Tag Archives: chocolate mousse

Excuse me, Waiter? I Didn’t Order Chocolate Chip Mousse.

23 Oct
Hey, wait a minute!  I thouht mousse was supposed to be smooth and creamy and poofy.  What's with those antlers?  (Photo attribution below).

Hey, wait a minute! I thought mousse was supposed to be smooth and creamy and poofy. What's with those antlers? (Photo attribution at end of post).

First, I must start with an Apology.  Friend Freckles asked about how to keep mousse from getting all crunchy when you start folding the chocolate into the rest of the ingredients.  She asked this a Very Long Time ago.  I had every intention of writing an Amazing Post to answer her question, but then it fell out of my brain completely.  My brain is Very Small and Cramped.  Anyway, rather than Berating me and calling me mean names because I didn’t do what I said I was gonna do,  she instead employed the You Catch More Flies With Honey Than With Vinegar approach and left another comment the other day, ending with a friendly, “by the way–how’s that chocolate mousse coming?”  Non-threatening and honey-esque, yes?  Of course, my first thought was, “What is she talking about?” See, I told you my brain is small and cramped.  At any rate, I did finally remember the question,  so here I am to answer her Excellent Question to the best of my ability.  Sorry for the tardiness, Freckles, but thanks for being nice!

Okay, so what do we know about chocolate?  Chocolate is an emulsion–wee dry particles of cocoa liqueur suspended in the bunch of different fats that make up cocoa butteYou’ve heard of chocolate’s seizing, right?  Well, that’s because you’re accidentally introducing just a Tiny Amount of liquid into the now-melted emulsion.  Do you think the liquid is going to mix with the dry particles or the fat?  I’ll give you a moment.  Insert Jeopardy Theme Song here.  The dry, you say?  You are correct!  Water is hardly going to play nicely with the fat.   So now what has happened is that this Tiny Amount of water has stodged together the dry particles.  The only way to unstodge them is to add enough liquid that the particles can freely slide past each other as opposed to clumping up.  Ever added just a few drops of water to a big old pot of sugar, maybe in preparation for making caramel or something?  The sugar just clumps up and gets stupid.  Keep adding water, though, and eventually you’ll be able to stir it freely and the sugar will even dissolve.  Lovely.  Same principle applies to chocolate.

Here’s another thing we know about chocolate:  you put it in the fridge, and it gets hard.  The fats firm up to the point of Rock Hard.  So, if you start mixing melted chocolate together with some crazy cold cream, it’ll get all chippy on you.

To fool melted chocolate into playing nicely with water-based and cold  ingredients, you’ve got to take both Things We Know About Chocolate into account.  As far as the emulsion deal, you’ll want to fold in the ingredient that has more water in it first.  And that’s egg whites.  Plus, egg whites whip best at room-ish temperature,  so you won’t have to really worry about the cold factor coming into play.  As far as the cream goes, you want to make sure that it’s not crazy cold.  Yes, they always tell you to make sure the cream is as cold as possible and to stash your bowl and beater over at the local Cryogenics Lab alongside Walt Disney before whipping.  But, here’s the thing, if your cream is too cold, you’re running the risk of chipping up your chocolate.  Besides, when it comes to making mousse, I advise only whipping until barely soft peaks.  You’ll continue to “whip” the cream as you fold everything together.  If you whip to medium or stiff peaks, you run the risk of overwhipping during the folding process and ending up with grainy mousse at best and chunky buttery mousse at worst.  Yum.

To avoid Unfortunate Chippage, fold in almost-all-fat yolks first, then fold in the whites.  These have enough water in them to keep the cocoa solids from clumping up, ‘member?  Last, fold in your slightly under-whipped and decidedly-cool-but-not-Arctic cream at the end.

And that’s pretty much that, I think.  Any of you guys have any tricks for avoiding Unfortunate Mousse Chippage?  If so, do tell.

Theobroma Rodentia

3 Apr
Apparently, today is his Special Day.  Whatever.

Apparently, today is his Special Day. Whatever.

I had every intention of bringing you panna cotta today.  And not just a recipe for it–you can get those anywhere.  I was going to post all about the Best Way to Make Creamy Panna Cotta.  It’s over on my Examiner page, though, and you are welcome to go and check it out–the link is in the side bar.  Since it’s for The Examiner, I had to use my Grown-up Voice as opposed to my normal voice.  Alas.

But I digress.  Why, oh why have I changed my plans, you ask?  Well, apparently, according to a dude on Twitter, today is National Chocolate Mouse Day.  Yup, mouse.  I take that to mean that, instead of chocolate bunnies and eggs and stuff, we should be enjoying wee chocolate rodents.  I thought to myself, “Self, now you’re going to have to go into tempering chocolate and how to mold it without any bubbles and What Not.”  And then I began to whine a little.  I don’t want to talk about tempering.  Deep down inside, I am underwhelmed by the ability to melt a bar of chocolate, temper it and then pour it into a mold.  That’s not really cooking; it’s a craft project.  Yes, there is skill involved in knowing the right temperatures and such, but with a good thermometer and some practice, you’ll be able to temper with the best.  I really want to talk about a way to take chocolate, mix it with some Other Stuff, and turn a hard snap into a soundless creamy pouf.

