Nothing says “I love you” quite like a sinfully decadent treat, especially one that’s handmade with affection. And you can’t get much more sinful and decadent than a rich, dark chocolate mousse. The fact that chocolate mousse takes mere minutes to prepare, and is practically fail-safe to boot, serves to really butter up your significant other, without putting much stress on the chef.
I’m always delighted when I can justify my indulgence in a delectable bite of heaven as being supportive to my overall well-being. Thankfully, dark chocolate is one of those special extravagances that both satisfies a sweet tooth and provides a host of health benefits. Quality dark chocolate that is organic with a high cocoa (70% minimum) and low sugar content has emerged on the scene of late as quite the nutritional powerhouse, particularly if it’s raw cocoa. The active compounds in dark chocolate have been shown to promote blood flow, which tout the obvious benefits to the cardiovascular system, but also play a huge part in increasing blood flow to the brain, supporting cognitive function and alertness, and skin, improving UV and aging resistance. It also has the ability to regulate cholesterol and blood pressure, and control insulin sensitivity, To top it off, quality dark chocolate is a surprisingly rich source of minerals manganese, copper, magnesium, and iron, and boasts over 3 grams of fiber per ounce! It’s no wonder chocolate is getting such good press lately.
Ideally, I try to use unsweetened chocolate whenever possible, so I can both sweeten to taste and control what type of sweetener I use. If unsweetened chocolate is unavailable or disagreeable to you, a quality sweetened chocolate will do the trick in a pinch; however you may want to decrease or even eliminate the added sweetener in the recipe. For this mousse I chose grade B maple syrup to boost the mineral content even more and provide a fairly neutral backdrop so the chocolate could be the star of the show, a problem I sometimes have with the pronounced flavor of honey.
Makes 2 generous servings
2 ounces (58 grams) high quality unsweetened chocolate
1 tablespoon butter, or coconut oil for dairy free version
1 large egg, separated
1 pinch cream of tartar
2–4 tablespoons grade B maple syrup, honey, or brown rice syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream (preferably raw), or chilled coconut milk cream for dairy-free version
Fresh berries or other fruit
Whipped cream or coconut milk
1. Place chocolate and butter in a medium-sized stainless steel bowl and set over a pot of simmering water until melted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in the egg yolk and maple syrup, and place in the refrigerator.
2. Beat egg white and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over mix, you want the whites to be glossy and not dry or your mousse might be slightly granular. Set whipped whites aside.
3. Beat cream (or coconut cream) in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and combine.
4. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined. Fold in 3/4 of the whipped cream. Spoon mixture into two wine glasses or small bowl and set in the fridge to chill and set for at least a few hours.
5. Lightly sweeten the remaining cream with a drizzle of maple syrup and a splash of vanilla. Set aside in fridge to garnish mousse.
6. To serve, spoon a dollop of cream atop mousse and garnish with fresh berries, fruit, and/or chocolate shavings.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
·chemical- and hormone-free meat
·pastured-raised, organic eggs
·whole, unrefined grains
·virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
·whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
·pure, clean, spring water
·raw and/or cultured milk and cream products