Americans sure love sweets, and chocolate is always a favorite. According to Confectionery News, Americans eat about 12 pounds of the rich stuff a year. While a simple square or candy bar is tasty, chocolate mousse might be the treat’s highest calling.
A simple bowl of unadorned mousse makes an elegant dessert, but it seems a shame to stop there. The creamy concoction works beautifully as a filling, frosting, or even as a stand-in for ice cream once frozen. Make one of these 6 scrumptious desserts and you’ll certainly have sweet dreams.
1. Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate Mousse Parfaits
Peanut butter cup fans will delight in this gussied-up version of their favorite treat. These Peanut Butter and Milk-Chocolate Mousse Parfaits from Chris Chen and Jerome Chang, featured in Food & Wine, transform the classic treat while retaining all of the fun flavor. Though the name might sound complicated, the steps are simple.
Peanut butter mousse
- ½ teaspoon powdered gelatin
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1½ tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons salted smooth peanut butter
- ½ cup half-and-half
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3 ouces milk chocolate, chopped
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- Caramel corn
Directions: In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin in water and let stand for 5 minutes. In a saucepan, cook the cream over moderately high heat until bubbling around edges. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar. Gradually whisk hot cream into egg yolks. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the peanut butter, followed by gelatin. Scrape mixture into bottom of 6 12-ounce jars or glasses and refrigerate for 1 hour, until set.
In a small saucepan, heat half-and-half until bubbling around edges. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar. Gradually whisk in the hot half-and-half. Pour mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Place both chocolates in a medium bowl. Pour half-and-half mixture over chocolate and let stand for 1 minute, then whisk to combine.
In another medium bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Stir one-quarter of whipped cream into the chocolate mixture; gently fold in remaining whipped cream. Pour chocolate mousse over peanut butter layer and refrigerate for 1 hour, until set.
In a medium saucepan, cook the sugar with ¼ cup water over moderately high heat until sugar is dissolved, brushing down sides of pan with a wet pasty brush to dissolve crystals. Continue cooking, without stirring, until a honey-colored caramel forms, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in remaining ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons water. Let cool for 1 hour.
To serve, pour a thick layer of caramel over the mousse. Top with the caramel corn and serve.
2. Chocolate Mousse Pie
You’ve probably had a slice of French silk pie before, and while it’s good, this Chocolate Mousse Pie from Chow is even better. It’s all about the chocolate with a cookie crust and a rich, 3-ingredient filling. A mountain of whipped cream makes it decadent and fun.
- 6 ounces chocolate wafer cookies
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream, cold
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
Topping and garnish
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups heavy cream, cold
- 1 (1-ounce) piece semisweet chocolate
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and arrange rack in the middle. Place cookies in food processor and pulse until cookies are size of peas. Add melted butter and continue to pulse until crumbs are fine. Pour into a 9-inch pie plate and, using the bottom of a cup or your fingers, press firmly into bottom and up sides of pan. Bake until fragrant, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before making the filling, about 40 minutes.
Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water and bring to simmer over medium heat. Place chopped chocolate and ¼ cup of cream in large heatproof bowl set over the saucepan, making sure the bottom doesn’t touch the water. Melt chocolate, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, until smooth. Remove bowl from saucepan, wipe bottom of bowl, and set aside to cool.
Place egg whites in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Mix on high until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute. Transfer to a medium bowls and set aside. Clean and dry the bowl and whisk attachment.
Place remaining ¾ cup cream in the bowl and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minutes. Using rubber spatula, fold half of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate, then gently fold in the rest. Fold in the egg whites until no streaks remain. Spoon mousse into cooled crust, spreading to even out surface. Refrigerate uncovered until set, at least 2 hours.
When ready to serve, place bowl of stand mixer and whisk attachment in freezer for 10 minutes. Add sugar, vanilla, and cream to bowl and whisk on high speed until soft peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes. Spread mixture on top of pie. Use vegetables peeler to shave chocolate on top of pie. Serve.
3. Easy Chocolate Mousse Gluten-Free Ice Cream
Just because you don’t have an ice cream maker doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun of whipping up frozen treats in your own kitchen. This Easy Chocolate Mousse Gluten-Free Ice Cream from Gluten Free on a Shoestring doesn’t require any cooking and has just 4 ingredients. How’s that for simple? It’s not just a great gluten-free dessert; it’s a great-for-anyone dessert.
- 1 pint heavy cream, chilled
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 10 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 3 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
Directions: Place cream in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Place whipped cream in refrigerator to chill.