So, bottom line:  no chocolate mice today, folks.  Nope.  If that’s what you’re in the mood for, I am Not your girl.  I’m feeling rebellious, so chocolate mousse it is!  See, I just added an extra s to mouse.  Oh, I wonder if that’s what Twitter dude meant in the first place.  Nah, prolly not.  While everyone else on the Hinternet will apparently be discussing and dissecting (ew) varieties of theobroma rodentia, maybe throwing in the odd feral gerbil or two, you, loyal readers, get to learn about mousse.  Now you guys feel rebellious, too, right?

Mousse means foam.  Foam is light and poufy.  If anyone has ever served you a dense and creamy chocolate pudding and called it mousse, they are Lying Liars.  A mousse should have air whipped into it.  Not to knock pudding, but it will have to wait for Its Day.   So, how to get air into some chocolate?  You need to add some Other Ingredients that are really good at trapping air:  eggs and cream.  Now, there are a bunch of ways to make mousse.  There’s the whip raw yolks with sugar, whisk in melted chocolate, fold in whipped cream and whipped egg whites way.  That’s a good way, and it is The Way I consider Classic.  There’s the Easy Way, which is to fold together melted chocolate and whipped cream.  And then, there are some cooked ways, for folks who get squidgy about raw eggs.  One cooked Way involves a pate a bombe.  Sounds fancy, right?  Not so much.  It’s just yolks whipped together with hot sugar syrup–just like you’d start a French buttercream.  there’s even a Way that starts with a custard base.

Pate a Bombe based Chocolate Mousse
This mousse gets firmer as it sits in the fridge.  It is ideal for layering in a mold because it holds its shape well and is “sliceable.”  Think about making, oh, maybe a stout cake and using this mousse as a filling and frosting.  Then, pour a thin layer of ganache over the whole thing.  Mother of mercy, why am I still sitting here typing?  Because I am Selfless, that’s why.  Now pay attention.

  • 24 oz. heavy cream
  • 2 oz. sugar
  • 1.5 oz. water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 8 oz. dark chocolate (I use 64%–use what you like)
  • 4 oz. milk chocolate (I think I use 34%–ditto)
  • heavy pinch o’ salt
  • splash o’ vanilla
  • splash o’ liqueur (optional)

Melt the chocolates together, and cool them to room temperature.

Beat yolks until light and poufy.

Cook sugar w/water to 248F.  Stream sugar mixture into yolks and continue beating until very light, poufy and thick.  And cool.  You won’t have much–as you can see, it’s only 2 yolks and 2 oz. sugar.  If your mixer won’t whip that small amount, you might need to tilt the bowl, use a hand mixer with whip attachment or just double the whole recipe.  How sad would that be?

Whip cream and vanilla to very soft peaks–they should still slump a lot.  The cream will continue to “whip” during the folding.  If you whip it to medium or stiff peaks, by the time everyone is folded together, you will have overwhipped your cream and your mousse will be grainy.  Tweed mousse is Unattractive and Easily Prevented.  Don’t let it happen to you.

Fold 1/3 of the cream into the pate a bombe (yolk mixture).  Then fold in the chocolate and liqueur (if using).  End by folding in the rest of the cream.

This mousse will be soft and poufy to begin with, and you can serve it as is.  If you’re going to use it to fill/frost a cake, use it now while it’s still spreadable.

Custard Based Chocolate Mousse
This mousse will hold its shape but stay soft and creamy.  It quenelles beautifully.  We used to make it in large batches and keep it in shallow third pans to quenelle as a dessert component.  I am very glad I met the custard-based mousse.  It’s good for a dinner party because it makes a fair ton, and you can make it the day before and scoop it the day of with no problem. You’ll notice this recipe is written in grams.  I have a mixture both metric and avoirdupois measurements, and I’ve never bothered to convert one to the other–I’m kind of lazy that way, and my scale does both, so there you go.

  • 190 g heavy cream
  • 190 g whole milk
  • 105 g corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 TBSP vanilla
  • 1 1/2 TBSP liqueur (hazelnut is nice; use what you like)
  • salt, tt
  • 190 g egg yolks
  • 500 g chocolate (I used 300 g 64% and 200 g 34%)
  • 900 g softly whipped cream

Melt and cool the chocolate.  Put it in a Big Old Bowl.

Make the custard:  heat cream, milk, corn syrup and salt to a simmer.  Temper into the yolks, whisking madly.  Pour the yolk/milk mixture back into the pan and heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Don’t let it boil.

Strain the custard into the chocolate and fold together with the vanilla and liqueur.  Cool to room temperature, stirring frequently.  Resist the urge to use an ice bath; you’ll just get the chocolate too firm.

Fold in the softly whipped cream.  The mousse will be very soft.  Pour the billowy goodness into Some Sort of Vessel and let it firm up in the fridge until you’re ready to scoop it.  You can also pour it straight into individual serving dishes, if you’d rather.

And there you have it.  Two recipes for chocolate mousse.  More importantly, you have 2 techniques for said mousse.  Don’t forget:  1)Pate a bombe method, and 2)Custard method.

Yes, you can sub. sugar or even agave nectar for the corn syrup in the custard mousse.

For those of you seeking out information on Chocolate Mouse on Chocolate Mouse Day, I apologize.  I’m sure you’re bitterly disappointed.  Here, I found this.  It’s for you:  Chocolate Mice. Consider it a peace offering, and try to settle for the mousse.

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