Creamy chocolate mousse, crunchy chocolate cookie “dirt,” and juicy strawberry “carrots” are joining forces in my latest and most favorite way to satisfy my sweet tooth and add a decorative touch to the dessert table. Best of all, each component of this sweet treat can be made a day in advance and then assembled when you’re ready to bring on the ooh’s and ahh’s of your guests.
Like many chocolate desserts around here, these individual servings of mousse pack a serious cocoa kick. They’re similar in flavor to pots de crème and are, quite literally, pots of chocolate mousse starring strawberries disguised as carrots planted into chocolate cookie soil. Opt for single servings or plant an entire field by serving the mousse in a trifle dish or large bowl and allowing guests to dig up their own dessert. Eating your veggies has never been sweeter!
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For the mousse:
- 1/2 cup chilled heavy cream, divided
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup room temperature espresso or strong coffee
- 3 Tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 large egg whites
For the strawberry “carrots”:
- Orange candy melts
- Chocolate cookies or wafers, crushed
- Equipment: Candy thermometer
Make the mousse:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it.
- In a large metal bowl, combine the egg yolks, espresso, 2 tablespoons sugar and salt. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (don’t allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water). Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it lightens in color, doubles in volume and reaches 160°F on the candy thermometer, about 1 minute.
- Remove the bowl from the pan and whisk in the chopped chocolate until the mixture is smooth. Let the mixture stand, whisking occasionally, until it is room temperature.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they are foamy. With the mixer running, gradually pour in the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture in two additions, then fold in the prepared whipped cream just until combined. (Do not overmix or the mousse won’t be light.)
- Transfer the mousse to a large serving container or several smaller serving containers then cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
Make the strawberry “carrots”:
- Wash and thoroughly dry the strawberries. Line a baking sheet with wax paper or a Silpat.
- Melt the candy melts according to package instructions. Dip the strawberries in the candy melts so they are thoroughly coated then place them on the baking sheet to cool until the candy melts is fully hardened.
- When ready to serve, top the mousse with the crushed chocolate cookies (the “dirt”) then insert the strawberry “carrots” into the mousse so that only a portion of them show atop the surface. Serve immediately.
- The mousse, crushed cookies and strawberry "carrots" can all be prepared a day in advance and then assembled when you are ready to serve the dessert. Store the mousse and the strawberry "carrots" in the refrigerator over night.
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Mousse recipe adapted from Bon Appétit.