The complete "how to" on making the best Mousse Au Chocolat

Anyone who doesn't like chocolate just, well, doesn't exist. Even  those who are allergic to this gift from the gods love it, but just can't eat it. From the time we were toddlers taking our first steps on our own, chocolate has been a part of our lives. There is no holiday without it and no birthday that it doesn't partake in the  celebration When asked what our favorite desserts are, chocolate is certain to be a dominant ingredient for a large percentage of us. It is all around us, no matter where we look or where we go. We can't escape it because it's what we love and it's what we give when we want to show our love for someone special.

As a chocolate lover, you haven't lived until you've experienced a serving of a great Mousse au Chocolat. For those of you that still call it pudding, you simply haven't tried it before. Once tasted, you will clearly notice there is no comparison between the two and you may never go back to pudding again.

You've waited long enough to try your hand at what may be the best Mousse au Chocolat you have ever eaten! Trying this recipe creation is seriously recommended for those who have never eaten this dessert before (and for the rest of you as well). Follow the directions carefully and you will certainly find the pot of gold at the end of this cocoa rainbow. Begin by gathering your ingredients, enough for 6 to 8 servings:

9 oz. Dark 70% semi sweet chocolate
5 Large eggs, yolks and whites separated
1.5 Cups of heavy cream (for whipping) + 2 tablespoons of heavy cream
4 Heaping teaspoons of finely ground granulated sugar (see below)
2 Teaspoons of vanilla extract
1.5 Ounces of Grand Marnier or Cognac
1 Tablespoon of unsalted butter

Finely granulated sugar you can make yourself
Let's begin by making our finely ground granulated sugar. You can find this type of sugar, often called baker's or castor sugar, in the store next to the regular sugar. It's very fine granules are excellent for making sweet sauces and baking; however, it tends to be very expensive. Save yourself a lot of money and make your own. Using an electric coffee grinder, fill it 3/4 to the top with regular sugar and grind it for about 20 seconds. You will end up with a sugar that has very fine granules. Make extra for future dessert ideas. You will find it very useful. Set aside 4 heaping teaspoons for this dessert.

Now you will prepare the first part of this mousse by making what is called a Sauce Sabayon. This Sabayon is a bit different in that we'll use less liquid than usual so that you get a somewhat thicker consistency. You will need a hand mixer with the whisk attachment, a large metal mixing bowl, and a large pot with about an inch or two of water.
Begin whisking the yolk on high

Bring the water in the pot to a simmer, just barely bubbling. Place the metal bowl over the pot, making sure the bottom doesn't touch the water or your egg yolks will cook too much and become scrambled. Add the eggs, the sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and Grand Marnier (or Cognac) and with your blender, whisk on high for about 5 minutes. Make sure to cover the entire bottom of the bowl while whisking, including the edges. What you are doing is getting as much air into your sauce so as to get a fluffy consistency, much like you would do for making whipped cream. When ready, your egg yolk will have tripled in volume and turned to a light pale yellow color. Remove bowl from the pot and set aside.
After 5 minutes, mixture has tripled in volume

Next, you will prepare the second part of your mousse, the melting of your dark chocolate into a smooth, silky thick consistency. Using a double boiler this time, add your chocolate, butter, and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream to the upper portion of the double boiler. Bring the water to a simmer, water barely bubbling. If you need to, add another tablespoon of heavy cream while melting the chocolate. As the chocolate is beginning to melt, slowly begin to stir with a wooded spoon, making sure the butter and cream are well incorporated, as the chocolate becomes more liquid, stir steadily until all has melted and you have a smooth texture. Remove double boiler from the heat.
Place chocolate & butter in double boiler

Continue folding until chocolate & Sabayon are well blended

Now add a bit of the Sauce Sabayon to the chocolate (2 tablespoons) and stir until blended. Repeat the process a second time.

Once chocolate has cooled to warm, transfer 1/3 of it to your bowl with the Sauce Sabayon, and with a rubber spatula, begin to fold the chocolate into the sauce. Next, fold the second third of the chocolate, fold, and finally fold the remainder of the chocolate into the sauce. Be careful not to "mix" the chocolate into the sauce or you will rid it of some of the air. Just continue to fold, while turning the bowl at the same time. After a couple of minutes you will have a nice smooth chocolate mixture. Set the bowl in the fridge.

Whipped cream to stiff peaks
In part three, you will whip the cream to stiff peaks. Into a large chilled metal bowl, add the cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and beat on high until stiff peaks have formed. Bring out the bowl with the chocolate from the fridge, and with your rubber spatula, begin to fold the cream into the chocolate, much as you did before. Fold the cream in 3 equal parts, making sure to fold each part completely before adding another. Once complete, return the bowl to the fridge.

Beaten egg whites
Fold egg whites delicately
Finally, you will whisk your egg whites to stiff peaks. Rinse the bowl you used for the cream and add the egg whites. Beginning with medium high speed, whisk the egg whites, gradually increasing speed to high. Continue until egg whites make nice peaks. Again, remove the chocolate mixture from the fridge and begin folding the egg white into the chocolate, being very delicate in doing so to not lose volume. Fold a couple of spatulas full at a time. Continue folding until you have incorporated all the egg whites and your mousse is completely blended. Transfer your Mousse au Chocolat into a nice clear glass presentation bowl and refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving. Enjoy!

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