Valentine’s Day Decadence

Let’s Eat by Charles Oppman

Valentine’s Day Decadence

     With Valentine’s Day upon us, you probably need to come up with a gift for that special someone. Why not make a gift of food, but not just any food, it must be chocolate. Lovers the world over consider chocolate to be sexy, sensual and few other gifts can say: Je t’aime ma chérie like chocolate. Ever since the Spanish Conquistadors brought this wonderful food back to Europe, chocolate has been one of the most prized foods in history and the perfect gift for special occasions. We usually just hand over chocolates that someone else made. Why not make this Valentine’s Day extra special and hand-make your gift of chocolate this year. When I think Valentine’s chocolate I think chocolate mousse. Why not? Here’s a quick and easy chocolate mousse recipe served in a chocolate cup no less. This will be the most memorable Valentine’s Day ever. While there are more complicated recipes involving meringue and gelatin, this one will do just fine.

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups whipping cream

16 ounces quality semi-sweet chocolate chips OR chopped bar (reserve 4 oz. for cups)

1 tablespoon instant coffee dissolved in warm water

3 tablespoon dark rum

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

The Mousse

1. Chill whipping cream in refrigerator. Chill metal mixing bowl.

2. Place 12 ounces of chocolate chips in metal bowl and place in a double boiler or over a sauce pan with simmering water. Melt over barely simmering water, stirring constantly. Remove from heat while small chunks are still visible. Cool to nearly room temperature. Taste it, if it’s too hot to taste, allow continuing to cool.

3. Add butter, rum and coffee mixture to chocolate. It might coagulate and clump at first, but continue to stir until smooth.

4. In the chilled mixing bowl, whip cream to medium peaks. Fold 1/4 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream in two doses. There may be streaks of whipped cream in the chocolate and that is fine. Do not over work the mousse or it will deflate into chocolate “soup”.

5. Cover mousse and place in refrigerator for later use.

The Cups

1. Repeat same procedure for melting 4 ounces of chocolate over double boiler. Allow to cool to nearly room temperature.

2. Place four paper muffin cups in a muffin pan. With a pastry brush, paint the inside of each cup with melted chocolate. After each coating place cups in refrigerator for 5 minutes to allow chocolate to harden.

3. Once chocolate has hardened apply another coat of chocolate until 5 or 6 coats have been applied.

4. Place cups in freezer to allow chocolate cups to harden completely. Remove cups from freezer and peel paper off now-hardened chocolate cups.

5. Fill each chocolate cup with an equal amount of mousse. Garnish with strawberry slices or mint leaf.

6. Refrigerate filled cups uncovered until presentation.

     Since this luscious dessert is to be served on that very special day for lovers it must be accompanied by a special beverage. And only one beverage will do. Champagne! This lively libation is capable of doing more than tickling your nose. Champagne can fan the flames of romance and what better day of year for that. If champagne isn’t availabletrue champagne is produced only in France’s Champagne regionthere are many excellent domestic sparkling wines from which to choose. I’d recommend brut or extra dry with this dessert since they are on the dry side and compliment its sweetness. A’Votre Sante’!

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