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This dark-chocolate mousse is light, soft, and creamy with a lot of dark chocolate flavor. You can jazz up this mousse by accompanying it with fresh raspberries or strawberries, if you want.

[Credit: D Fischer & P Lyons/Cole Group/PhotoDisc]
Credit: D Fischer & P Lyons/Cole Group/PhotoDisc

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus chilling time

Yield: 1 1/2 quarts, 6 to 8 servings

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

3 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons shaved bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (for garnish)

  1. Finely chop the chocolate.

  2. Melt the chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot water, stirring often with a rubber spatula.

    Or melt the chocolate in a microwave oven on low power at 30-second intervals. Stir with a rubber spatula between intervals.

  3. In a 1/2-quart saucepan, scald 1 cup of the cream.

  4. Remove the top pan of the double boiler and wipe the bottom and sides very dry.

  5. Pour the scalded cream into the chocolate.

  6. Stir until thoroughly blended and shiny.

  7. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large mixing bowl.

  8. Add the orange liqueur or vanilla.

  9. Blend well.

  10. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, whip 1 cup cream to soft peaks.

  11. Fold the cream into the chocolate mixture in three stages.

  12. Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a large mixing bowl.

  13. Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites until frothy.

  14. Slowly add the sugar and whip the egg whites until they hold firm peaks.

  15. Fold the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture in three stages, blending thoroughly.

  16. Pour the mousse into a 1-1/2-quart serving bowl or into individual bowls or glasses.

  17. Cover the mousse with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until set.

  18. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream until frothy.

  19. Add the vanilla and whip until the cream holds soft peaks.

  20. Fit a 12-inch pastry bag with a large star tip.

  21. Fill partway with the whipped cream.

  22. Decorate the top of the mousse with rosettes, stars, or shells, and then sprinkle the shaved chocolate over the cream.

  23. Serve the mousse within 6 hours of preparation.

Per serving: Calories 453 (From fat 292); Fat 33g (Saturated 20g); Cholesterol 83mg; Sodium 45mg; Carbohydrate 34g (Dietary fiber 2g); Protein 5g.

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