The Christmas holiday season cannot pass without a chocolate mousse. I have been making them for years…………… every year! Sometimes with cream added, sometimes without. Sometimes using milk chocolate, sometimes dark and sometimes a combination of both.
This year, I went for a very deep, rich mousse made with all dark (70%) chocolate and just a little cream………. Very grown-up with a slightly bitter chocolate flavour, so a little goes a long way. It is however, absolutely delicious, especially when partnered with a light, fluffy white chocolate cream. The sweet caramel notes of the white chocolate perfectly offset the darkness of the chocolate and make this a flavour combination that becomes very moreish and quite addictive.
This mousse is one which demands that you savour every mouthful. Eat with a small spoon………. a little dark chocolate mousse and a little white chocolate cream. Drop it on the tongue and slowly allow to mingle and settle on the taste buds to take in the full experience. Mmmmmmmmmm……
If you don’t like your chocolate too dark, just substitute with milk chocolate and the mousse will be just as delicious, if a little sweeter and milkier. Trust me, I have tried both many times and whichever you prefer will be delightful.
This year I also made some little hazelnut biscuits to sit alongside the mousse. These add an alternative texture to the dessert and the hazelnut works in perfect harmony with the dark chocolate. I think actually, that these are the most delicious gluten free biscuits I have ever made. They are light, crisp, not too sweet, nutty and truly melt in the mouth. The best comparison I can make is a really light, buttery, hazelnut shortbread, but better. One bite and you are hooked!
The biscuits were a bit of an experiment I confess, but I have all sorts of plans for them now that I have stumbled across them. I can’t wait to make some and dip them in chocolate ……………..
Dark Chocolate Mousse
- Break the chocolate into pieces and melt, stirring with the butter in a bowl over a pan of just-simmering water (or place in the microwave and heat on medium, in 30 second bursts, stirring well between each until just melted and completely combined).
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Beat the egg yolks one at a time into the melted chocolate mixture, using an electric whisk. Add and beat in the vanilla and any liqueur if you are using.
- In a separate bowl, beat the cream to form soft peaks and set aside.
- In another bowl (and using clean beaters), beat the egg whites to form soft peaks and set aside.
- Beat half of the cream into the chocolate mixture and then fold in the remaining cream and egg whites a little at a time until fully combined.
- Spoon the mousse into small serving dishes and then allow to set in the fridge.
White Chocolate Cream
- Melt the chocolate in a small glass bowl in the microwave (medium setting) on 30 second bursts, stirring between each. (or place the bowl over a gently simmering saucepan of water, ensuring the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl, stirring frequently)
- Once melted, set the chocolate aside to cool slightly.
- Whip the cream with an electric whisk until it begins to thicken.
- Add the custard and continue to whip until the mixture forms soft peaks.
- Add the chocolate to the whipped cream and gently fold in until completely combined.
- Top each mousse with a spoon or quinelle of the white chocolate cream.
- Weigh and mix the flours in a bowl, making sure any lumps are completely broken down.
- Add and stir in the hazelnuts and salt.
- Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla paste in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or firm spatula until the mixture comes together as a fully-blended dough.
- Shape the dough into a sausage (about 4 cm in diameter), wrap in baking paper or clingfilm and refrigerate for about an hour to allow to firm-up.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Line a couple of baking sheets with baking paper.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into discs about ½ to 1 cm thick.
- Place the discs on the baking sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the edges are just beginning to darken very slightly.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking trays, before placing on wire racks to go completely cold.