Chocolate Mousse

For those who have never made chocolate mousse, here’s the secret: it’s one of the easiest and quickest desserts to make. Easier than ice cream, brownies or even cookies. People just assume it’s difficult; perhaps because of the double-boiler. My old recipe for making Chocolate Mousse always received lots of compliments, but after trying Chris Kimball’s I see that his is more chocolatey, lighter and more complex. The extra-chocolatey flavor comes from cocoa powder. The extra lightness comes from using both egg whites and heavy cream to incorporate air bubbles, whereas most mousse only uses one or the other. This recipe also breaks the golden rule of melting chocolate; never allow even a drop of water to come in contact with chocolate. Here I add 5 tablespoons of water. The results are 4-1/2 stars.

About 15 minutes of work


  1. This recipe uses dark chocolate containing 60% cacao. Chris Kimball has another recipe for 70% cacao, which adds an extra 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons more water, and an extra egg.
  2. Sometimes I used Trader Joes’s dark chocolate, which contains 54% cacao, in which case I cut the water down to 4 tablespoons.

Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
Cost: $4,40
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time: 3:00. Dessert time: 6:00

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared it today are given below:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
5 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon brandy
2 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream

  1. Put the heavy cream into the freezer while the chocolate melts. Put a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water to create a double boiler. Either chop the chocolate finely (for faster melting) or break into small pieces.
  2. Melt chocolate in the double-boiler. When the chocolate is almost melted stir in the cocoa powder, espresso powder, water, and brandy. When the mixture becomes smooth remove the bowl from the heat.
  3. Separate the eggs; adding the whites to a mixing bowl and the yolks to the chocolate mixture.
  4. Add 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar, and salt to chocolate and yolks, and whisk until combined. Allow to cool for 15 minutes until just warmer than room temperature.
  5. Whisk eggs whites to soft peaks, adding another 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar half-way during mixing.
  6. Temper the chocolate by adding 1/4 of the egg whites, using a whisk to combine. Then use a rubber spatula to fold in the remaining egg whites. Stop folding them there are just a few white streaks.
  7. Now beat the heavy cream until it reaches soft peak. Again, use a rubber spatula to fold in the whipped cream. Stop folding them there are no more white streaks.
  8. Spoon into individual serving bowls. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

6 Responses to Chocolate Mousse

  1. Katie C. says:

    Darn it! We’re having company Saturday for dinner. Now I have changed my mind once again about what to serve for dessert! I would have to double it since there will be six of us.

    • Hi Katie,

      Another one of the unwritten rules to melting chocolate is not to make your batches too big, so I’m not sure if doubling the recipe will work (maybe it will). The recipe as written should give you enough for 6 people.

      Let me know how it turns out.

  2. Katie C. says:

    I chickened out. I didn’t want to use my guests as my guinea pigs (you know that’s a very odd phrase when you think about it) or risk it flopping. I made peach crisp using a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for apricot crisp that I’ve already tried. Oh, of course, with ice cream. I will eventually try this recipe.

  3. haha….yes, I understand, but I usually use my guests as guinea pigs. Guests tend to be good sports about imperfections, so even if I am unhappy they all seem to think the food is flawless. I’ve only had a few absolute flops (burnt onion soup was the worst), so I just threw it away and made a salad.

  4. Anonymous says:

    just discovered your great blog. I really appreciate all your effort but would like to know how many servings for this mousse – thanks!

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