17-minute chocolate mousse
as much as i love painstakingly putting together elaborate desserts, such as patty's birthday croquembouche, Mr. B's birthday cake, or even the boy's birthday cake, sometimes the simplest pleasures in life come from one small thing done very well. while sitting there watching the situation room and feeling a wee bit bored with current events and wolf blitzer in general, i decided i wanted some chocolate mousse.
it will probably take you less time to put it together than i took, because i did stop to take pictures along the way and munch on a piece of Lindt bittersweet chocolate. i use bittersweet and semisweet chocolate interchangeably, and OKAY I KNOW THERE IS A DIFFERENCE, but really, is it that important? i am not Jacques Torres so it doesn't matter to me. i find the difference too subtle to notice, and my feeding audience (that night, the boy and Mrs. B) probably didn't really care what chocolate i used as long as it tasted good. and i am out of semisweet at the moment. so there.
i seriously have one whole side cupboard full of chocolate. when chocolate is the main ingredient in a recipe, i try to use a good brand; although if you only have hershey's or nestle, that will do just fine. i'm not a big chocolate snob in the way that some people only use Valhrona or Guittard. i don't make enough money to buy those brands; but if you do, go right ahead and buy it and oh by the way, can i borrow some?
anyway, this is a good standby recipe for nights when you've been tasked to bring dessert to a dinner party and just plain forgot about it until the last minute. the mousse can set in the fridge while you're eating dinner and the wine is flowing à go go.
1 stick (what is that, 1/2 cup?) butter (does not have to be room temperature, as you'll be melting it anyway)
6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (buy the best quality you can afford)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup heavy cream
about 2 tablespoons of sugar
Chop up your chocolate and melt it together with the butter in whichever way is your preferred method. you could use a double-boiler method, or do what i do which is to put both ingredients in a Pyrex bowl and place the bowl in the microwave for one minute. then stir with a spatula, which will help melt the last bits of chocolate pieces; set that aside.
separate the egg whites and yolks; put yolks in a small bowl, set aside. put whites in a large bowl and using an electric hand-held mixer or your kitchen bitch (for this i used my hand-held), beat them until just about soft peaks form. add the sugar, and beat on high until you have good standing peaks. add the egg yolks to the chocolate mixture (it should be cool enough to add the yolks without them scrambling) and whisk together. add a little bit of the egg white mixture at a time to the chocolate, carefully folding that in with a spatula.
go rinse off your beaters now, because you'll need them for the heavy cream. add the heavy cream and vanilla to another bowl and beat on high until whipped. add this mixture to chocolate and fold in carefully. then cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you're ready to eat it. and go share the task of licking the mixing spatula with your significant other or run and hide in the bathroom and keep it for yourself (cooks treat, as Nigella Lawson calls it).
i don't know how long this will keep in the fridge because i've never had any sit around for too long; some big elf usually devours the leftovers while i'm sleeping.
i'm also not concerned with eating raw eggs. there are other things on this planet which will kill me far faster. however, it's probably not wise to feed this to pregnant women. you can buy spay-shul fancy pasteurized eggs if you'd like. i will probably go that route when i am pregnant.
by the way, that scale shown in the first picture? best scale ever. it's not fancy looking, but it does metric and US measurements. and i can't even tell you how many time's i've dropped it, had it break apart on me, had me go into hysterics, and still been able to put back together and work fine. i don't think they make that type anymore. i originally wanted a glass-topped one, but that would have shattered by now with my butterfingers.