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Recipe: This Chocolate Mousse Is the Perfect Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Dessert

This chocolate mousse recipe will save the day this Valentine’s Day with romantic espresso notes

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By Bon Appetit US | February 8, 2024 | Recipes

This chocolate mousse recipe is the perfect last-minute Valentine's Day dessert, according to Andrew Knowlton. You really only need to chill it for 20 minutes, we promise.

As far as holiday’s go (real or made up), Valentine’s Day is pretty lousy. If you’re single, it’s eye-rolling. If you’re with someone, it’s tedious. And once you hit a certain age, say 11, the idea of secret admirers giving you a teddy bear is just creepy. But there was this one Valentine’s Day I can’t shake. I was hooked on a girl and wanted to show her that I wasn’t just any dude who would take her to some “romantic” bistro. So I decided to cook.

This chocolate mousse recipe will save the day this Valentine’s Day with romantic espresso notes. Image via Pexels.

We’d start with oysters on the half shell. I know: oysters, how cliché. But being able to enjoy raw oysters (And Waffle House! And the Grateful Dead! And bourbon!) is non-negotiable when it comes to enjoying life. A curried squash soup would follow, and then a rack of lamb served with my mom’s potato gratin recipe. Then: dessert, also known as the way to 99.9% of people’s hearts. I sought Julia Child’s help, and, as always, she delivered. Her Mousseline au Chocolat tasted so complex that you would have thought I’d spent days on it, even though it took all of 30 minutes. (In the recipe below it says to chill for two hours, but you can get away with 20-30 minutes.) My date fell in love with it and, I like to think, also with me. She’s now my wife and 15 years and two daughters later, I have a ridiculous holiday and chocolate mousse to thank.

Here’s the recipe:

Dark chocolate and espresso add the slightly bitter notes needed to balance this easy chocolate mousse. Remember, the higher the cacao percentage, the less sweet the chocolate.

Dark chocolate and espresso mousse Ingredients

For 6 Servings

¾ cup chilled heavy cream, divided

4 large egg yolks

¼ cup brewed espresso or strong coffee, room temperature

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons sugar, divided

6 ounces semisweet chocolate (60–72% cacao), chopped

2 large egg whites

How to make this Chocolate Mousse

1. Beat ½ cup cream in a small bowl to stiff peaks; cover and chill.

2. Combine egg yolks, espresso, salt, and 2 Tbsp. sugar in a heatproof bowl. Set over a saucepan of gently simmering water (do not let bowl touch water). Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is lighter in color and almost doubled in volume and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the mixture registers 160°, about 1 minute.

3. Remove bowl from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until melted and mixture is smooth. Let sit, whisking occasionally, until room temperature.

4. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in a medium bowl on medium speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually beat in remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form.

5. Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture in 2 additions; fold reserved whipped cream into mixture just to blend. Divide mousse among 6 teacups or 4-oz. ramekins. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours.

6. Just before serving, whisk remaining 1/4 cup cream in a small bowl to soft peaks; top each cup of mousse with a dollop of cream.

7. Do Ahead: Mousse can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep chilled. Let sit at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.