Friday, March 17, 2017

Chocolate Bliss for Saint Patrick's Day

By Cal Orey

Welcome to chocolate mousse – a rich and decadent French delight. This sophisticated dessert is incredible when ordered at a restaurant.  Yet, making it yourself it can be tricky. Some recipes use raw eggs which make me think twice of the risks without baking it. A few years ago, I made chocolate mousse with instant chocolate pudding, milk, and real chocolate bits. It was doable. This time around, I switched it up and used the right ingredients and enjoyed the right texture. The best part, it’s easy and fast to make, and you can give it a healthy kick, too.
When putting together this do-over chocolate mousse, it took me back in time when I stayed at South Shore decades ago. I was young and in love. One day frolicking and sunbathing on the beach and running into the water with my significant other chasing me (like a scene out of Hallmark channel movie), I recall an ice cream shop. I chose a creamy chocolate vanilla chip ice cream cone. It was heaven scent. When the tall, tanned girl scooped the speckled ice cream she looked at me and our eyes met.  I said, “One day, I’m going to live here.”  I’ll never forget her smile when I walked away waving goodbye. She recognized my infatuation with the resort town and sweet dessert. I was hooked.

This new version of the memorable chocolate vanilla dessert takes me back to that special day when I fell in love with Lake Tahoe—the Lake, trees, wildlife, and four seasons. And, of course, I want to share it with you.

Chocolate Vanilla Mousse
1 cup Cool Whip Whipped Topping, Creamy (or use real whipping cream)
½ cup cream cheese, whipped
½ cup sour cream
1 capful pure vanilla extract
2-2 1/2 tablespoons premium unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
½ cup whipped cream (cool whip or real whipped cream)
¼ chocolate bar (milk or dark), grated for garnish
½ cup strawberries, fresh, sliced (or blackberries)
Mint leaves, fresh (garnish and optional)
In a mixing bowl combine whipped topping, cream cheese, and sour cream. Once creamy add vanilla, cocoa powder, and sugar. Spoon into ½ cup ramekins (I used oval shaped ones) or small glass parfait glasses. Put into refrigerator for one hour. Frost with whipped cream (you can pipe for a fancy look). Sprinkle with grated chocolate Add strawberries on top or on the side. Serves 2-4 (more berries, less mousse). *Chocolate cream and/or whipped cream are good for piping to provide a fancier look. (For St. Patrick's Day sprinkle top with green sugar candies or fresh fruit such as apples or kiwi.)

This semi-homemade chocolate mousse is yummy but portion control is a must for its sugar, fat, and calories. It’s rich and thick like cheesecake but the fluffy whipped cream on top offers a lighter taste that’s perfect paired with the chocolatey flavor and tart berries. It is a romantic adventure, a bit like the first time visiting Lake Tahoe, falling in love, and appreciating the essence of chocolate vanilla ice cream.

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