This classic chocolate mousse is light yet intensely chocolate. Don’t be fooled by the French name — it’s quick and easy to make!Don’t let the French name fool you: chocolate mousse is one of the easiest desserts to make. Seriously, if you have a microwave, a hand mixer, and a rubber spatula, you can make a homemade chocolate mousse to rival any French restaurant’s version. And you can do it in 20 minutes.This recipe, adapted from Tyler Florence, is virtually foolproof. I have experimented with adding a hit of coffee or booze to enhance the flavor; both versions are good but the family consensus is that plain chocolate is best. Keep it simple!
For serving the mousse, you can use pretty juice glasses, martini glasses, champagne flutes, small bowls, or espresso cups. Or, if you’re hosting a party and want to give your guests a small taste, you can serve the mousse in Asian-style porcelain soup spoons. Finally, note that chocolate mousse needs to set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving, so plan accordingly.
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Chocolate mousse has very few ingredients so it’s important to use the best quality chocolate — its flavor will shine through. I like semi-sweet chocolate but if you prefer your mousse with a darker chocolate flavor, use bittersweet. Remember, the higher the cacao percentage, the less sweet the chocolate.
To begin, place the butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Break the chocolate into small pieces directly into the bowl (no need to chop it first and dirty a cutting board). Microwave it in 20-second intervals, stirring between each bout of heat, until the chocolate is about 75% melted. Stir, allowing the residual heat in the bowl to melt the chocolate completely. This prevents the chocolate from scorching.
(Alternatively, place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan containing about 1 inch of barely simmering water. Stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.)Let the mixture cool for a few minutes, then whisk in the egg yolks one at a time, mixing until smooth after each addition.Set aside.
In another medium bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form (the peaks should be just starting to hold, and will melt back into themselves after a second).Gradually beat in 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (the peaks will stand straight up when the beaters are lifted from the mixture).Using a large rubber spatula, fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture.Mix only until uniform, then set aside.
In another bowl, beat the heavy cream until it begins to thicken up. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla.Continue beating until the cream holds medium peaks.Add the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Gently fold the cream into the chocolate mixture, making sure not to mix any more than necessary.Divide the mousse between 6 individual glasses, cover, and chill until set, at least 2 hours.Up to a few hours before serving, whip the cream until it begins to thicken. Add the sugar and whip to medium peaks. Dollop the whipped cream over the mousse and top with chocolate shavings.