silky chocolate mousse

In planning my Julia Child Birthday Dinner, I felt like I really needed a dessert. I'm not even a "dessert person" but it felt like an occasion where you would say .... "oh we served three courses".

I'm actually not sure how you count courses .... so maybe the meal was two or maybe it was three.... but whatever the case is... chocolate mousse was the last course and it was amazing. I feel like it tasted like silk. Is that possible?

In reading one recipe for chocolate mousse, the author warned that you will use every bowl you have in your kitchen. I scoffed. Not me I thought. I hate doing dishes so I reuse things as many times as possible during a recipe. Welp, I could not have been more wrong. I now know that I do not have enough bowls to make chocolate mousse in part because I started to use pots and ended up washing two bowls twice during the process. Sweet lord.

Another issue with the mousse? It calls for whipped egg whites .... that need to be mixed in ... and folded in. I fundamentally have no idea how to fold anything into a recipe and always feel like my bowl is too small for what I'm making. 

All of these factors on the table.... this was one of the most satisfying recipes I've ever made. I feel like I legit "made something" and I love that it was because it was Julia Child's 100th Birthday. At some points I was like "AM I DOING THIS RIGHT?" but then I just wiped the chocolate off my face and kept going.

So let me tell you how you make chocolate mousse. Here is just a quick listing of things you need:
- hand mixer
- multiple spatulas
- ice bath
- individual bowls for the mousse
... never mind the measuring cups, knives, etc.

I highly recommend you read the recipe twice before you even get started so you know what's coming up next. For some reason this feels like you are "doing science" or something because of the heating and the cooling and the mixing and the cartwheels, so I became super fixed on whether or not I was going to "break" the recipe. There is one point where you have this custard-y type mixture all ready in an ice bath and then you have to melt the chocolate. I was afraid that the custard would get too cold before the chocolate would be melted - it didn't. This fear was dumb. Then after that, I had to whip the egg whites. And we know how egg whites make me feel. Answer = anxious. Please refer to the time that I made angel food cake or waffles or ice cream.

All this being said. This isn't "hard". It's just complicated and it requires deodorant and lots of bowls ... and not plastic ones. "Grown-up" metal or glass ones. No messing around.

(Step 1) Read this recipe twice. I mean it.

(Step 2) Get out your individual bowls that you plan on serving the mousse in. You get up with about 6 cups worth of mousse and need just about 3/4 cup per serving on average. So, do what you want. I chose 3 of my cereal bowls and a tupperware container. Me = classy.

(Step 3) In a bowl combine the egg yolks and ¾ cup granulated sugar. Keep the egg whites ... we need those later on. Beat the mixture for 5 minutes or until the mixture is thick and pale yellow and leaves a ribbon trail on itself when the beaters are lifted. You'll know when you've hit the mark.

(Step 4) Beat in the orange juice and continue mixing until blended. I know what you are thinking, I just got that mixture of have "ribbons" now the ribbons are gone. Don't worry about it.

(Step 5) Place the bowl over not quite simmering water and beat for an additional 3 minutes until the mixture forms tiny bubbles and is too hot for your finger. I needed more than 3 minutes here in part because I was afraid that I'd end up with scrambled eggs if the double broiler was too hot.

(Step 6) Transfer the bowl to a cold-water bath and continue beating for an additional 3 minutes until the mixture is cool and again forms a ribbon. The recipe I followed said the consistency you want here is "similar to mayonnaise". Well, I don't have mayo and I don't know the last time I ate it outside of someone else preparing a sandwich for me. I stopped when I guessed mine was a little thinner than mayo and it was fine because the ice bath thickens it up a bit.

(Step 7) Set another bowl over not quite simmering water. Add the chocolate and coffee and let the mixture sit until the chocolate melts. I was impatient and afraid of burning the chocolate which I tend to do.... so I patiently let it melt for several minutes on low and then stirred. Oh, and I used a Keurig cup for the coffee. Genius idea. Thanks Farmington Connecticut Marriott! Couldn't have done it without stealing it from you!

(Step 8) Remove the chocolate from the heat and beat in the butter a little at a time to form a smooth cream.

(Step 9) Beat the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture.The egg mixture is so thick that the chocolate just sinks to the bottom. It's practically a magic trick.

(Step 10) In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until they hold soft peaks. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. I totally forgot the salt when I made this by the way. At this point, I had stopped measuring and just put my hand in the sugar container ... that's hygienic right?

(Step 11) Once you get your egg whites, you end up using them two ways. One is stirring and one is folding.  Both give me anxiety. Gently stir one-quarter of the whites into the now egg chocolate mixture. Now, fold in the remaining whites.

(Step 12) You are pretty much done at this point. Spoon the mousse into the dishes. Set on a tray, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Also, I repeatedly "taste tested" the chocolate mousse from the non-dinner tupperware container... and it was delish.

Serve your mousse with fresh whip cream (you can look up how to make this) and berries. Or, just eat it from the fridge like I did for an hour before I ate my Julia roast chicken. Whatever floats your boat folks.

Also I counted as I was writing this up and here are the stats. If you don't make mistakes (which of course I didn't), you will use 4 bowls (1 is an ice bath),1 pot, and you'll rinse the electric mixer beaters 3 times.

Shopping List (based on this recipe)
mousse
4 eggs, separated
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ cup orange juice
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
¼ cup strong liquid coffee
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of salt

toppings
heavy whipping cream
bit of sugar
berries

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