I think my favorite thing about Valentine’s Day is the spirit of kindness and love that seem to carry on throughout the month. Yes, it’s commercial but love is everlasting, right? As a child, it was my favorite holiday. We would fold red, pink and white construction paper in half, then draw the curves that created the hearts. After cutting out many heart sizes, the fun began to create cards for family and classmates. Our teachers taught us how to construct and decorate large envelopes to hold our valentines. With our name on the front, these envelopes hung around the classroom, soon to hold notes of love from secret admirers. When February 14th finally arrived, we paraded around the room, delivering our valentines into our classmate’s envelopes. Then the excitement began. Our moms brought cupcakes with pink icing topped with red hot hearts as well as heart-shaped sugar cookies glazed in white and sprinkled with red sugar crystals and silver beads. Sitting at our desks, our hands excitedly opened valentine after valentine while devouring all the homemade goodies and drinking, of course, red fruit punch. Everyone was happy. New budding relationships were born, even if we were only eight years old!
So, make a valentine, tell someone you love them and whip up this easy chocolate mousse for dessert. The best part is I’ve created it as a “shared” dessert. Just spoon or pipe it into a bowl, then using cookies or strawberries, dip into the mousse and enjoy. No spoons needed! It’s perfect for feeding each other, an intimate act of togetherness.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Milk Chocolate Mousse
Notes: I turned to this method of making mousse when I reviewed my original recipes from my professional chef life and they all use uncooked egg yolks and whites. No one ever got sick, but these days, most people are careful about raw products. Someday I will share my delectable orange chocolate mousse but for now, let’s keep it simple!
I’ve adapted this mousse from a recipe I saw in Food & Wine. The concept is simplicity. A word of caution, do not over beat this mixture! As all good cooks, I tested this recipe twice. The first time, I tried to beat it into a whipped cream state. After I piped it out and refrigerated it, it was not light but rather heavy. Still tasty but not the texture I was anticipating. My second batch, I added a teaspoon of espresso powder to the cream as it heated. When it dissolved and the cream was hot, I added the chocolate. This time I checked the mousse frequently during the whipping process and stopped when it just barely held a peak. The results were much better and it actually piped out smoother.
One thing you might question is the use of milk versus dark chocolate. I prefer dark chocolate but with this method, when the mousse sets in the refrigerator, the dark chocolate will make it even denser because it lacks the milk in the milk chocolate. If you really want dark chocolate, I would use 2 1/2 cups of cream to the 10 ounces of chocolate. Another option is to stir in 2 teaspoons of Grand Marnier, brandy or other liqueur after you have poured the warm mixture into your beating bowl.
2 cups heavy cream
10 ounces milk chocolate-chopped
pinch of salt
1 tsp. espresso powder or coffee or 2 tsp. other liqueur (all optional)
Heat the cream and espresso, if using, to dark warm. Do not boil. Stir in chocolate. Use a whisk and stir until chocolate is completely incorporated into cream.
Pour into your kitchen aid mixer or which ever bowl you will be beating it up in. Put in the refrigerator and chill until cold, about an hour.
On medium speed, beat the mixture until soft peaks form. Remember to not over beat.
Spoon into a beautiful bowl or individual cups.
Garnish with strawberries, espresso beans, chocolate sprinkles or whatever suits your fancy.
Makes about 2 cups of mousse
Happy Valentine’s Day!
“CHOCOLATE DAY POEM:
“Chocolate, dark or light..
Makes me smile bright.
Chocolate, whether speak or not..
If it’s love, it conveys a lot.
But when you’re.. not there with me..
It’s just a piece.. of sugar candy.
It’s you, who makes it sweeter..
I love it with you, even if it’s bitter.
So be there always.. stay forever..
I can’t think of life.. without you ever.
O girl, O girl, O.. O.. girl.. you be mine..
You are my choco-life..
You be my.. Valentine.
Just be mine.. O O.. Valentine!!!”
― Vikrmn, Guru with Guitar