This classic chocolate mousse recipe produces a mousse that is light, airy, and silky smooth. This step-by-step tutorial will walk you through how to make traditional chocolate mouse and you will be surprised at just how easy it is to make! Use this mousse to fill a cake, as a tart or pie filling, or serve it as is with whipped cream on top! Pin it for Later »
Chocolate Mousse Recipe Overview
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Techniques Used: Folding, Melting Chocolate in the Microwave
- Components Used: Easy Meringue, Whipped Cream
What is Chocolate Mousse?
In french, the word “mousse” means foam or froth. And this makes complete sense because when you look at how to make mousse a foam (such as meringue or whipped cream) is folded into a base (such as chocolate).
Mousse can be made in many different flavors, both savory and sweet, but chocolate mousse is perhaps one of the easiest kinds to make. Because melted chocolate will stiffen once it cools down, chocolate mousse can be made without gelatin which is a common ingredient in other mousse recipes.
Chocolate mousse is intensely rich in chocolate flavor, but is also light and airy in mouth-feel. I think of the texture of mousse as a hybrid of pudding and whipped cream. Once it is chilled, the chocolate mousse sets up and can be piped as a frosting on cupcakes or cakes, can be used as a filling in pies or tarts (my favorite application), or just simply eaten as is with a dollop of barely sweet whipped cream and chocolate shavings or fruit.
There are actually many varying recipes for chocolate mousse. Some with only whipped cream folded in, some with both the egg yolks and egg whites, and even some that are made with gelatin.
But today I am teaching you my favorite recipe/technique for chocolate mousse that produces such a beautiful flavor and texture. It only involves these simple ingredients and some very basic baking techniques.
How to Make Chocolate Mousse
Making chocolate mousse combines a few easy pastry techniques. We will start with a melted chocolate mixture and then make both a simple meringue and a simple whipped cream. These three mixtures are then folded together to make the chocolate mousse.
STEP 1: Melt the Chocolate
Start with your chocolate chips or chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl. This will be the bowl that you will fold the other ingredients into to make the chocolate mousse.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave in short bursts until melted and glossy. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate over a double boiler.
STEP 2: CREATE AN EMULSION OF CHOCOLATE AND WATER
Water and chocolate typically don’t mix together. In fact water can cause the chocolate to seize up and go to the bad place with no chance of returning. But we are going to make the unmixable mixable and create an emulsion here of the chocolate and water.
Pour the hot water in the bowl and immediately start whisking quickly and vigorously until all of the water is mixed into the chocolate and the mixture is very smooth. Whisk in the salt at this point.
Set the bowl aside to cool down while prepping the other ingredients.
STEP 3: MAKE A SIMPLE MERINGUE
To make a basic meringue we will be whipping egg whites with a bit of sugar. This is one of the two foams that will be folded into the chocolate base to make the mousse.
If you are concerned with using raw egg whites in your mousse, make sure you purchase pasteurized egg whites which have been heated to kill bacteria.
Start with room temperature whites, whipping them to soft peaks.
Then slowly stream in the sugar while continuing to beat to just barely stiff peaks. Be very careful not to over whip the whites. The whites will get too dry.
STEP 4: WHIP YOUR CREAM
Next we will make our second foam that will be used to lighten the mousse- whipped cream. While we wanted room temp egg whites for the meringue, you want really cold cream for whipped cream otherwise it will not thicken.
Beat the heavy cream on high speed to a firm, almost stiff peak. You want to be careful here because if you whip too far you will start making butter! And while that can be kind of cool, it isn’t really what we’re going for here.
STEP 5: FOLD IN THE MERINGUE
Folding is a technique used in baking when adding a delicate mixture into a heavier mixture. The goal here is to keep the air in our foams while incorporating them into the chocolate base.
The chocolate is dense and heavy, so it is inevitable that we will lose some of that air trying to get them all incorporated, but just go slow and be gentle and patient, and it will pay off!
Start with the meringue. Before you fold, lighten the chocolate by adding about 1/3 of the meringue and stir it in completely. You don’t need to be worried about gentle yet, this is just prepping the mixture to make the folding part easier.
