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Traditional Chocolate Mousse, a Calculated Risk

August 27, 2010

So, we made this recipe a couple of weeks ago.  Right before the egg recall. Before I made it, I read up on the risks and statistics of salmonella poisoning, and thought about how every time I bake cookies I eat the raw dough and have never gotten sick. I had allowed Max to look through my cookbooks in search of a recipe for us to make together, and when he chose this chocolate mousse because he remembered eating it at a restaurant on our family vacation a year ago, I just didn’t have the heart to say no.

Guess what? We made it, we ate it up, and none of us got sick. But still, next time I’ll probably use one of those mousse recipes that uses marshmallow cream instead of eggs.

So, I gathered the ingredients together, including separating the eggs. I was feeling somewhat low on patience, so I laid everything out rather than working with him on that skill. I did let him cut the stick of butter in half with a sharp knife, which he loved. He then broke up the good quality chocolate into small pieces so it could melt together in the microwave.

I directed Max in using the microwave to melt the chocolate, stirring every 30 seconds.

Once the chocolate was melted, Max added the other ingredients, including the egg yolks, while I stirred. I directed him to work quickly, which he did.

Once this was done, we set aside the chocolate briefly to whip the egg whites in my mixer.  We then added 1/4 of the now shiny whipped whites into the chocolate and whisked, then gently folded in the rest.

Next we whipped up the heavy cream to soft peaks, folded it into the mousse, then poured it all into our 3 glasses. The recipe is actually for 4, but since there are 3 of us in our little family, we just made slightly larger servings.

Dad, please tell mom we don't really have to chill the mousse for 2 full hours.

Once spooned into the glasses, we covered and chilled for 2 hours (Max did not appreciate the wait), added plenty of whipped cream from a can, and chowed down. Max and I both had to consume ours in two separate servings because it was sooooo rich. Dad made the mistake of eating his all at once!

Recipe (Adapted from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook)

6 oz semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
1/2 stick butter
2 T strong coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, separated
2 T sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream


Microwave the chocolate and butter together, stirring after every 30 seconds or so, until melted and smooth. Stir in the coffee and vanilla (The original recipe called for a pinch of salt, but I use salted butter, so skipped this part). Whisk in the yolks, one at a time, fully incorporating between each.

In an electric mixer, whip the egg whites slowly until foamy, then increase the speed and continue to mix, while sprinkling in the sugar, until the egg whites are shiny and soft peaks form.

Whisk about 1/4 of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate, then gently fold in the remaining whites.

Using the electric mixer again, whip the cream on medium speed until it forms soft peaks, then fold that into the mousse.

Spoon into glasses, cover tightly in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for about 2 hours. Top with whipped cream. You can make more of your own from scratch (this time add sugar when whipping the cream to sweeten it), or just use canned.  I went the lazy way this time.

Mom Thinks: I can’t decide if I’m a good mom for making this because I didn’t give into my usual over-protective instincts, or if I’m a bad mom for “putting my kid at risk.” Regardless, it was a fun recipe to make, and we all enjoyed it. But, next time we’ll make something that doesn’t call for raw eggs.

Max Thinks: This was fun to make, and really tasted good. Next time I think we should leave out the coffee, since I could actually taste it.

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