February 12, 2010
Coconut Chocolate Mousse
It's that awkward time of year: winter is growing old and dingy but will neither clean up its act with a fresh blanket of snow* nor politely make way for spring. We still have months of cold weather left and are nearing that equally awkward holiday that often seems more about buying things and expectations than just hearts and flowers. For the most part, I've never really had anything against Valentine's Day. During my childhood we always made a mailbox for filling with home made cards and my mom often surprised us with hand made pink and red gifts. These days I don't have any expectations for the day except to see the heart papers all over town and, usually, that it is an excuse to eat chocolate.
Now, I know that chocolate lovers the world over would attest that you never need an excuse to eat chocolate. I don't really need one either, but I like to make something fitting for the occasion. This is a very simple recipe which was inspired by the coconut chocolate mousse at one of my favorite restaurants. I haven't yet reached the more solid consistency of their mousse, but this three-ingredient, vegan, gluten-free recipe is smooth, creamy and satisfyingly full of chocolate.
Coconut Chocolate Mousse
I am not much of a pudding eater, so for me this is a mousse (by name alone, this is not a technical definition) but the consistency might be right between the two. To make the recipe vegan or gluten free, make sure that the chocolate you use does not contain any dairy or gluten ingredients. I think this would also be fantastic with whipped cream on top, but then again, what isn't fantastic with whipped cream on top? If you prefer a more traditional Chocolate Mousse, I made one last year.
14 ounces of coconut milk (one can)
6 ounces of dark chocolate (I used a mixture of 59% and 70% cocoa content), chopped into small peices
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
unsweetened shredded dried coconut, for sprinkling on top
In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat coconut milk over medium heat. When the milk has started to warm, add the chocolate and stir until fully melted so the mixture has a smooth, uniform consistency. Stir in vanilla and salt and remove from heat. Pour into a shallow pan or bowl and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight until it has thickened into a spoonable mousse. Scoop into small bowls or ramekins and sprinkle with the coconut. For an even thicker mousse, refrigerate for another hour, or until ready to eat. Or eat it right away. Makes 4 small, but richly satisfying, servings.
*It seems that every other place on the east coast has gotten snow but we have been left with nothing but cold.