@GRMAGAZINE: Weeknight French Affair

(Grand Rapids, MI) — In the February issue of Grand Rapids Magazine, we opt for a night of home-cooked French food on Valentine's Day. If you want the recipe for Juliet's amazing Coq Au Vin, you'll have to pick up a copy of the magazine. However, for dessert we've included her take on Blender Chocolate Mousse...

I first made this recipe when it appeared in Cookie magazine. Alas, Cookie didn’t survive the recession and eventually folded, but this recipe lives on! If you make this before dinner, it will set while you linger over the main course and wine.

Put six ounces of chopped semisweet chocolate in your blender. (I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips this time around, but you could get fancy and use something like Lindt or Valrhona.) Heat four tablespoons of butter, two tablespoons of espresso, and one cup of milk in a small saucepan until the milk is scalded (bubbles will start to form around the edge of the pan). Most recipes say any fat content will work though I typically use whole milk, half and half, or heavy cream. It’s not like we eat this weekly or anything!

Pour the heated mixture in with the chocolate, then blend until smooth. Add two fresh eggs and blend until no lumps remain. Be sure to use the freshest eggs you can get your hands on. The first time I made this, I was worried about salmonella; the scalded milk mixture, however, was steaming hot and I felt the heat from the milk surely killed anything that might be lurking in my organic local eggs. That said, I’m a home cook and not a physician. If you’re concerned, you might want to skip this recipe.

I was also worried the eggs would cook and I’d have a blender full of Ghirardelli scrambled eggs. If you crack the eggs into a small dish while the milk is scalding, you can quickly dump them into the blender. I’ve never had any egg-y lumps in this mousse.

Scrape down any ingredients stuck to the the sides of your blender once or twice and give it all one final whirl. Pour into ramekins and put in the refrigerator to chill.

After dinner, let him stack dishes while you whip some cream; I let the stand mixer do the work. The mousse is going to be rich and sweet, so I use a slight amount of sugar here. Maybe one to two teaspoons for one pint of cream. I just dollop the whipped cream on the mousse but you could put it in a pastry bag and pipe it on top. I’m just too lazy for that on a weeknight. I did have the energy to grate a little dark chocolate over the whipped cream. I’ve seen variations with a shot of brandy or other liquor in the mousse, but we decide to sip ours with a little port.

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