Julia Child’s Mousse au Chocolat

Every time I look through my Bon Appetit cookbook, Chad acts all wounded that I’m not using my Mastering the Art of French Cooking book–the one he gave me. I’ve tried to explain that “Julia Child didn’t make brownies!” but he keeps up his act and I start feeling guilty. Today I’ve solved this by using, lovingly, my Julia Child Bible to make her incredible, indescribable mousse au chocolat.

Please make this. I’m begging you. If you love chocolate or even just feel sort of good about it, you will find nirvana in this French dessert brought to you by Saint Julia by way of yours truly.

I’m not going to lie and tell you that this isn’t sort of a pain to make. You will have the pleasure of washing three separate bowls and unless you have an extra set of beaters or a whisk for your hand mixer, you get to wash them between beating the yolks and the whites. So you might find it best to make this for a dinner event where you want to impress people (mothers-in-law?). Or if you’re like me and you’ve had a heck of a day you might want to do something slightly tedious that will require concentration on it and not those things that bothered you all day.

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

4 eggs, divided
3/4 C powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp liquor optional (I used brandy)
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
pinch of espresso powder
3/4 C unsalted butter, softened
pinch of salt
sprinkle of granulated sugar

I have a nesting set of three glass bowls that is perfect for this. You will need at least two bowls that can function as a double boiler. I’m using the largest bowl to beat the egg yolks (reserve the whites in a separate bowl!) and the powdered sugar until it forms a light yellow ribbon that falls on itself. Sit this aside for a few minutes while you unwrap the baking chocolate and put it in the smallest bowl over a double boiler. Get a second, bigger double boiler ready for the egg yolk mixture. You’re going to beat the egg yolk mixture for 4 minutes (use a timer, you guys) over the double boiler while the steam is hitting the bottom of the bowl. You’re cooking the eggs here because some people aren’t a fan of raw eggs.

Your chocolate should be mostly melted when by the time you’re finished beating the egg yolks. Stir a pinch of espresso powder into the the melted chocolate. Julia’s recipe calls for a tablespoon of coffee, but I never really feel like making coffee just for a tablespoon. I imagine the reason behind the coffee is to intensify the chocolate flavor and you can get the same effect by adding a pinch of espresso powder. If you don’t have it, use coffee or coffee extract. Or omit it if you are a rebel rebel. Now add the butter, two tablespoons at a time, to the chocolate and stir well. The chocolate will look glossy and delicious. Remember that it’s unsweetened and you don’t actually want to sneak a taste.

Grab that OTHER BOWL and beat the egg whites and the pinch of salt until they form soft peaks. Then add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. The chocolate mixture should be cool enough now to add to the egg yolk mixture. It might look gloopy and odd at first. Just keep stirring. Now stir about one-fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate/yolk mix. Fold in the rest in batches. Be careful so you don’t smush all the air out of the egg whites.

“Smush?” I’m so technical, aren’t I? These really are the words I use in my head when I’m cooking. My culinary vocabulary is vast, but I typically use my onomatopoeia words.

When the contents of the three bowls are (finally) combined, spoon the INCREDIBLY DECADENT AWESOMENESS into soufflé cups or teacups or small bowls. Try to smooth the tops completely flat OR learn to accept life’s imperfections. And then lick the spoon.

Refrigerate these little dishes of pure chocolate heaven for 2 hours. If you can stand it. I won’t judge if you break out a soufflé dish after an hour and 22 minutes. Because look at this stuff. And then eat it while watching the Swedish Chef make it. It will cause giggling and happiness.

Uhmazing. You know what else is amazing? Su and her hippie Sparky. Look what they gave me–just because!

Su said they wanted to give me a little gift since I bring in food so often and it couldn’t have been at a better time. I was in a rotten mood (because PEOPLE DON’T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE) and she completely brightened my day. Thanks again Su and Homefire! You’re my favorite hippies!

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