Last week, I told you I’d be doing two weeks of pie posts from Thanksgiving. But then, on Tuesday, I made a recipe that changed everything: Chocolate Mousse out of my Science of Good Cooking Cookbook. You can wait on pumpkin pie – this recipe is an immediate need-to-know.
In fact, I think The Science of Good Cooking may be making its way into my regular rotation of cookbooks. Usually, I make a lot of stuff out of the Ottolenghi books (Plenty and Plenty More) as well as the beautifully photographed What To Cook & How To Cook It. But The Science of Good Cooking has been sitting on my bookcase since my second year teaching (thanks, David Gillis!), and I’ve been meaning to really dig into it. It’s a little intimidating, because every recipe has textbook-like descriptions of the chemical reactions at play and how the ingredients interact. The science part is what drew me to it. It’s the time commitment that has kept me from trying stuff. Not that the recipes take awhile – more that I want to read all of the science behind every recipe I try.
Turns out, the recipes themselves are actually pretty straightforward. And if you can resist the urge to immediately become an expert, they don’t take so long to cook. I had friends over for dinner on Tuesday (Hi, Josh and Sungho!), and three of the menu items came from this cookbook.
But onto the mousse. I’ve made mousse before, but I would encourage you to ignore any other version of this I’ve done and only use this recipe from now on. It’s far superior.
First, in a heatproof bowl, combine chocolate, water, cocoa powder, brandy, espresso, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Melt over a pot of simmering water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and salt for about 30 seconds, until lighter yellow and thicker. Pour warm chocolate mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly until combined. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed for about a minute until foamy. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar and increase speed to medium-high, beating until soft peaks form. Whisk about 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the remaining egg whites using a rubber spatula. Back in the stand mixer, whip cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into mousse until no streaks remain. Spoon mousse into 8 individual ramekins. Cover and place in fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. These are the perfect texture. Not so light that they don’t even taste like chocolate. Not so dense that you only want one spoonful. Served with a little fresh whipped cream and shaved chocolate, they make a great dessert for a dinner party. Even better, they keep in the fridge for a couple of days pretty well if you just want to have one in front of the TV and feel fancy. Totally up to you.
Premium Chocolate Mousse
- 8 ounces 65-70% dark chocolate, chopped
- 7 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream, chilled
- In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate, water, cocoa powder, brandy espresso powder, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Melt over a pot of simmering water, stirring frequently, until smooth. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar, and salt for 30 seconds until slightly thicker and paler.
- Whisk chocolate mixture into egg yolks, pouring in a steady stream and whisking constantly, until combined. Set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed for one minute until foamy. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar and increase speed to medium high, beating until soft peaks form.
- Fold 1/4 of egg whites into chocolate mixture using whisk. Fold in remaining egg whites with a rubber spatula.
- In the stand mixer, beat the heavy cream on medium high speed until soft peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture until no white streaks remain.
- Spoon batter into eight individual ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours. Serve with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.