The first year that I made these was completely on accident, I was trying to make chocolate lavender truffles for my kids, but I didn’t have food grade essential oil, so I used this lavender simple syrup that we had instead – the problem is, it took so much syrup to get the flavor right, that the truffle filling never set – I had created a light, fluffy chocolate lavender mousse instead.
An accidental mousse.
And then… Last year, I learned how to make a real mousse on purpose and it was perhaps the best thing I’ve put in my mouth.
So… This year, I used that recipe, and fiddled with the flavors because in case you haven’t noticed, fiddling with flavor is sort of my thing.
And now, I bring you – Chocolate Mousse Cups in multiple flavors!
Here’s what you need:
ALL the mixing bowls – at least two medium/large and one super large and one microwavable or double-boilerable.
Electric mixer with whisk attachment
Small foil cupcake liners (At least 50)
Having the baby cupcake pans helps but is not required
Pastry bag with a large star tip
16 oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate
3 Tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
3 eggs – separated
2 cups heavy cream
Flavor (I’m going to tell you how I made my most amazing fresh mint mousse cups this year, and then at the end I will tell you ways to substitute other flavors.) For mint mousse: 1 packed cup of fresh mint leaves, chopped.
An additional 6 – 8 oz of high quality dark (70% cocoa) chocolate, I recommend Lindt for this. Do not use chocolate chips as they will not temper correctly.
What you do:
Heat the cream in a medium sauce pan until just below a simmer, about 175 degrees F. Sprinkle the mint leaves on, cover and let steep for at least 20 minutes.
Steep the mint leaves in the cream.
Taste the cream. If it isn’t minty enough for you, you can repeat this process with more fresh mint if you have it, or use a peppermint tea bag (Just make sure it is pure peppermint, not a mint green tea or anything like that.) or you can add a bit of mint extract. (As you can see from the picture above, I forgot to chop my mint, so I ended up having to re-steep my cream.)
Be careful not to let the cream get too hot at any point, you don’t want it going above the 175 mark because that will change how it whips up later.
Once you’ve got your cream as minty as you want your mousse to be, put it in a medium/large mixing bowl and return it to the fridge to cool completely. (I infused my cream the night before I wanted to make my mousse)
While that’s cooling – make your chocolate cups. Melt your 6-8 oz of quality dark chocolate in the microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring at each interval until you have a smooth, creamy, liquid chocolate.
Using the pastry brush, paint each baby cupcake foil with melted chocolate and place into the mini-muffin tin to help it keep its shape.
You can also drop your chocolate painted liners into baby pie tins.
When you’ve finished painting all the cups, check the sides, often they will be thin as the chocolate tends to gravitate toward the bottom of the cup. Use any remaining chocolate to paint up the sides again to make them decently thick. (If you have to remelt the chocolate, do so – again at 20 second intervals.)
Allow the cups to harden completely.
Once the whipping cream and chocolate cups are both completely cooled – get out ALL your mixing bowls and your electric mixer and get ready to hustle!
In a small pan or microwavable bowl, melt the 16 oz of semi-sweet chocolate with the butter. (If using the microwave, use the standard 20 second interval, stir, 20 seconds, stir technique – if using a double boiler, make sure the pan with the chocolate rests above the water bath without actually touching it and stir often until the chocolate is smooth and creamy.)
In your largest bowl, combine the confectioner’s sugar and the egg yolks. Stir the melted chocolate into the eggs a little bit at a time.
Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
Take about 1/4 of the whipped cream and whip it into the chocolate mixture to combine.
Gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream.
Wash your whisks well and dry them.
In a spotlessly clean medium bowl, whip the egg whites until just stiff. Be careful not to overbeat them.
Fold them into the chocolate mixture.
Fold in the egg whites gently until you have a soft, airy, silky smooth mousse.
Fill your pastry bag 1/2 full with mousse and gently squeeze it into your prepared chocolate cups. Refill your pastry bag as needed.
Once all your chocolate cups are filled*, pop them into the fridge for at least 4 hours to set.
Fill and chill your mousse cups.
You can also decorate these with things like white chocolate flowers, crushed candy canes, sprinkles, candied fruit, etc. to enhance flavors and make them extra gorgeous – or just put a wee dollop of fresh whipped cream on them just before serving.
NOTE: This treat is CRAZY rich – yet light and airy when fresh. The longer it sets the more dense it becomes, so make this one no more than a day before you want to serve it unless you’re okay serving more of a mint chocolate fudge cup. (Which is still super delicious!)
OKAY – VARIATIONS!! Because it’s no fun if you can only make one flavor, especially if it’s a flavor you don’t love!
So – Coffee Kahlua Mousse – this is the flavor that started it all.
First – don’t steep mint in the whipped cream. Clearly. Leave the cream plain. Add 4 Tablespoons of Kahlua and 1 teaspoon of instant espresso powder to the chocolate mix when you add it to the egg yolk. Do everything else the same.
Chocolate Amaretto Mousse- I bet you can guess…
Use plain whipped cream. Add 1/4 cup of amaretto and 1 teaspoon of almond extract to the chocolate when you add it to the egg yolk. Do everything else the same.
Chocolate Orange Mousse – Yup, you guessed, add 1/4 cup of Grand Marnier to the chocolate & egg yolk mixture.
If you don’t want to add booze to your chocolate for some reason, you can also add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of any flavor of all natural simple syrup to the chocolate mix at the beginning to create those flavors.
Alternately, you can add any flavor extracts – vanilla, almond, mint, cinnamon, orange, etc. to the whipped cream and fold it in to the chocolate to create those flavor profiles.
I imagine you’re getting the idea – add most flavors to the chocolate mix at the beginning. For subtle flavors, infuse the cream and then allow to re-chill overnight before whipping and folding in to the chocolate.
Above all - HAVE FUN! Enjoy the creation process, and drop your favorite new flavor in the comments!
*If you have leftover mousse that does not fit into your prepared chocolate cups – DO. NOT. PANIC. Just get our some small wine glasses or other attractive small bowls and scoop leftover mousse into them (one for each family member living under your roof) cover them and pop them into the freezer for a special dessert tonight! Pull them out of the freezer about 5 minutes before you plan to serve them, top with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with crushed candy canes! (This is a CRAZY rich dessert. 3 oz is about all anyone in my family can eat in one sitting and I live with a couple of chocoholics!)