Chocolate mousse with crushed pretzels and cherry juice reduction!
I serve this mousse to people that I really want to like me.
In the past week, I have taken a double batch to my new neighbor’s house for dinner, and then again to a new friend when I heard her husband was having a bad day. The taste of this mousse makes people want to put you at the top of their list.
Normally, I’m a simple gal when it comes to desserts. Two small cups of chocolate mousse is plenty. For the two of us, I probably wouldn’t even bother making the whipped cream topping.
But when I’m trying to impress people, my love language is a dessert that earns all the bonus points: chocolate (milk chocolate in this case), salty (pretzels), and tart (cherry reduction). Extra credit for peanut butter!
It’s like peanut butter and jelly meets creamy mousse. I couldn’t love it more.
The chocolate mousse is simple to make, really. I’m going to let you use the microwave to melt the chocolate, but promise me this: turn your microwave power down to 50%, and keep an eagle eye on it! Stir, stir, stir after each pulse. You must take it out of the microwave before all of the chips melt, and patiently stir while the final chips melt.
The toppings to the mousse sound fancy and impressive, but are effortless. I crushed a handful of peanut butter stuffed pretzels. You know the ones from Trader Joe’s (I’ve also seen them at Costco):
Then, I reduced 1 cup of cherry juice until it was only 1/4 cup. That’s it.
The peanut butter pretzels and cherry reduction are entirely optional. I love the chocolate mousse plain, too.
So, if you have a friend with a lake house, slide this mousse their way. You’ll be soaking up the sun on the lake house deck this summer, I guarantee it.
Say you have a friend that always scores extra tickets to concerts and sports games? Slip this in their fridge with a note that says ‘enjoy.’ You’ll have a foam finger and over-priced beer in your hand in no time.
But, have you also seen my quickie 5-minute simple chocolate mousse recipe for Valentine’s Day?
Chocolate Mousse with Crushed Pretzels and Cherry Drizzle
Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
1 cup 100% tart cherry juice
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 ounces milk chocolate chips (heaping 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
handful of peanut butter stuffed pretzels
optional: extra 3 tablespoons of heavy cream for topping
First, make the cherry reduction in advance. Place the cherry juice in a small saucepan over high heat and boil until it reduces down to 1/4 cup. Once reduced, pour it into a container for storage.
Prepare your work station by separation the egg and having the egg yolk ready in a bowl nearby. Also measure out the powdered sugar in advance and have it nearby, too.
Next, pour the heavy cream in a medium bowl, and place it in the fridge with the electric beaters. We're pre-chilling to speed up whipping time.
The rest of the recipe needs to be completely quickly. Do not dawdle.
Now you can begin melting the chocolate: In a medium glass bowl, add the chocolate chips and butter. Turn the microwave power down to 50%, and microwave for 20 seconds. Stop and stir. Repeat until about 2/3 of the chocolate chips are melted. For the remaining chips to melt, slowly and gently stir the mixture with a wooden spoon. The residual heat of the bowl will melt the rest. The mixture should be smooth. (If the mixture is pasty or grainy, you have burned the chocolate, and you must start over). Stir in the egg yolk.
Once the chocolate is melted: work quickly! Whip the cream in the pre-chilled bowl using an electric mixer on high with the pre-chilled beaters. Once the cream has soft peaks, add the powdered sugar and add all of the melted chocolate. If the chocolate has started to firm up slightly, you're fine--just work fast.
Beat the chocolate into the cream mixture until fully incorporated, about 15 seconds maximum.
Divide the mousse between two serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 3 hours, or up to 2 days in advance.
When ready to serve, crush the pretzels. Sprinkle on top of the mousse and drizzle with the cherry reduction. Serve with additional whipped cream, if desired.
Christina Lane is the author of 3 cookbooks all about cooking and baking for two. She has scaled down hundreds of recipes into smaller servings so you can enjoy your favorite dishes without the leftovers! Valentine's Day is her favorite holiday.