but significantly amps up the chocolate intensity. This was the overwhelming favorite of the tasting panels, but is not part of the master recipe just for simplicity (who has espresso laying around?)
Swap 1 T (think espresso) of really strong coffee for the cream in the melting stage. Proceed with the recipe as instructed. You can fake this by dissolving a double dose of instant coffee in water, but the coffee flavor is more noticeable using instant.
Coconut oil While coconut oil is the subject of a different post, it does add a nice exotic element to the mousse. It was a strongly obvious flavor and was disliked by as many tasters as preferred it.
Add 1T of coconut oil to the melting stage. Proceed with the rest as instructed.
Semi-sweet chocolate chips Sometimes that is all that is available. A small minority of tasters preferred this version. Both the flavor and texture suffered. The amount of sugar also goes up 33%, which makes this significantly less healthy.
Substitute equal volume / weight of semisweet chocolate chips. Proceed as instructed.
1 serving (recipe is two servings)
12 g of sugar (16 g of sugar for semisweet)
35 g of fat (42g for coconut oil version)