Love and Chocolate
Wow your Valentine with a made-from-scratch chocolate mousse.
Chocolate and cocoa companies in the U.S. ship $14 billion worth of product a year -- according to Valentine’s Day facts on the History Channel’s website -- and much of that is consumed around Valentine’s Day.
In literature and popular media, chocolate is a food of love. Charles Schulz’ cartoon Peanut Lucy Van Pelt said it best: “All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!”
Anyone can grab a box of chocolates for a special valentine, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But consider how much you’ll impress her them with a hand-crafted labor of love. Chocolate mousse is not difficult to make, but it takes a little advance planning. The final product is well worth the effort.
Mousse needs to refrigerate 12 hours and set to room temperature for two hours before whipping, so if you want to serve it as a Valentine’s dessert, start a day prior.
2 cups heavy whipping cream
12 oz. semi-sweet or milk chocolate morsels
Optional garnishes such as strawberries or chocolate shavings
Stand mixer (or hand mixer) with stainless steel bowl
Optional: pastry bag with tip
Heat heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan until it simmers. Remove from heat.
Put chocolate morsels in a stainless steel bowl. Pour heated cream over morsels.
With a whisk, gently stir morsels and cream from the center until completely mixed. The heated cream will melt the morsels. Be careful not to slosh the mixture out of the bowl. As you stir, you’ll notice a thickening.
Put this chocolate sauce in refrigerator to cool for 12 hours.
Two hours before serving, remove chocolate sauce from refrigerator and allow to set and adjust to room temperature.
Using a stand mixer on low to medium speed, whip room temperature chocolate sauce. A stand mixer allows for more consistency, evenly folding air into the sauce, but you could use a hand mixer if needed.
The incorporation of air makes the thickened sauce a mousse, which is French for “lather” or “foam.” And, true to its name, you’ll notice a lighter color and a more airy, fluffy consistency as you whip. Careful whipping should take about 10 minutes.
Once your mousse is ready, you can spoon it into serving dishes and garnish. But for a neater presentation, I prefer to spoon it into a pastry bag and swirl it gently into a small ramekin, garnishing with sliced strawberries or chocolate shavings.
Chocolate mousse is light and luscious…the perfect treat for your special valentine. Enjoy!