Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse

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With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I wanted to share a dessert recipe with all of you chocolate lovers out there.  The perfect meal on this day no doubt ends with a rich, decadent chocolate dessert, so I thought, what is more befitting than the classic chocolate mousse?  Each spoonful of this dessert is irresistibly smooth, creamy, and guaranteed to impress that special someone!

The best part is that it can be made a day in advance, which means you can avoid the stress of assembling and plating desserts at the very last minute.  This dessert does require some time and effort, but you’ll earn plenty of brownie points for your thoughtfulness!

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I used bittersweet chocolate in this recipe because I wanted the mousse to taste luscious without being overly sweet.  If you prefer something sweeter, substitute milk or semisweet chocolate for the bittersweet chocolate.  To add some pizzazz to the chocolate mousse, you can spike it with a splash of amaretto, Frangelico, Grand Marnier, or any liqueur you like.

Warning: it does take every ounce of restraint to not lick the bowl completely clean.

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Whip this up for your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day or any day of the year. And remember, chocolate pairs really well with a glass (or three) of chilled bubbly!  Enjoy!

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Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse
(Serves 4)

3.5 oz bittersweet chocolate (between 60-70% cacao), finely chopped
1 cup cold heavy cream, divided
2 large eggs yolks
1 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
½ tsp vanilla extract

Melt chocolate with ¼ cup of heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and set aside.  In the meantime, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a separate bowl until well combined.  Gradually whisk melted chocolate into egg mixture until combined.  Transfer mixture to a medium saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Let the mixture cool thoroughly.

Beat remaining heavy cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  Fold whipped cream gently into cooled chocolate mixture, a third at a time, until the cream is completely incorporated.  Spoon or pipe mousse into four individual serving glasses or cups.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.  When ready to serve, garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings if desired.

*The vanilla extract can be replaced with up to 2 tablespoons of any liqueur you like.

*The chocolate mixture should be at least cooled to the touch; the whipped cream will break when it is folded into a chocolate mixture that is too warm.

*For a decorative touch, I reserved some of the melted chocolate and layered it in between the mousse.

*The mousse can be made a day ahead and chilled until serving time.

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