Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Quick & Easy (5-Minute) Chocolate Mousse


fast quick easy chocolate mousse dessert

Decadent desserts can be time consuming and tedious to make, but sometimes you want more than a few cookies for an after-dinner treat.  It is possible to streamline some desserts into a faster (and easier) version that can be made in just minutes.  Chocolate mousse is one of those ultra-rich delicacies that tastes amazing but takes only a few ingredients, a little time and not much effort.


Traditionally a mousse is a two-part dessert, the first involving slowly cooking egg yolks, cream, sugar and your flavoring of choice over low heat.  This produces a very intense custard base that is then folded into stiffly-whipped cream and chilled for a rich pudding that is both fluffy and creamy in texture and light and rich in flavor.

But to be honest, it’s a huge pain in the butt to make.  Heating the cream first, then melting the chocolate but first setting aside some liquid to temper the eggs, chilling the base but not too much because it can get difficult to fold into the whipped cream…it is a long and tiresome process that can go awry in many ways (curdled cream, scrambled eggs, etc).  If there is an easier way to do things I will find it.

The ingredients for my Quick & Easy Chocolate Mousse are simple: cream, chocolate, sugar.  Heavy whipping cream to be exact, a very dark and lightly sweetened chocolate bar (the Lindt ones are my personal favorite) and a little bit of granulated sugar.

fast quick easy chocolate mousse dessert

Quick & Easy Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1 3.5-ounce dark chocolate bar, 80%+ cocoa solids (or 1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • strawberries or other fruit (optional)

Tools

  • 2 bowls (one medium to large that is freezer safe, one small that is microwave safe)
  • 1 spatula
  • Measuring cups
  • Hand mixer (or whisk if you feel like getting an insane workout)

Place the larger bowl & whisk attachment in the freezer to chill for half an hour.  While it is doing so, break up the chocolate bar; I find that it is easiest to do this by bending and smashing it while still in the wrapper and then opening one end and dumping it into a bowl.  Microwave the pieces 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between (you may want to add a splash of cream or milk to prevent it from burning).  It should only take two or three intervals to melt it fully.  Set aside and allow to cool.

fast quick easy chocolate mousse dessert

Remove the chilled bowl from the freezer and pour the cream into it.  I recommend placing the bowl in a clean, empty sink to avoid splattering your counter, backsplash and self with drops of dairy.  Start on a lower setting for about 30 seconds to thicken it (less splattering), then turn to the highest setting and whip until the cream is very stiff and holds shape (approximately three minutes).  If whisking by hand, place a towel around the bowel to keep it cold and to hold it in place; it will take a long time to get the cream sturdy enough for mousse (I do not recommend this method).  I also would not use a stand mixer for this job as you need to whip around the sides and center and the hand mixer is far more versatile.

fast quick easy chocolate mousse dessert

Once your cream is whipped, add the sugar and whipped for one more minute to fully incorporate.  It’s okay if there is still a slight graininess to it at first as the sugar will dissolve while the mousse sets up.  With the spatula, add a dollop of cream to the room temperature chocolate and stir it together.  Not only will this cool the chocolate further, it will also loosen and aerate it so it can be easily combined with the rest of the whipped cream.

fast quick easy chocolate mousse dessert

Add the chocolate mixture to the cream and gently fold in.  This will take several minutes but you want to be careful not to push all the air out of the mousse.  Yes, it will look like a hot mess for awhile but it will come together.  Once you have incorporated all the whipped cream into the chocolate, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill.

fast quick easy chocolate mousse dessert

While you can eat the mousse immediately, it really needs at least half an hour to properly set up and stiffen in the fridge.  This recipe serves 3-4 people but can be easily doubled or tripled if you are cooking for a crowd.  Serve it with fresh fruit such as strawberries or bananas or enjoy it plain.  If you wish to spice it up a little, add a splash of vanilla and two teaspoons of ground cinnamon or one teaspoon of peppermint extract for extra flavor.