Melt chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds until melted, or over a double boiler. In a large bowl, mix melted chocolate with sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder, and stir until well combined. Allow to cool.
Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture until no white streaks remain. Pour into a 2-quart, freezer-safe container with a lid. Cover tightly and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before scooping.
4. Snickers Chocolate Cupcakes
While mousse can certainly hold its own as a treat, it also makes a pretty killer frosting. These Snickers Chocolate Cupcakes from Sally’s Baking Addiction, adapted from Kevin and Amanda, slathers the fluffy topping onto some decadent little cakes. To keep things really simple, the batter is made with a boxed mix that gets a boost of flavor from a package of instant pudding. While the nougat and peanut candies work great, we also like these treats topped with toffee bits.
- 1 box chocolate cake mix
- 1 small box chocolate instant pudding mix
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups milk chocolate chips
- 1 bag mini chocolate-covered peanut and nougat candy bars, chopped
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 12-cup muffin pans with liners. Using stand mixer, beat together cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, oil, milk, and sour cream. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Scoop batter evenly into cupcake liners. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from tin and let cool.
While cupcakes bake, prepare mousse by melting milk chocolate chips in microwave, stirring every 15 seconds, until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool. Whip cream in stand mixer until stiff peaks form, then fold in melted chocolate until evenly combined.
Transfer mixture to piping bag, or large plastic storage bag with corner snipped off. Once cupcakes have cooled, press tip of piping bag into center and squeeze as you pull the piping bag out. Using knife, frost with remaining mousse and sprinkle with candy pieces. Serve.
5. Strawberry and White Chocolate Mousse Tart
Not every chocolate concoction has to be heavy, and this Strawberry and White Chocolate Mousse Tart from Epicurious proves it. A fluffy filling and some sweet strawberries make this a beautiful dessert that’s perfect for spring. While white chocolate might not actually be chocolate, this tart is so delicious that you won’t care.
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon, or more, ice water
- 6 ounces white chocolate, chopped
- 1¼ cups whipping cream, chilled
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large egg whites
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ⅓ cup seedless strawberry jam
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 (16-ounce) basket strawberries, hulled, thinly sliced
Directions: Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in food processor to combine. Add butter and pulse to cut in, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk egg yolk and 1 tablespoon ice water in small bowl to blend; add to processor and process until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is too dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into a disk. Roll out dough on floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Trim overhang to ½ inch. Fold overhang in and press onto sides, forming double layer along sides. Pierce crust all over with a fork. Freeze for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line crust with foil; fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until crust sides are lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Remove foil and beans; bake until crust is fully cooked and golden brown, about 20 minutes longer. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
Combine white chocolate and ¼ cup whipping cream in a large metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water, making sure bottom does not touch water, and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from double boiler; cool chocolate mixture until lukewarm, about 15 minutes.
Beat remaining 1 cup whipping cream and vanilla in a large bowl until peaks form. Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites with cream of tartar in a medium bowl until stiff, but not dry. Fold whites into chocolate mixture, then fold in whipped cream. Transfer to cooled crust; smooth top. Chill overnight.
Combine jam and lemon juice in a small saucepan; bring to simmer, stirring over medium heat until jam melts. Remove from heat. Arrange sliced berries on top. Brush berries with melted jam. Chill for up to 2 hours. Serve.
6. 4-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse Cake
Plenty of recipes for cakes involve fussy layers, multiple fillings, and different garnishes. This 4-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse Cake from Scientifically Sweet is not one of them. It’s actually a simple mousse baked in a cake pan.
Melt some chocolate and butter, let it cool, then whip eggs and sugar. Fold the fluffy eggs into the chocolate in three additions, then bake in the oven. Rich but still light, this might become your go-to chocolate cake.
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 8 ouces dark chocolate, at least 60% cocoa solids
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Cocoa powder
Directions: Place rimmed baking tray on center rack of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 7- or 8-inch round springform pan with parchment paper and lightly grease sides. Wrap bottom of pan with 2 layers of aluminum foil.
Combine chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted and smooth. Set aside. Place eggs in bowl of stand mixer with whisk attachment and beat until foamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat on high speed until very thick, voluminous, and nearly whitened, about 5 minutes longer. Add one-third of eggs to chocolate and fold in. Add remaining eggs in 2 additions, folding gently util combined. Do not overmix.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and gently place pan on baking tray. Pour water into baking tray until it comes ½ inch up sides of pan. Bake for 5 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out with just a bit of sticky chocolate. Underbaking will cause the cake to sink when cooled. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool. Dust with cocoa, if desired. Serve.