The History of Chocolate Mousse

A brief history of chocolate mousse, along with a simple, but delectable, recipe.

The origins of chocolate mousse are relatively unknown. After being introduced to chocolate by the Spanish, French chefs have been cooking with chocolate since the early 17th century. Mousse, which means "foam", originated in France in the 18th century. It was only a matter of time until cooking with chocolate and making dishes with foamy textures came together for "mousse au chocolat."

The first written record of chocolate mousse in the United States comes from a Food Exposition held at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1892. A "Housekeeper's Column" in the Boston Daily Globe of 1897 published one of the first recipes for chocolate mousse. The recipe yielded a chocolate pudding-type dish, instead of today's stiff, but fluffy, mousse.

Mousse became as we know it with the introduction of egg whites, separated from the yolks. The introduction of electric mixers made the foaming process much, much easier. Whipping egg whites by hand is not as effective or efficient.

Everybody seems to have their own ideas when it comes to adding flavorings and even toppings, but the main ingredients in a chocolate mousse rarely change: chocolate, egg whites, and sugar. Some recipes also call for cream, butter and/or egg yolks. While some of us extreme-chocolatiers prefer the taste of the chocolate shining through the mousse, the addition of some liqueurs is also absolutely divine.

As with any recipe that calls for chocolate, the secret is using the very best chocolate you can. Your mousse is only as good as your chocolate. This basic French chocolate mousse recipe is delectable in its simplicity.

French chocolate mousse recipe

• 11 ounces of dark chocolate

• 6 eggs

• Just over 2 ounces butter (half salted, half unsalted)

• 1.7 ounces of sugar

• A pinch of salt

Melt the chocolate with the butter in a bain-marie (double boiler). Whip the egg whites with salt till stiff. Add the sugar and the egg yolks one by one to the chocolate and butter. Delicately mix the whites with the chocolate. Put in the fridge for at least six hours.

And There you have it. A brief history and recipe for one of my favorite, unadulterated chocolate desserts--chocolate mousse.

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