For this evening's Easter dinner with the in-laws, I discovered that it also happened to be National Chocolate Mousse Day, so choosing a dessert to bring didn't take a lot of thought. I have NO idea who decides or makes up these odd little food holidays that happen throughout the year. A quick Google search brought up all kinds of weird and wacky food days on the calendar. OK, admittedly, it would be very hipocritical of me at this point to speak out against any of these Food Days - after all, I went on and on and on about le Jour du Macaron, and here I am again, recognizing Chocolate Mousse Day. Still, it seems a tad excessive, doesn't it? I mean really, does there really need to be a National Candied Orange Peel Day? Or National Eat a Red Apple Day? How about National Escargot Day? Then there are the foods that get an entire *month* of awareness; National Noodle Month, National Chicken Month, Snack Food Month, Soup Month... the list goes on and on. My research also turned up a National Apple Jacks Month, which I am sure that my cereal-loving sister will happily observe (FYI Sis, it's October), as well as International Bacon Day, which my nephew will *love* (the Saturday before Labour Day). Thank goodness we haven't all been sucked into decorating trees and buying cards for all these holidays, or we'd never get a break.
I'll get back on track now... so I made chocolate mousse, something I have made many, many, many times before, mostly because it makes a fantastic not-too-sweet frosting for a wicked chocolate cake. At this evening's dinner, there were going to be quite a few kids, so I thought I'd mix it up a bit with a milk chocolate mousse as well as my standard dark-chocolate mousse. I should have stuck with my tried-and-true. The milk chocolate mousse was hugely disappointing for me - way too sweet and it had a horrible grainy texture that was completely off-putting. The dark chocolate mousse was fluffy, rich and silky smooth, like a good mousse is supposed to be. As a result, I'm not even going to post the recipe for the milk chocolate mousse - it's nothing but a waste of time, money and good ingredients that can be put to better use.
Because of the gelatin in this recipe, it also makes a great cake frosting, as I mentioned above - the more traditional egg-white mousse doesn't hold up against gravity the way this does. That said, it's also a deliciously decadent, elegant dessert all on it's own.
As for tomorrow night's dessert, family tradition dictates - stay tuned..........
Dark Chocolate Mousse
2 Cups (350g) dark chocolate, chopped (guess which kind I used)
1 tsp gelatin powder
1 Cup (240ml) milk
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 Cups (600ml) whipping cream
2 tsp (10ml) vanilla extract
Place chopped chocolate, or chips in this case, in a medium, heatproof bowl. Pour the milk into a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatin over the milk and allow it to sit for a couple of minutes. Once the gelatin has "bloomed", gently whisk the mixture together, along with the salt. Heat the milk, until it just begins to simmer. Pour the heated milk over the chocolate and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. Slowly and gently stir the chocolate and milk together until it is thick and glossy, then stir in the vanilla. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature (about 20-30 minutes).
In the bowl of a standing mixer, whip the cream to soft peaks. Reduce the mixer speed to medium low, and with the mixer running, pour the cooled ganache into the cream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, turn the mixer to medium high, and continue to mix for about 30 seconds, until no dark streaks remain.
Pour the mousse into bowls or cups and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. You can garnish with a bit of softly whipped cream if you like. If using the mousse as a cake frosting, use immediately before placing in the fridge to chill and set.