Mousse is one of those things that will always be a little bit of a mystery - how does something so laden with heavy cream and chocolate taste so light and delicious? It's a amazing what a little air can do.
This recipe is great in that it's pretty simple, tastes really fabulous, and I've never run across another mousse like this! You can make it ahead of time, up to about 12 hours. It will keep longer, but I get a little iffy about keeping it around too long because of the raw egg whites. It is so good - so rich, creamy, and with just a hint of mint.
And if that isn't enough, then make some chile chocolate brownies to go with it, and knock everyone's socks off!
Mint White Chocolate Mousse
8-9 oz chopped premium white chocolate, divided
1.25 cups whipping cream, divided
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tsp granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 TB peppermint schnapps (substitute: few drops mint extract)
Fresh mint, cleaned and thoroughly dried, for garnish
Make your garnish ahead of time: gently warm the bar with your hands (or zap in the microwave for about 10 seconds) and pull curls with a vegetable peeler. Set aside.
Measure out 6oz white chocolate, and set aside. Warm the remainder of the chocolate in the microwave in a glass or ceramic bowl until just melted, 20 seconds at a time, stirring inbetween each microwave session. Do not let it get too hot! Dip in the mint leaves, place on parchment paper, and put in the fridge to set up (don't put it in the freezer: I did that and then forgot about them. A few minutes after taking them out, they turned brown around the edges).
In a large bowl over (but not touching) simmering water, slowly melt your 6oz white chocolate with 1/4 cup cream, stirring occassionally. Set aside to cool to lukewarm for about 15 minutes.
While it's cooling, beat the remaining whipping cream with sugar, vanilla, and schnapps until peaks form. Set aside.
In another large bowl, with dry and clean beaters, whip the egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form but eggs are not dry.
Gently fold the egg whites into the now-cooled chocolate mixture until just combined. Gently fold in the whipping cream until just combined. Caution: do NOT rewhip this, or the texture will become granular. It may look a little wet and dense, but it will set up in the fridge and become firmer and airy.
Dish the mousse and garnish with mint leaves and chocolate curls. Refrigerate at least 3-4 hours or until set. May be made up to 12 hours in advance.
Dark Chocolate-Chile Brownies with Chocolate Ganache Glaze
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup plus 2 TB AP flour
1 premium 2oz chile-chocolate bar, like Dagoba, Lindt, or Venchi, chopped into morsel-sized pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Butter and place parchment paper in an 8x8" baking pan.
In a medium bowl over (but not touching) simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. When melted, set aside to cool slightly for a few minutes.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisk the chocolate mixture into the eggs. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the egg and chocolate mixture, and whisk until almost combined. Add the chopped chocolate, switch from the whisk to a wooden spoon, and mix until just combined.
Pour the batter into the pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, and let cool for a few hours. When cool, cut into personal sized squares, and glaze with chocolate glaze.
To make the glaze:
8oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1.5 TB corn syrup
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
Heat cream over low heat until bubbles begin to form around edges. Add chocolate, cayenne and corn syrup; whisk until smooth.
Set aside to cool slightly before pouring over brownies. Garnish with a tiny sprinkling of cayenne.