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Classic Chocolate Mousse

Classic chocolate mousse makes any dinner feel a little more fancy. It's great for a dinner party because it looks so pretty, everyone gets their own serving, and you can make it ahead.

Chocolate mousse recipe in glass serving cups and topped with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.
Sally Vargas

This Chocolate Mousse is thick, rich, creamy, and a perfect dessert for entertaining! Not only is it pretty, everyone gets their own serving, and you can make it a day ahead of time.

I found this recipe years ago in the Bouchon cookbook by famed chef Thomas Keller. It is somewhat of a "chef-y" recipe with melting chocolate over a double boiler, whipping egg whites, and whipped cream.

But if you follow the tips I outline below, you should have success with the recipe and a beautiful, luscious chocolate mousse dessert.

Best Chocolate for Chocolate Mousse

If you want a truly chocolate-y chocolate mousse, use a bittersweet dark chocolate, anywhere from 62% to 70% cocoa.

For this chocolate mousse I'm using the darkest chocolate I could find (Trader Joe's has some Belgian 70% cocoa 1 pound bricks).

If you are going to serve the mousse straight--with no added cream or fruit--and you love the taste of barely sweet dark chocolate, your mousse will be perfect with the 70%.

If you layer in fruit (raspberries complement the chocolate quite well) and or more whipped cream, you'll want either to add sugar or use 62% bittersweet chocolate.

Easy chocolate mousse in serving glasses and set on a tray.
Sally Vargas

Tips for chocolate mousse success

Chocolate mousse can be a little bit tricky! Here are some tips to help you be successful with this recipe:

  • Gently melt chocolate: Melt chocolate over barely simmering water in a double boiler. You can set up a double boiler by placing a metal bowl over a saucepan with barely simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water.) If you don't use a double boiler, the chocolate can break or separate.
  • Cool chocolate until barely warm: Once you've melted the chocolate with the butter and espresso, you'll want to cool it until it is barely warm when you dab some on your lower lip. That will be the right temperature for adding the egg yolks. Too warm and the eggs will cook. Too cool and the chocolate will seize up when you add the other ingredients.
  • Separate eggs when cold, but whip at room temp: Eggs separate easiest when they are right out of the fridge. But egg whites will whip more easily when they are room temp. So separate the eggs first, and then let them sit at room temp for several minutes.
  • Clean equipment for whipping egg whites: Egg whites will refuse to whip properly if there is any residual fat in the bowl or bowl beaters you are using, or if there are any bits of egg yolk that made their way into the whites. So make sure you are using very clean equipment, and you have picked out any bits of egg yolk that may be in the whites.
  • Fold, don't stir, egg whites and whipped cream: Gently fold egg whites and whipped cream into your chocolate mousse and your mousse will be fluffy.

A Note About Raw Egg Whites

This classic chocolate mousse recipe uses raw egg whites and raw egg yolks. For most people this is not an issue, but people with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, very young or old people, should avoid raw eggs due to the risk of salmonella. You can buy pasteurized eggs at the store if you feel uncomfortable using raw eggs in this recipe.

You might also try this recipe for Vegan Chocolate Pudding.

The Best Dishes for Chocolate Mousse

Mousse can be chilled and served in any individual-sized cup, tumbler, or ramekin. Even small canning jars or tea cups work.

A Make-Ahead Dessert

Chocolate mousse is best if chilled at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours before serving. This makes it the perfect make-ahead dessert.

How to Serve Chocolate Mousse

While chocolate mousse is just fine all on its own, you can fancy it up by adding a dollop of whipped cream to each dish before serving. You can also layer the mousse with raspberries and whipped cream; if you do this, serve it in glasses so you can see the pretty layers when you serve.

More Decadent Chocolate Desserts

Classic Chocolate Mousse

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Chilling 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 35 mins
Servings 5 to 8 servings
This recipe uses raw eggs. If you are concerned about salmonella risks, you can use pasteurized eggs.  Recipe adapted from Bouchon

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon (1 ounce) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons brewed espresso or very strong coffee (I used decaf espresso from a local Starbucks)
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Raspberries and extra whipped cream, optional to serve

Method

  1. Whip the cream

    Whip the heavy whipping cream to soft peaks, then chill.

    Whipped cream for a mousse recipe.
    Sally Vargas
  2. Melt the chocolate

    Put the chocolate, cubed butter, and espresso in the top of a double boiler over hot, steamy water (not simmering), stirring frequently until smooth.

    Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and let it cool until the chocolate is just warm to the touch. Don't let the chocolate get tool cool or the mixture will seize when the other ingredients are added.

    Metal bowl with chocolate melted inside.
    Sally Vargas
  3. Whip the egg whites

    Once you've taken the chocolate mixture off the heat and it has started to cool, whip the egg whites until they are foamy and beginning to hold a shape. Sprinkle in the sugar and whip until the egg whites form stiff peaks.

    Whipped cream in a metal bowl to make avchocolate mousse recipe.
    Sally Vargas
  4. Add egg yolks to chocolate

    When the chocolate has cooled until it is just warm to the touch, stir in the egg yolks.

  5. Add whipped cream and egg whites

    Gently stir in about one-third of the whipped cream to thin and loosen the chocolate mixture. Then fold in half the egg whites. Fold in the remaining egg whites. Fold in the remaining whipped cream.

    How to make chocolate mousse by mixing chocolate with whipped cream.
    Sally Vargas
    Easy chocolate mousse mixed in a metal bowl.
    Sally Vargas
    Chocolate Mousse in a metal bowl.
    Sally Vargas
  6. Spoon into serving dishes, chill

    Spoon or pipe the mousse into a serving dishes. If you wish, layer in fresh raspberries and whipped cream. Chill in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours.