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Chocolate Mousse Recipe — Elegant, but Easy

chocolate mousse

Do you have a chocolate lover in your family you’d love to make a dessert for? And you’d like to avoid the old standard chocolate cake mix—plus, you don’t have oodles of time to bake and then frost it? Chocolate mousse is the answer!

At least it worked for us when coming up with a birthday surprise for my wife. My daughter and I wanted to have fun in the kitchen together, but we had a small envelope of time. Can you say, “chocolate mousse par-tay!”

Of course, then my daughter wanted to film us in the act of creation using her Stop Action app—as an additional Mom bonus, or maybe just as proof. Soooooo. . .

Watch the video.* Read the recipe. Then go make some chocolate mousse. (Even with filming, it only took an hour or so.)

Chocolate Mousse Party—Stop Action Flick

Chocolate Mousse Recipe

(adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook)


1/2 pound (8 oz) dark/semi-sweet chocolate morsels (aka chocolate chips; ideally cacao-sugar ratio of 60/40 or so)1/2 cup espresso coffee (or water)

1/2 cup Grand Marnier

4 egg yolks

2 cups heavy cream (1 in the mousse, 1 for topping)

1/4 cup sugar

8 egg whites (Note: double the amount of yolks)

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Serves 8

Steps to Take

1. Melt the chocolate in a heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly. Add the espresso (or water), then stir in the Grand Marnier. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

2. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.

3. Whip 1 cup of the cream until thickened. Gradually add the sugar, beating until the cream is stiff.

4. Beat the egg whites with the salt until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the whipped cream.

5. Stir about one third of the cream mixture thoroughly into the chocolate mixture. Then scrape the remaining cream mixture over the chocolate base and gently fold them together. Finito!

6. Transfer the mousse into individual dessert cups or a serving bowl and refrigerate until set—around 2 hours. At serving time, whip up the remaining cup of cream until thickened. Add vanilla and whip into soft peaks. Top each portion of mousse with a dollop of whipped cream.

(Make sure to keep cold, and do not store in the refrigerator for longer than a day or two—mainly because of the raw eggs.)

For a PDF you can save or print out: Chocolate Mousse Recipe

Chocolate Mousse Notes/Tips

    • We used Ghirardelli Chocolate 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips. Of course, the type of chocolate you use will impact greatly on the character of the mousse. Cook’s Illustrated has a great article titled Dark Chocolate Chips where they discuss the cacao/sugar balance and rate a bunch of brands.

    • chocolate-mousse-parfaitAlthough we loved the rich, dense mousse this recipe produced, if I were to do it again, I might soften/dilute the chocolate a touch. How? 1) Use another dark chocolate with a lower cacao ratio, or 2) beef up the amount of whipping cream, say 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 a cup instead of 1. Or—another idea I tried with great success on the second round—in a narrow wine glass, layer the mousse with whipped cream to create chocolate mouse parfaits.

    • My wife is not a coffee drinker, but she was hardly aware of the espresso. But if you don’t want to risk it, just substitute with water. (BTW, we don’t have an espresso-maker, our espresso came from Starbucks.)

    • Same goes with the Gran Marnier. We’re a tee-totaling family, but we didn’t taste any alcohol. Judging by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Alcohol Burn-off Chart, there was probably a residual, but the majority evaporated while melting the chocolate. Nonetheless, you can replace the Gran Marnier if you like by using an OJ concentrate or boiling down some regular-strength OJ until it’s more concentrated. Or simply skip it!

    • Equipment: You don’t need a fancy-schmancy stand mixer. A hand mixer or even a stick blender (with a whisk attachment) will do the trick. We used our Braun stick blender which, for us, has become one of the wonders of the modern world. What can it not do? (Although I must admit, we had to be patient with whipping eight egg whites.)

    • Only one tricky skill—folding in the whipped cream. For those new to this concept, the idea is to allow the air trapped in the egg whites to lift the whole concoction. If you mix hard instead of fold, you break up the egg whites too much and release all the air. Gentle. . .gentle.

• • •

Anyone can bake a cake. Have a chocolate mousse party — make it with someone you love, for someone you love! It can’t get any sweeter than that :)

* The song for the stop-action video, “Standing Next to You,” is from my CD, Perfect Wave, which was released on an indie label eons ago. . .

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