Keyword: chocolate mousse, salted caramel, Valentine's Day
Dessert Type: Mousse
Prep Time: 15minutes
Cook Time: 20minutes
Total Time: 35minutes
Author: Elizabeth LaBau
These Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse Hearts are rich, and creamy, with a deep caramel taste balanced by a hint of salt. If the molds are just a bit too much for you, don't worry, this mousse is also amazing when poured into cups and topped with just a dollop of whipped cream...
Separate the eggs. Place the whites in the clean bowl of a stand mixer, and place the yolks in a large bowl. Gently whisk the yolks to break them up.
Heat the cream in the microwave or in a small saucepan just until it comes to a simmer, then remove it from the heat and set it aside.
Combine 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, the water, and the cream of tartar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then brush down the sides with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Once it starts boiling, stop stirring and just let it cook until it reaches a medium-brown color. Don’t chicken out and stop it early—it needs to be well-caramelized in order to get that caramel flavor in the final mousse. (If you want to use a candy thermometer, you’re looking for 330-340*F).
Once it’s a deep amber and fragrant, take it off the heat and whisk in the butter. Add the cream—careful, it will bubble up!—and whisk until it’s combined. Add the chopped chocolate and the salt, and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes.
Slowly whisk the warm caramel into the egg yolks, stirring the whole time so you don’t shock the eggs and start cooking them.
Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks, then start adding the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar slowly. Continue to beat them until they hold firm peaks but are not dry and crumbly.
Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate-yolks mixture. Once it’s mostly incorporated, add another third and gently fold it in. Finish with the last third of the egg whites and fold until no white streaks remain.
Pour the mousse into small ramekins, cups, or the cavities of a flexible silicone mold. I think it’s easiest to work with molded mousse if it has a cake base, so if you have cake lying around, add a thin (1/4-inch) layer of cake to the top of the cavities. If not, it will still work well but is a little messier to plate.
Refrigerate the cups overnight, or freeze the mold overnight. (The mousse must be frozen in order to be unmolded cleanly.) Serve with whipped cream and/or salted caramel sauce.
To Make the Chocolate Gelee:
Mix the gelatin and tablespoon of water in a small bowl, and let the gelatin sit and soften for 5 minutes. Microwave the gelatin for 20-30 seconds until it is fluid.
In a small saucepan, whisk together the cream, granulated sugar, remaining 1/4 cup of water, and the cocoa powder. Place the pan over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes.
After 3 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the gelatin. Let cool until it starts to thicken and smoothly coats the back of the spoon—this will only take a few minutes. Once it’s ready, use immediately, as it will get thicker and thicker as it cools. If it becomes too thick to pour, microwave it briefly and whisk it until it is pourable consistency.