I’d like to tell you that I loved Charles Shultz and Peanuts, as a child, and I had large books filled with comic strips and I loved watching every show with my family… we never missed one! I’m not ashamed to admit it…I STILL LOVE all of the comics and shows! I sat this year, as my husband was out, my youngest son was working, and my oldest son was at college and watched The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, feeling like a kid again! The only thing missing was my family, but you know, the memories of us watching Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Sally, Pig Pen and Peppermint Patty came back to me and brought a smile to my face!

Although somewhat annoying and insensitive (listen to me I still think she’s real) Lucy Van Pelt in Peanuts had it right, “All I really need is love, but a little chocolate doesn’t hurt!”

I’ve always WANTED to make Chocolate Mousse, but I’ve been somewhat INTIMIDATED! I’ve read the various ways Chocolate Mousse, or Mousse au Chocolat, (now that’s intimidating) can be prepared and although the ingredients are simple and few, one must really use quality ingredients to attain a delicious mousse. Well, I finally made it today!

I was feeling up to the challenge this afternoon, and I was in need of a gluten-free dessert!

I’m thrilled to report that it was surprisingly simple. Some tips might be to not let the hot water in your double boiler touch the bottom of the pan containing your chopped chocolate and butter. The water should never come up to a boil as well. Chocolate can seize up if it comes in contact with moisture. Another tip would be to NOT PANIC while folding in your egg whites. I reviewed several recipes and techniques. Some recipes use heavy cream to achieve the “mousse-like” consistency, but many of the traditional French recipes suggested egg whites and no cream at all. Be sure to use the freshest eggs possible. The egg yolks made the chocolate mixture very rich and lovely. Once my egg whites formed firm peaks, I gently folded them into my chocolate mixture. I must admit, because of the expense, I was a little worried about making a mistake. The egg whites took a little while to be properly incorporated, but I knew that if I rushed the folding, all the air in the egg whites would be gone, so I worked carefully and patiently, and voila, it worked! I made a beautiful mousse…my first ever! I was thrilled!

I used a piping bag, made out of my handy, dandy inexpensive freezer bag, which actually worked nicely, and then carefully squeezed my lovely mousse into glass cups. I then made whipped cream for the top and added some orange zest for garnish. Chocolate and orange is such a lovely combination and this tells my guests that there may be an orange surprise in this dessert, in this case, Grand Marnier…does it get any better?

Because there are so few ingredient in this recipe, this is not the time to skimp on your ingredient choices. I love Ghiradelli chocolate and so I chose their bittersweet chocolate, which has a little more sugar and a little less cocoa than dark chocolate. I found the bittersweet chocolate (10% less to be exact) I found it to be the perfect choice!

Serves 6 to 7

16 oz good quality cooking chocolate, chopped (I like Ghiradelli)
6 egg yolks
1 tbsp. Grand Marnier, orange liquor
6 egg whites
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tbsp. salted butter (salt always brings out the sweetness in your desserts)

Place your chopped chocolate and butter in a metal bowl and place over saucepan filled with water. Bring to a medium heat (make sure the water doesn’t ever boil or touch the metal bowl) and melt the chocolate and butter carefully, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Add Grand Marnier and leave to cool. In a separate bowl, beat sugar and egg yolks until smooth and then add to your chocolate.

In a separate bowl or mixer, beat the egg whites until they form firm peaks, then gently fold into the chocolate mixture. Patience is a virtue! : – )

Spoon or squeeze your mousse out of a pastry bag into your 6 to 7 dessert glasses, top with whipped cream and place in the fridge. Leave for around 12 hours or overnight to set.

Some garnishes might be fresh orange zest or fresh berries of your choice. Enjoy and please don’t wait as long as I did to make this dessert!