Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Smitten Valentine's Mousse

In an effort to be something like romantic in celebration of my boyfriend's least-favored holiday, I thought I'd attempt to whip up a recent favorite dessert of his: Bailey's chocolate mousse, which would hopefully resemble the little dishes of heaven we had at Anthony's a couple weeks ago. I love Smitten Kitchen and put my faith in Deb to guide me in this venture. The results were delicious...creamy but not too puddingy, fluffy but not too airy, rich but not too sweet. Her recipe is below (and here with her notes), with my comments in red...

silky, decadent old-school chocolate mousse

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao), chopped (I used that cheap box of Baker's semi-sweet 54% cacao stuff and it was great)
3/4 stick (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (I used salted butter & no kittens were murdered that I know of)
3 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon Cognac or other brandy (or swap with a liqueur of your choice) (I used about 1&1/2 T. of Irish Cream. I think this lent just the right amount of flavor. Subtle, but discernible.)
1 cup very cold heavy or whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon salt

Get out one large heatproof, two medium and one small mixing bowl and dust off your electric hand mixer.

Set the large bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water and melt the chocolate and butter in it, gently stirring it until smooth. Remove from heat. Alternately, you can melt them in your microwave, stirring thoroughly at 30 seconds and every 15 seconds thereafter until the mixture is smooth.

In the small bowl, beat yolks with your electric mixer until thick enough to form a ribbon that takes a few seconds to dissolve — this will take about two to four minutes to achieve. Whisk yolks into chocolate mixture along with Cognac, then cool to warm.

In one of the medium bowls, beat the cream with cleaned beaters until it just holds stiff peaks.

In the other medium bowl, beat the egg whites and salt with cleaned beaters until they just hold soft peaks.

Fold the whipped cream and beaten whites into the chocolate mixture, gently but thoroughly. Transfer to 8 (4 ounce) ramekins or one large serving bowl, or go restaurant-style, serving it in stemmed glasses with white or dark chocolate shavings on top.

She makes it sound like you're just supposed to serve it right away, but the consensus last night was that it was WAY better cold(er). I dished up 2 small cups and stuck them in the freezer for about half an hour before sprinkling them with chocolate shavings and digging in.

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