After a week of sharing and reminiscing about New England, I give you my most favorite dessert, inspired by the Monadnock Inn’s secret Chocolate Mousse recipe. As I recall, several years ago, their recipe earned Gourmet magazine’s Best Chocolate Mousse award.
My mousse recipe combines rich bittersweet chocolate beaten with egg yolks, egg whites peaked to perfection, and freshly whipped cream. Each ingredient is carefully thought out and incorporated on cue.
What I remember most about this amazing mousse was that when you were about to take your last bite, feeling a bit sad at the thought of it, you discovered a little surprise in the very bottom of the dish. Hidden there was a crystallized sweet hint of orange syrup underneath the heavenly mousse. I call it, Grand Marnier Crystallized Sugar.
While attempting to recreate this masterful dessert, I spent a good bit of time focused on the Grand Marnier Crystallized Sugar. I think I nailed it. I’m not at all pretending that my version is anywhere near as good the inspiration, however still claiming it to be pretty amazing Chocolate Mousse.
* This is a sinfully sophisticated dessert that contains alcohol and is best suited for adults.
- 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate squares
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 Tbl. Grand Marnier
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 2 Tbl. sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 egg whites
- 4 Tbl. sugar
- 1 Tbl. water
- 2 Tbl. Grand Marnier
- 1 tsp. orange zest
- Melt chocolate in stainless steel bowl over hot water bath or top of double boiler. Add egg yolks and beat for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add Grand Marnier. Allow mixture to cool.
- Whip cream with sugar and vanilla until peaks are formed. Refrigerate cream for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, beat egg whites until they form peaks.
- Mix ⅔ of the chilled cream into the chocolate mixture, reserving the rest for garnish. Fold in egg whites. Chill mousse for 4-6 hours.
- In a small sauce pan over low heat, mix 4 Tbl. sugar with 1 Tbl. water. Once combined increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Stir mixture with a wooden spoon which will cause the sugar to crystallize.
- Remove from heat, pour onto parchment paper and allow to cool, 2-3 hours.
- Break crystallized sugar into small pieces, using fork to 'mash' into finer pieces. Soak in 2 Tbl. Grand Marnier.
- Divide crystallized sugar evenly between 4 dessert dishes. Fill dishes with chocolate mousse. Top with dollop of whip cream, a sprinkle of orange zest, and a fine grate of bittersweet chocolate.
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