Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake

Thanksgiving is for show stoppers. Generally the show stopper is the big bird on the table but this year I wanted to put a lot of effort into crafting my dessert. When I came across this elegant number on America’s Test Kitchen I knew it was the one.

The layers effortlessly build on each other to create a fantastical chocolate splendor.

Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake

Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake

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3 slices for me

Look at those layers

Bottom Layer

  • 6tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, plus extra for greasing pan
  • 7ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (see note)
  • 3/4teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4large eggs, separated
  • pinch table salt
  • 1/3cup packed (about 2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar, crumbled with fingers to remove lumps

Middle Layer

  • 2tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
  • 5tablespoons hot water
  • 7ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (see note)
  • 1 1/2cups cold heavy cream
  • 1tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/8teaspoon table salt

Top Layer

  • 3/4teaspoon powdered gelatin
  • 1tablespoon water
  • 6ounces white chocolate chips (see note)
  • 1 1/2cups cold heavy cream
  • Shaved chocolate or cocoa powder for serving, optional (see note)

1. FOR THE BOTTOM LAYER: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of 91/2-inch springform pan. Melt butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool mixture slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in vanilla and egg yolks; set aside.

2. In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add half of brown sugar and beat until combined, about 15 seconds. Add remaining brown sugar and beat at high speed until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, about 1 minute longer, scraping down sides halfway through. Using whisk, fold one-third of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold in remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain. Carefully transfer batter to prepared springform pan, gently smoothing top with offset spatula.

3. Bake until cake has risen, is firm around edges, and center has just set but is still soft (center of cake will spring back after pressing gently with finger), 13 to 18 minutes. Transfer cake to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. (Cake will collapse as it cools.) Do not remove cake from pan.

4. FOR THE MIDDLE LAYER: Combine cocoa powder and hot water in small bowl; set aside. Melt chocolate in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly, 2 to 5 minutes.

5. In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip cream, granulated sugar, and salt at medium speed until mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, 15 to 60 seconds.

6. Whisk cocoa powder mixture into melted chocolate until smooth. Using whisk, fold one-third of whipped cream into chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold in remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Spoon mousse into springform pan over cooled cake and gently tap pan on counter 3 times to remove any large air bubbles; gently smooth top with offset spatula. Wipe inside edge of pan with damp cloth to remove any drips. Refrigerate cake at least 15 minutes while preparing top layer.

7. FOR THE TOP LAYER: In small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water; let stand at least 5 minutes. Place white chocolate in medium bowl. Bring ½ cup cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; add gelatin mixture and stir until fully dissolved. Pour cream mixture over white chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes (mixture will thicken slightly).

8. In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip remaining cup cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, 15 to 60 seconds. Using whisk, fold one-third of whipped cream into white chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold remaining whipped cream into white chocolate mixture until no white streaks remain. Spoon white chocolate mousse into pan over middle layer. Smooth top with offset spatula. Return cake to refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.

9. TO SERVE: If using, garnish top of cake with chocolate curls or dust with cocoa. Run thin knife between cake and side of springform pan; remove side of pan. Run cleaned knife along outside of cake to smooth sides. Cut into slices and serve.

 

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When you’re avocados are saying “Eat me now”: Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Avocado and Chocolate are just about my two favorite things. I eat both almost everyday… but never together. Until now. A friend brought over a bag of local avocados and I’m sure many of you feel the same when I talk about the anxiety of using an avocado at exactly the right moment.

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This image captures the sentiment perfectly. My mom gave me a good tip to put them in the fridge as soon as they’re ripe and that will buy you an extra couple of days. REALLY the fridge? Who would have thought of that. Clearly not me.

Let’s get to the good stuff – I was faced with all these ripe avocados and thought to myself

“Guacamole? No, I’ll eat the whole bag of chips.”

“Avocado toast? That’s so 2013.”

“With chocolate? That’s weird, but hey, so am I.” Hence, AVOCADO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE. Silky and smooth, this dessert concept may frighten you, but I assure you that the mere purpose of the avocado is to add that soft velvety texture. Try it, you won’t be missing the guac.

Eñoy!

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AVOCADO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

Serves 4 to 6

2 ripe avocados (I’ve used Hass and Florida and they both rocked)

8 oz bittersweet chocolate (can also use vegan chocolate to make this a completely vegan dessert)

1/2 cup coconut milk (pour right from the can)

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons amber (dark) agave syrup

1 teaspoon sea salt

Optional toppings could include: graham crackers, pretzels, marshmallows, berries, nuts

DIRECTIONS

1. Melt chocolate with coconut milk in a bowl over boiling water. Stir frequently.

2. In a food processor add remaining ingredients. Add chocolate mixture once it is cooled.

3. Blend until there are no avocado chunks remaining.

4. Chill and serve

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“Top 5 Cookie”: Red Velvet Black & White

“Top 5” he said. My husband, the “cookie connoisseur” said these Red Velvet Black & White cookies were in the all time Top 5 that I’ve made for him. I’d really have to agree. They are soft and moist like red velvet cake and are accompanied by a decadent chocolate topping and a rich cream cheese frosting. They were also described as a “muffin top with icing” that sounded pretty accurate to me.

I brought a dozen to my office to prevent us from eating the full batch ourselves, and my co-workers were raving. I’m still getting high fives after the fact.

The blogger I tweaked this recipe from, Joy The Baker, brought these to a cookie swap with INA GARTEN HERSELF! So you know she was bringing her A-game.

Find recipe in my recipe box here.

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Weekend Wrap-Up: Me and My Baguette

I’ve been wanting to get back into sandwich making. There is just something so comforting and satisfying about your favorite ingredients nestled in between two slices of fresh-baked bread. So I stopped be PAUL a franchise bakery out here on Lincoln Road for their signature baguette. Here is what went down:

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Green Sandwich

Green Sandwich Pt 2.

Curry Egg Salad Sandwich

Curry Egg Salad Sandwich

And with all that left over bread of course I HAD to make french toast. Duh.

French Toast

French Toast

Sunday evening I also had a friend’s birthday party in which I was on duty to make dessert. I made a Tres Leches. It was my first time and I chose an Alton Brown recipe based on a delicious one my mom made a while back. I think my measurements were a bit off because the cake was still dense and not as moist as it should be. The flavor was all there, but I like my Tres Leches good and soggy.

Not Soggy Tres Leches

Not Soggy Tres Leches

Cronuts for days

A few weekends ago my hubs and his long time friend Mike decided they wanted to make the infamous Cronuts. (Read more about the croissant/donut craze here) Mike, who is his own culinary star among friends, had already dominated this magical pastry but wanted to drop some bakery knowledge on us. Here are the men at work. (Love men in the kitchen)

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After 7-8 hours of attentive kneading and caressing we had cronuts! Time to hit the fryer.

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Mike’s choice sides were chocolate ganache, bacon syrup, maple glaze and the winner of the night – guava and cheese. Can you blame us Miami folk?

photo[5]It was really a sensational dessert. I felt like I was having a one-of-a-kind experience that some wait 2-3 hours for – and we made more than the 2 allotted from famed Dominique Ansel. Pfffft. Take that!

If you want to stick it to the pastry man, try it for yourself. This is the recipe we used here.