Chocolate Mousse with Gingerbread Cream

EVENT: Bon Appetit Holiday Recipe Contest–Vote for the Mousse here!
DISH: Chocolate Mousse with Gingerbread Whipped Cream
PART OF THIS HOLIDAY MENU: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon; Inside-Out Ravioli Pasta

Last week, Phoebe and I got to discussing the strange and tragic dearth of chocolate around the holidays. Between the spices and the nuts, the fruited loaves and the Christmas cookies, I suppose there just isn’t room for it (though my Thanksgiving dessert spread, which features my sister’s rendition of Maida Heatter’s Chocolate Marquise with Coffee Cream, and the cake we eat on Christmas–the famous Rich Chocolate Celebration Cake–are happy exceptions). So rather than doing away with the deliciousness of pecan pie, pumpkin pudding, and apple tart for the sake of chocoholics we thought about how we might actually add the “good stuff” to our favorite seasonal desserts, creating a revolutionary new holiday-time paradigm.

I did once make a two layer chocolate and pumpkin tart which was delicious. But if you asked me off the top of my head what holiday dessert might be best suited to some chocolate-oriented tweaking, I’d answer very quickly: “gingerbread.”

I think that both gingerbread and gingersnaps can profit greatly from chocolate chips, icing, or coating, especially slightly creamy milk chocolate. The first time I experienced this ravishing taste sensation was when I made Alice Medrich’s fresh gingerbread with milk chocolate chunks from her book about holiday baking. After that, I was sold.

As I said, Phoebe and I were talking, and when she said “chocolate,” I said “gingerbread,” and then she said, “chocolate mousse” and then I said “with gingersnaps” and she said, “what about with gingersnap flavored whipped cream?” So that’s what I did: added the classic holiday spices to the white chocolate-sweetened whipped cream and piled it on top of rich, unapologetically chocolate-y mousse. A gingersnap on the side adds a fabulous crunch, and the dish successfully escorts chocolate head-first into the holiday kitchen.

From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,



Chocolate Mousse with Gingerbread Whipped Cream
Serves 8

For the mousse:

3.5 ounces dark chocolate (about 65%), chopped
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon molasses
1 egg yolk
3 egg whites
pinch salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl in the microwave for 20-second intervals, until just melted. Stir to smooth, then set aside until it reaches room temperature. (Or you can use a double boiler.)

Combine the milk and the butter in a small bowl and microwave until the butter is melted and the milk is just below boiling–watch carefully that the milk does not boil over. Stir well, then pour over the melted chocolate and stir gently with a fork or a whisk. Add the egg yolk and molasses and stir again until smooth.

Beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt on medium speed until they form soft peaks. Slowly, sprinkle in the sugar and continue to beat until the eggs hold the trail of the beaters and the peaks are somewhat firmer.

Pour about a third of the egg whites into the chocolate and stir to combine. Add the remaining whites and fold them in very carefully, keeping the mixture as fluffed up as possible. Pour the mousse into a trifle bowl or individual glass ramekins, or form it into a round on a serving platter.

Refrigerate at least an hour until set.

For the whipped cream:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2.5 ounces good-quality white chocolate (should contain cocoa butter; Green & Black is a good option), chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the white chocolate and 1/4 cup of cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 20-second intervals, until just melted. Stir with a fork to smooth. Add the spices and the vanilla, and set aside to come to room temperature, stirring it occasionally as it sits.

When ready to eat, pour the remaining cream into a mixing bowl. Beat until thickened and firm, then drizzle the spiced white chocolate mixture around the top of the cream. With a spatula, carefully fold it in. Heap the cream on top of the mousse, whether in individual portions or one large serving dish. Garnish with shaved chocolate and a half batch of these gingersnaps for crunch.

Posted in: Baking For Others
  • The Casual Baker

    Hot damn that looks tasty. Chocolate with spices is way under-appreciated! I hope this recipe wins some converts.

  • Unplanned Cooking

    This is dangerous. I actually have those ingredients in my pantry right now to make it. I'll be right back.

  • Kate

    Whoa! This sounds amazing. As a huge fan of frozen chocolate mousse cakes, I was wondering if this held up in the freezer, or was better left in the fridge.

  • Holly

    so i made the butternut squash mac n cheese (with a slight variation, added thyme) and it was a HUGE success. The entire casserole was gone within minutes! Thanks so much! With that said, I will definitely try this chocolate mousse recipe.. it just looks so sinfully delicious!

  • Phoebe and Cara, The Quarter-Life Cooks

    Holly–So glad you and your dinner guests enjoyed the butternut squash mac! I had some skeptics at my table fearing it would be too sweet, but I really think the squash is a nice surprise in there, especially if you use a really sharp white cheddar as part of the base. I will definitely try this again using thyme–thanks for the rec!

  • Katherine

    I agree! Luckily my grandmother always made sure chocolate was a big part of our holidays. The most traditional way is a bouche de noel or 'christmas log' which is often decorated with little marzipan mushrooms and other woodland decorations.

    This mousse looks amazing too! I'll have to try it.

  • Foodie

    If I am having a dinner party, can this mousse be made in advance??

  • Foodie

    If I am having a dinner party, can this mousse be made in advance??

    • BGSK

      Yes, absolutely. I’d probably recommend doing it in individual bowls then. Simply scoop the mouse in, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Keep the cream separate and dollop some on at the end.

      • Foodie

        thanks! silly question but does it make a difference if it is saran wrap or tin foil?

  • Mscook09

    Hi! How far in advance can I make the whipped cream?  I’d like to make it in the morning and then serve it later at night.  Thank you!

    • BGSK

      You can make it the morning of, but some of it will probably settle at the bottom. You should still have plenty that’s fluffy and whipped though!

  • Mscook09

    Hi! How far in advance can I make the whipped cream?  I’d like to make it in the morning and then serve it later at night.  Thank you!

  • Amanda4065

    I made this and it is DELICIOUS!! I served the mousse in coffee mugs since I didn’t have smaller bowls.  Although when served in mugs, it only yielded 2 very LARGE servings, my boyfriend and I devoured them in what seemed to be under 5 minutes!  Love this recipe!

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