Now add another 1/3 of the meringue into the batter and use a rubber spatula to fold it in. Starting on the top, cut down from the center of the mixture to the bottom of the bowl with the spatula, then draw the spatula quickly toward you against the edge of the bowl, and up to the left and out. Turn the bowl 90 degrees and repeat.
Essentially you are bringing a bit of the chocolate up over the egg whites or “folding it”. Do this a few times. And then add the rest of the meringue and fold that in. You mixture will be streaky but as you fold in the whipped cream it will all get incorporated.
STEP 6: FOLD IN THE WHIPPED CREAM
After all of the meringue has been folded in, fold in the whipped cream using the same folding technique. Fold in about 1/3 of the whipped cream at a time.
You will then have this beautiful chocolate mousse!
A FEW IDEAS FOR FLAVORING YOUR CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
- Add warm peanut butter, or other nut butters, or COOKIE BUTTER into the melted chocolate. Just whisk in until smooth.
- Add extracts into the melted chocolate, such as mint, vanilla, anise, almond, etc…
- Add spices or finely chopped herbs into the melted chocolate: cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, chili powder, cardamom, rosemary (YES! rosemary and chocolate is amazing!), basil, mint, etc…
- Whisk in other flavors like citrus zest or instant espresso powder into the melted chocolate
- Add a tbsp of dark rum or your favorite liquor into the melted chocolate mixture.
- Use white chocolate in place of the regular chocolate! Note, that it must be white chocolate that has cocoa butter in it and is labeled “white chocolate” and not “white baking chips.”
HOW TO SERVE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE:
You have a few different options for how to serve your chocolate mousse…
- Grab a spoon and sit down with the whole bowl of it and eat it as is.
- Spoon it into individual cups and let it chill in the refrigerator to set for at least an hour. Serve with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
- Put it in a piping bag and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before piping onto cupcakes or filling a cake.
- Fill a pie or tart shell with it and let it chill in the refrigerator until set. I love an oreo pie crust with chocolate mousse
- Use it as a layer of an ice cream cake. Frozen mousse is absolutely delicious!
- Make a brownie trifle with it!
And oh so many other options. This is one of those pastry recipes that opens up a whole world of possibilities once you realize how easy and versatile it is!
Classic Chocolate Mousse
- 8 oz (224 gr) good quality chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet, I used 60%), cut into small pieces or chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) hot water
- large pinch of salt
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature (buy pasteurized eggs if you are worried about eating raw eggs)
- 1 1/2 TBSP (18 gr) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream, very cold (not half and half, it must be heavy cream)
- Melt the chocolate either over a double boiler or in short, 15 second, bursts in the microwave, stirring well in between. After the chocolate is completely melted and glossy, add the hot water and immediately begin whisking very quickly until completely incorporated. Add a pinch of salt into the chocolate and mix in.
- In a clean mixing bowl with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy. Slowly stream in the sugar while still whisking and whisk to just barely stiff peaks. Check for peaks frequently being careful not to over whip the whites. Gently move the meringue to another bowl and wipe out the mixing bowl so you can make whipped cream.
- Whip the cold heavy cream to make whipped cream to medium-firm peaks. Again, be careful not to over whip your cream.
- Make sure your chocolate bowl has cooled down to about room temp before moving on to folding in your whites and cream. Take about 1/3 of the egg whites and whisk them into the chocolate to lighten it and make it easier to fold in the rest. Use a rubber spatula to then fold in the rest of the egg whites in two more portions. Be very gentle not to deflate the whites. You will have some white streaks at this point.
- Now, fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture about 1/3 at a time. Again, being very gently and patient. Keep gently folding until you have a pail chocolate mousse. It will be light and fluffy.
- You can refrigerate the mousse in the bowl and then use it as a filling, or go ahead and portion it out into cups before refrigerating. It will take a good 3 hours to completely firm up, but is significantly firmer after 1 hour. Mousse will keep well covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days.
- White Chocolate Mousse: You can make this mousse with white chocolate in place of the regular chocolate. However, you must be sure that it is labeled as "white chocolate" and contains cocoa butter. There are a lot of products that look like white chocolate but are labeled "white baking chips." These will not melt well for making mousse.