The Absolute Best Chocolate For Homemade Mousse

Chocolate mousse is a quintessentially French dessert. It's a technique that turns rich, thick chocolate into light-as-air foam — which makes sense since "mousse" is French for "foam." The foam is created by gently folding whipped egg whites and cream into melted chocolate. As it cools, all of those bubbles are locked into place.

Chocolate mousse is a simple recipe, but the technique requires some practice. Simply mixing melted chocolate with whipped egg whites and cream won't make a mousse. The only way to combine those polar opposite textures is through folding. In a large bowl, start by sacrificing about a third of the whipped component into the dense chocolate. Mixing this in will start to lighten the chocolate, preparing it for the rest of the foam. Next, add half of the remaining foam, and use a spatula to wipe the bottom of the bowl up through the foam. As you pull through the middle, flip what's on the spatula onto the top of the mixture. Rotate the bowl, and repeat. Resist the urge to stir; just keep folding. As the mixture looks homogeneous, add the second half. Keep folding just until the white streaks are almost gone. That's enough.

Once you can fold, the biggest decision to make for homemade chocolate mousse is the type of chocolate. Even if you know the difference between baking chocolate and chocolate chips, supermarket shelves are loaded with options. One of those must be the best choice for chocolate mousse.

The best homemade mousse is made from dark chocolate

Most recipes for chocolate mousse call for dark chocolate because milk chocolate, and even semi-sweet chocolates, fade into the background of the mousse. They can't overcome their higher sugar content and the eggs and cream. Dark chocolate contains less sugar and a lot more cocoa solids, which can seem bitter when eaten out of hand; but, in a mousse, they're mellowed into the perfect choice.

Dark chocolate has a wide range identified by the percentage on the package, from 50%-90%. That number represents how much of the bar is cocoa solids. The remainder is cocoa butter, sugar, and possibly some dairy. For a mousse, around 70% is the best option. It contains enough concentrated chocolate flavor, but not so much that it turns your mousse bitter.

There are a few more secrets to making the perfect mousse. If raw eggs aren't an option for you, gelatin is another way to create a stable foam. Coffee has a flavor that amplifies chocolate, but adding liquid to mousse can be problematic. So, instant espresso powder is the best option for this flavor upgrade.

Finally, take your time while making mousse. It can be made the day ahead, so there's no reason to rush. Use a double boiler to carefully melt the chocolate. Chocolate scorches easily. Don't try to rush folding by using an electric mixer. Those aren't gentle enough to preserve the foam, and it's too easy to over-mix.

Unlocking homemade mousse alternatives

If you can make homemade chocolate mousse, you've unlocked a new level of desserts. 

First of all, mousse can be vegan. Aquafaba, the cooking liquid of many beans, lentils, or dried peas, can be whipped just like egg whites. Whipped aquafaba doesn't have much flavor, so it's an ideal foam for vegan chocolate mousse. If cooking some dried chickpeas to create aquafaba seems like a strange first step to take for mousse, just save the liquid from a can of chickpeas.

If mousse just isn't rich enough for you, 70% dark chocolate would be perfect for Food Network's chocolate pots de creme recipe. They use a blender to simplify another traditional chocolate dessert. Usually, pots de creme are dense — and a far cry from mousse — because the egg and cream components aren't whipped. But, in this case, the blender will aerate the mixture, turning it into a sort of ultimate chocolate pudding that doesn't require any baking.

Heston Blumenthal is known for re-imagining recipes by using innovative techniques. In the case of his chocolate mousse, he forgoes the eggs and cream. It's just chocolate, water, and some whisking. "MasterChef World" shows his technique on YouTube. However, his potential mousse blasphemy did cause a bit of outrage on Reddit

However you make chocolate mousse, though, it's an incredible homemade treat.