When I was a little girl, my Grandma used to make “chocolate moose”. Her chocolate “moose” consisted of Cool Whip and Hershey’s chocolate syrup. To a 6 year old, this was the epitome of rich, decadent desserts. Chemically processed sugars with a list of unpronounceable ingredients not withstanding.
When I was somewhat older, in college, and working for a catering company, I had my first taste of “real” mousse. It was certainly reminiscent of Grandma’s “chocolate moose”, but so much better on a deeper, more visceral level. It was thick and creamy and smooth and chocolately. I used to bring leftover containers of it home and “munch” on it as a snack. (Did I mention that I was in my very early 20s and had the metabolism to match?) Somehow I left that job without ever learning the recipe.
Fast forward another decade or so, and here I am ready to finally try my hand at homemade chocolate mousse. My husband and I are celebrating our 2-year anniversary tomorrow and although my Black Bean Chocolate Cake is our go-to dessert for special coccasions, I wanted to try something a little lighter (in texture if not calories) that didn’t require me to turn on the oven.
A perusal of The Joy of Cooking lead me to several options. The majority of which called for making a chocolate custard with anywhere from 3-6 eggs. Now, I have actually learned to enjoy preparing a good custard. My Frozen Lemon Custard for one, and Tiramisu for another. But I wanted something simple. Chocolate Rum Mousse was the answer. (The fact that it contains rum was just an added bonus!)
1/4 cup sugar
4 TBS white rum
1/4lb (4oz by weight) semisweet chocolate (I prefer Ghiradelli semisweet chocolate chips)
2 TBS whipping cream
2 eggs whites, stiffly beaten
2 cups whipped cream
In a small sauce pan, heat sugar and rum until sugar is melted, but not caramelized or brown in colour. Set aside.
In a double boiler, melt chocolate. Once melted, stir in 2 TBS whipping cream and stir until smooth. Then, stir in rum syrup and stir until smooth. Remove double boiler from pot with water, and allow chocolate mixture to cool to room temperature. Do not place in refrigerator or water bath to speed the process.
Once chocolate has cooled, beat 2 egg whites until stiff. Gently fold-in chocolate mixture. Whip 2 cups of cream until desired thickness (but don’t go too far or you’ll end up with butter!) Gently fold chocolate egg white mixture into whipped cream. I suggest doing the chocolate a little at a time. The key is to not get over zealous and just start stirring. That will cause the egg white and whipped cream to deflate, and then your mousse won’t be the right consistency.
Once chocolate and whipped cream are folded, spoon mousse into dessert glasses of your choice (4oz jelly jars work great, too!) and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. If you’d like, garnish with a sprig of chocolate mint and a Ghiradelli square!
Recipe Source: The Joy of Cooking, 38th printing, May 1985
*RAW EGG WARNING*
Due to the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness, please use caution when consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs. To reduce this risk, it is recommended that you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. You may also purchase pasteurized eggs, such as Davidson’s.