As a self-proclaimed chocoholic, any day with chocolate mousse in it is a good day in my book. And thanks to prominent chemist Hervé This, one of the founding fathers of molecular gastronomy, chocolate mousse is not only easy to make every single day—but only requires two ingredients.
Nothing more is required than chocolate, water, and a little elbow grease. In five minutes, you can have decadent chocolate mousse, and fulfill serious chocolate cravings on a whim. Mind blown.
As mentioned above, this bit of cooking alchemy, also known as "Chocolate Chantilly," was discovered by French chemist Hervé This, and is described in his book Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor. The process starts out counterintuitively by actually melting the chocolate in the water, and then whisking it until it reaches a thickened state.
Water and chocolate may not seem like a natural combination to produce a rich, creamy mousse, but once you taste the velvety goodness you will agree this method is pure magic.
Usually chocolate and water are not compatible when baking. The addition of water to heated chocolate makes it act like a glue for the sugar and cocoa to stick together, thus leaving your melted chocolate grainy.
So it seems strange that this recipe calls for exactly what you've been warned against your whole baking career! The trick is to quickly whisk it so the water molecules become much smaller and are coated with the chocolate's emulsion elements. The end result is that it becomes stabilized, and your mousse is unbelievably creamy.
Since there are only two ingredients in this innovative mousse, the quality of the chocolate is very important; it should have at least 70% cocoa solids. Cocoa solids are the flavor that is suspended in the cocoa fat of the bean. The higher fat content there is in the chosen chocolate, the creamier and more delicious the mousse will be. Since unsweetened baking chocolate is often too bitter for most palates, adding a little bit of sugar will remedy this issue easily and produce a perfectly sweet mousse.
- 8 oz. high quality bittersweet chocolate with 70% cocoa solids
- ¾ c. water
- ice cubes
- sugar (optional)
- Place a large mixing bowl in a smaller mixing bowl filled ¼ of the way with ice. Place to the side.
- Heat the chocolate and water together in a small saucepan until it becomes a sauce.
- Pour the chocolate sauce into the large mixing bowl and quickly whisk it until it thickens. Avoid over-mixing it, because it will get grainy. If it does become grainy, reheat it back on the stove until half of it is melted, and briefly whisk it again.
If you want to get fancy, try out different flavor additions to your chocolate mousse. You can add spices like a pinch of cinnamon or cayenne pepper, a teaspoon of your favorite liqueur, or even a spot of tea such as Earl Grey.
If you are adding liquid flavoring, make sure to remove an equal amount of water from the recipe to avoid a watery mousse.
Chocolate mousse is great on its own, but it can transform other desserts as well.
It can be used as a light filling for a chocolate cake or to give a cupcake a creamy center. For you fans of layered desserts, Maria and Josh's individual chocolate mousse brownie trifles on Two Peas and Their Pod are super easy to whip up and will impress your family and friends with their beautiful presentation.
Now that you know the secret to making delicious chocolate mousse in a snap, you'll never go back to making it the old-fashioned way again. Science FTW!