My joy comes from making people smile with my cooking. Perhaps that is why I have a weakness for throwing a great dinner party or bringing a batch of homemade cookies to the office or giving a jar of my handmade jam as a hostess gift. Perhaps it is my way of giving and to quote Julia Child – “Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all”.
I hosted a dinner party last weekend and shared my menu with my Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad post. The final touch to this wonderful dinner party was chocolate mousse. What I neglected to mention was it was the perfect mousse. Perhaps it was perfect since the recipe was adapted from the master of French cooking – Julia Child. Thus I had to name this mousse – “Julia Child’s Perfect Chocolate Mousse”. It was essentially quite simple to make. Believe it or not, it was the first time making mousse. I added the Bourbon along with the espresso whipped cream topping and the result was simply heaven. Going forward this will be a “go to” dessert to impress my guests and now it can be yours too.
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Speaking of giving, there is nothing more rewarding than being able to pay it forward. I took the day off from work on Friday. Although I had a day off, I worked. Continue reading to understand what I mean. Saturday would be the third annual “Our Team Chloe” event. It is a fundraiser that supports the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Chloe is the daughter of my co-worker Joe. She lost her battle with brain cancer three years ago at the tender age of seven. It was simply heartbreaking for her family and friends. Out of this tragic event came something good. The positive outcome was that Joe and his large family banded together to give back and created Our Team Chloe. They were grateful for what the Make-a-Wish Foundation did for their family and wanted to pay it forward. With the assistance of many, they put on an outstanding dinner and auction to raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Last year I created and donated three handmade cakes for the live auction and raised $1,100 dollars for this amazing charity that grants wishes for very ill children. Chloe loved being a princess. With her admiration for anything princess, I created a special princess cake last year. From that day forward, I made a promise to Joe that I would make a princess cake each year for the auction plus two additional cakes.
I mentioned that I took the day off on Friday to work. My work was making three special cakes for this year’s auction. It certainly did not feel like work, since I knew it would assist ill children realize one of their dreams. My goal was to help raise more money than last year, which I believe we did and that brings me much joy.
Princess Chloe Cake: Handmade Vanilla Cake with Raspberry Cream Filling and Buttercream Frosting
Handmade Dark Chocolate Cake with Cookie Dough Frosting topped with Fudge Brownies and Chocolate Drizzle
Chloe's Castle Cake: Handmade White Cake with Raspberry Filling and Buttercream Frosting
Julia Child’s Perfect Chocolate Mousse
Serves 4 to 6
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
6 ounces butter, softened to room temperature and cut into pieces
4 Tablespoons fresh brewed espresso
4 egg yolks
¾ Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Bourbon
1 Tablespoon water
½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
4 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon Sugar
In a double boiler, heat chocolate, butter and espresso until melted. (Double boiler tip: use a sauce pan and top with a glass bowl and add water to sauce pan about 2 inches) Remove bowl from the top of the pan and set aside. Meanwhile fill a large bowl with ice and set aside.
Using the same simmering water, place a bowl large enough to fit securely on the bottom pan of the simmering water. Whisk the egg yolks with ¾ cup sugar, bourbon, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of water until slightly thick. (about 3 to 4 minutes)
Remove the whipped egg mixture from the heat and place in the ice bath and beat until cool and thick. Proceed to fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
In a stand mixer, whip the egg whites with salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they begin to form soft peaks and add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and continue to whip until thick and shiny but not stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Transfer to a large serving bowl or 4 to 6 individual containers. (depending how large you desire each serving to be). Cover with plastic and chill for 4 to 6 hours. Prior to serving add a dollop of espresso whip cream and shave semi sweet chocolate on top. (Tip: use a vegetable peeler to shave the chocolate bar)
Adapted from: Julia Child – Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Espresso Whip Cream
2/3 Cup Heavy Cream
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
Add to a stand mixer and whisk until firm. Keep in a covered container until ready to serve.