Classic Chocolate Mousse

EntertainingDessertMake-aheadChocolateMousse

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.

Photography Credit: 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!

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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.

Chocolate Mousse

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.

From the editors of Simply Recipes

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 Recipe

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

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.

Chocolate Mousse

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.

Chocolate Mousse

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.

Chocolate Mousse

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.

Chocolate Mousse Chocolate Mousse Chocolate Mousse

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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82 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Patricia

    The coffee, is it power or liquid. I am not a mind reader.

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  2. [email protected]

    Amazing! I have better sweet, so I mixed semi sweet and unsweetened. I also added a little extra espresso holy moly what a recipe!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Daryl

    Love it. I make a quadruple batch every month or so and share with neighbors. They love it and if it has been too long they ask when the next batch is coming.

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Diane

    I just made your mousse recipe. I got mixed up on adding the whipped cream and the beaten egg whites. I folded the whipped cream into the beaten egg whites….then folded all into the chocolate mixture. I realize now that’s not what you advised. However, I think it turned out amazing and I don’t think we are going to wait the 8 hours to eat it!! Thank you!

  5. Mike

    Thanks for sharing this recipe – the flavors are great.

    However, I feel there needs to be a bit more detail in regards to the most critical steps of the recipe – that is – when the chocolate mixture is removed from heat so that it can cool down so it is “cool to the touch” so that egg yolks can be added. This is the “make or break step” of the entire recipe and not enough detail is provided.

    I have made chocolate mousse many times and struggle with this step. Add the yolks too early and they will cook, too late, and the chocolate mixture cools and sets up too early yielding a non-homogenous mousse mixture with little brown chocolate flecks in the mousse. Still tastes good, mind you, but lacks the desired silky consistency.

    Thus, more detailed instruction/tips would be helpful for this part of the recipe.

    Simply saying to wait for the chocolate to be “cool to the touch” is too vague in my opinion. Would be nice to have more specifics. . . is the time off the heat 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes??? Better yet, is there a temperature range I can aim for so that I can use a thermometer and be more accurate?

    There are a lot of variables that can influence this process so knowing what temperature range to allow the chocolate to cool to would be very helpful.

    Aside from the desire for greater detail in the recipe instructions, the flavors are great. The coffee does boost the intensity of the chocolate flavor. However, mousse is great without it as well. . .just personal preference.

    Thanks again for sharing!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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