Winding down with mint chocolate mousse


Last week I traveled for work. No matter how long I’m gone, it’s always nice to come home to my own space.

Because I didn’t return home until late Saturday afternoon, I knew I’d only have one full day of the weekend to myself. So I planned to do some cooking. To get a head start, I decided to make dessert.

Work has been particularly time-consuming lately, so much so that I haven’t had time to try anything from the new cookbook I bought in April, Curtis Stone’s “What’s for Dinner?” That was the first place I looked for inspiration. I settled on his Bittersweet-chocolate Mint Mousse.

Stone’s version of the mousse is thick and creamy, and the mint extract helps to bring out the richness of the chocolate. Other versions of mousse that I’ve made ended up overly foamy or the chocolate flavor wasn’t rich enough. The texture and flavor in this recipe are just about how I prefer them to be.

The only cooking involved is melting the chocolate. Making something with eggs that aren’t cooked always makes me a bit uneasy, so I researched whether it was OK and found this page in the Farmers’ Almanac, which stated that the risk of salmonella is low. If you’re worried about consuming the raw eggs, it also suggests substitutes for them.

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, thinly sliced
1/2 cup whole milk
3 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon mint extract (use 1/4 teaspoon if at high altitude)

Set a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Add the chocolate and butter to the bowl and stir until melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Whisk in the milk. Let stand for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the mixture is cool.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and 1/3 cup of the confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed, until light and airy. In another medium bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites with the remaining 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Using a large flexible spatula, fold the egg yolk mixture into the cooled chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the egg white mixture.

Add the cream and the mint extract to the bowl that held the egg whites. Beat with the mixer (no need to clean the beaters) on high speed until thick, soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.

Divide the mousse among six to eight dessert cups or bowls. Cover each one with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least two hours to chill and set the mousse.

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