2. Here’s what you’ll need.
3/4 cup (6 ounces) water
8 ounces of your favorite high-quality chocolate
two aluminum mixing bowls — one larger than the other
(don’t let this “tools” list scare you — this is going to be easy!)
4. Put water and the chocolate — broken into pieces like this — into a saucepan.
5. Stir over medium heat until the chocolate melts.
No need for a double boiler — the water will keep the chocolate from burning.
6. When it looks like this, you win. Take it off the heat.
7. Now, chill the melted chocolate in an aluminum bowl nestled in another bowl full of ice.
This will cool your chocolate quickly while you whisk.
8. Then whisk, hard, for several minutes.
You can use an electric mixer if you must, but watch it very closely — your mousse will thicken fast. We recommend doing it with a whisk the first time — it’s better to get the hang of it by hand.
9. Don’t give up. Keep whisking.
Here, it’s best to use aluminum bowls, as they’ll chill faster. More insulated ones will give you more of a workout.
The reason this works is that you’re making an emulsion: As you whisk, microscopic bits of water get suspended in the fat, thickening it and making it seem creamier. (It’s the same process for a vinaigrette or mayonnaise.) Then still more air is whipped into it and the cooling chocolate crystallizes around the air bubbles to make a stable foam, aka mousse.
The best thing about it — aside from its dumbfounding simplicity — is that it tastes like pure, unobstructed chocolate. There’s no cream or egg to confuse the issue, like in normal mousses. It also happens to be vegan, if you use dark chocolate without any added milk.
Get into the science of it here.
11. Stop when it’s finally thickened — when it’s holding a shape and looks like this.
Spoon into ramekins, and it will finish setting up there.
12. A little whipped cream up top is not a very bad idea.
Unless, of course, you and your valentine are vegan.