For The Best Chocolate Mousse, Patience Is The Key To Success

Chocolate mousse with whipped cream and chocolate shavings
Chocolate mousse with whipped cream and chocolate shavings - Mateusz Siuta/Getty Images

When cool and creamy chocolate mousse hits the table, it's nearly always a crowd-pleaser. There's something about the ethereal, cloudlike creation that just makes you feel like you could float away with happiness. It's decadent and crave-worthy, yet still somehow so light and airy that it won't overwhelm you or feel out of place in a classy setting. Making any chocolate mousse recipe at home might be intimidating, but it's worth taking the leap so you can have a treat when the mood strikes. And although there are a number of recipes that promise hacks or shortcuts, a true and traditional mousse is a simple dish already, requiring just a few staple items (like eggs and heavy cream), along with a little practice.

But the most important element in perfecting your at-home mousse is actually an ingredient that costs absolutely nothing at all, monetarily speaking: patience. There are a few points in the process at which it's critical to give the culinary science happening behind the scenes — particularly with respect to creating and protecting air bubbles — enough time to unfold. Take your time, and you'll find that slow-going is the secret to letting your mousse become its best self.

Read more: 11 Discontinued Chocolates We Miss The Most

The Science Of Slow

Whipping egg whites into meringue with hand mixer
Whipping egg whites into meringue with hand mixer - Dubravina/Getty Images

The reason patience is so important when making silky chocolate mousse is two-fold. First, because you need your meringue to have the time to develop, and that's a slow and steady game rather than a sprint to the finish line. A high-speed whipping will lead to a result that is closer to foam, whereas a billowy, light, and airy meringue only develops with a bit of time. This more gradual approach, which relies on a lower initial mixing speed, gives the proteins in the egg whites an opportunity to stretchthe air bubbles you'll work so hard to create to remain firmly trapped, so your meringue is sturdy and voluminous.

Another critical step also requires you to slow the pace. Folding your perfect meringue into your melted chocolate means risking all those air bubbles you spent all that time conjuring. If you fold too aggressively, you'll deflate them — not to mention you could potentially wind up with zebra stripes of egg white throughout your deliciously chocolatey dessert. It's imperative to exercise some gentle restraint at this point in the process, too -- that way, you'll have a well-integrated yet still fluffy finished product.

Customize Your Creamy Chocolate Mousse

Small pots of chocolate mousse with blueberries and rosemary
Small pots of chocolate mousse with blueberries and rosemary - alexzrv/Shutterstock

Once you've perfected your mousse-making technique, you can take the opportunity to riff with confidence. Chocolate mousse is a beautifully blank slate for so many of your favorite ingredients and flavors to shine. Try incorporating coffee for a caffeinated kick (like in Guinness chocolate mousse) or ancho powder and orange liqueur for a Mexican chocolate-inspired spin.

Making mousse is also a great opportunity to really get a sense for which chocolate you prefer. Swapping out a range of percentages, from milk to dark, will yield varying results, and in this simple preparation, you can highlight each in a special way.

And although it may be difficult to imagine anything more perfect than chocolate mousse all on its own, some contrast can make things interesting. Sprinkle crushed nuts over the top, or layer in graham cracker or cookie crumbs for a sweet parfait. Speaking of toppings, a little vanilla whipped cream never hurt anyone, so go ahead and fill a store bought or homemade cookie pie crust with your mousse and slather it on. In slices, this preparation is a simple crowd-pleaser, but you can also prepare your mousse in small jars for a single-serving version that is perfect for a one-person kind of night. No matter how you serve it, that first spoonful of mousse is a moment worth having a little patience for.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.