Classic Chocolate Mousse

DessertMake-aheadChocolateMousse

Chocolate mousse is a great dessert for entertaining because 1) it looks pretty, 2) everyone gets their own serving, and 3) you can make it a day ahead of time.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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 lb 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.

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 to 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.

How to Pasteurize Eggs for this Chocolate Mousse

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 do to the risk of salmonella.

You can buy pasteurized eggs at the store if you feel uncomfortable using raw eggs in this recipe. Or you can pasteurize your own at home. You’ll need an instant read thermometer. Just heat a saucepan half full with water until the water reaches 140°F (60°F). Add the eggs, making sure that the water covers the eggs. Return the heat to 140°F and maintain that temperature for 5 minutes. (See our guide to How to Pasteurize Eggs at Home.)

Classic Chocolate Mousse Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Chilling time: 8 hours
  • Yield: Serves 5 to 8

Ingredients

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

*This recipe uses raw eggs. If you are concerned about salmonella risks, you can use pasteurized eggs. To pasteurize eggs at home, bring water in a pot to 140°F (60°C). Gently add eggs, making sure the water covers the eggs. Keep the water at that temperature for 5 minutes. Then remove and refrigerate eggs.

Method

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

2 Melt chocolate with butter, espresso: Put the finely 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.

3 Whip 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.

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.

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.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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70 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Dominique

    Best chocolate mousse! this is my go to recipe to impress with desert. It’s my FIL’s fave! It’s a bit bitter, but that’s how we like it

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Rhandi D

    my husband informed me that today was chocolate mousse day. It was his hint that he would like me to make some. I followed the recipe as is but since I can’t stand the taste or smell of coffee I used two teaspoons vanilla. It turned out great. I really like the ease of makng this recipe. This is definitely a desert that I will make once again. Thanks for the great recipe.

  • dauntlesschris

    can i skip the eggs and make an egg-less chocolate mousse?

  • Sherri

    I tried the recipe and used Guttard’s super-dark chocolate. It was out of this world!

  • Lily

    I just finished making this mousse – so amazing! What a wonderful recipe…perfect as-is. Thanks!!

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