Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Take on Two-Ingredient Mousse

Around Valentine's Day, I saw this article on Yahoo for two-ingredient mousse. Come on, you were intrigued too, weren't you? It promised a perfect mousse through the heating of water and dark chocolate and then the whipping of the now-melted concoction over ice. The science behind it was that this would whip it much like whipped cream or homemade mayonnaise--the water would become suspended in the fat and as it cooled it would take form.

It certainly looked perfect on the post--very mousse-y and very chocolate-y. And the comments weren't half bad either. I had to try it. I didn't even feel guilty trying it. This was dark chocolate and water for Pete's sake. Decadent desserts don't get much more virtuous than that.

For me, the tricky part was whipping it until it was just right. The first time I did it, it got it too hard. So I had to melt it and re-do it. That time it came out okay, though not as light as I had expected it to be from the pictures on the original post. I gave it a couple more tries, you know, for science's sake and all. What I got each time mousse-ish, but still not as light and perfect as I consider mousse to be (don't ask me how they got that last picture on the original post--I expect it's doctored--that or the result of 100's of tries). (Issue #1.) The other problem was that if you don't eat it within the first hour or so, it gets really hard. It is still different than eating a chocolate bar--it is much less dense. But it wasn't at all like eating mousse either. What I had after several hours in the fridge was a concoction in solid form--it's just that it had more air whipped in so that it was lighter per square inch than a bar of chocolate. (Issue #2.) We ate it anyway and yes, it tasted yummy. Though not really any yummier than eating a bar of dark chocolate, and for a lot more work. (Issue #3.)

Sounds like I had a lot of issues with this, doesn't it. Though clearly I wasn't exactly hating this stuff since I decided to give it a try with part water, part whipping cream. And then, heck, while I was at it, with all whipping cream--essentially a whipped ganache (again, of course, for science). The results were interesting. You could visibly see which mousse was which. They got lighter in color and bigger in volume with the addition of more cream.

(Sorry for the lousy picture. I use it to show that these are all the same 2 ounces of chocolate, but the one with whipping cream was nearly double in size as the original made with water--note how high they go to the ridge near the rim. It was also--naturally--considerably lighter in color.)

The one with half water, half whipping cream had the most mousse-like consistency of the lot--light and airy, yet with an almost pudding like look when you scooped it up with a spoon. However, it was the worst-tasting of the three (I didn't say bad-tasting; they were all delicious; but it was the worst of the three). The original dark one was wondefully dark chocolate-y and the one made with all whipping cream instead of water was really creamy and delicious. All three hardened up after a night in the refrigerator. And all three--although good--just weren't, well, mousse.

Which brings me to Issue #4 and the point of most annoyance for me: This wasn't mousse. Whipping chocolate does not a mousse make. It might make something that is mousse-like in appearance and texture (though only if you eat it within your first hour of whipping). But mousse is its own thing. The article claimed that their two-ingredient mousse was super chocolate-y because it was unencumbered by things like eggs, cream, and sugar. But things like eggs, cream, and sugar (with air beat into them, yes) are what make a mousse a mousse.

So, while this was good, don't expect it to taste like a mousse. Expect it to taste like Whipped Chocolate Delight.

And speaking of Whipped Chocolate Delight, tune in next time when--all in the name of science--I experiment with a whipped chocolate delight made with orange juice in place of the water. It might have to wait though because science and my belly need to communicate a little better (and science seriously needs to send a memo to my waistline while it's at it) because I'm feeling a little full.

Think I'm the crazy one with issues (I won't argue) and want to try Two-Ingredient Mousse, you'll find the recipe here.

To make it with cream:

Substitute all or half of the water with whipping cream.

Also, throwing in some vanilla or another type of flavoring might be exciting.

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