Smoked Chocolate Mousse
Gently smoking chocolate is amazing. The fat in the chocolate is receptive to whatever you’re using for smoking – I’ve used cherrywood, applewood, hickory, and rosemary in the past. The trick is maintaining those wonderful smoky notes when you take the next step. I haven’t had much luck using smoked chocolate in cakes and cookies, but when you use it in more direct (and concentrated) desserts like pudding and this chocolate mousse, it can be a delightfully surprising game-changer.
How We Got Here
The road to this chocolate mousse recipe wasn’t linear. On a whim, I decided to smoke chocolate in my donabe & it blew my mind. I smoke all sorts of things in the ibushi gin (smoker donabe) – tomatoes, veg, nuts, hardboiled eggs, tofu, etc. But the first time I tried smoking chocolate was this summer. I used Guittard 72% (because I almost always buy Guittard) and the chocolate ended up tasting subtly smoked but also like dark caramel was threaded in. I was blown away. My first idea was to use it in basic molten chocolate baby cakes, but that was a big fail. The flavor just baked out.
Around the same time, I was chatting with Amy Guittard, telling her what I was doing & she asked me to be part of a holiday promo campaign along with Sylvie from Just Date (who I’m also a big fan of from my San Francisco days). So here we are. I started thinking about where the smoked chocolate might really shine. I ended up developing this smoked chocolate mousse recipe & love, love, love it. You can see the smoker in action here. The chocolate mousse ended up being a great vehicle, but I can also imagine chocolate frosting, a thick hot chocolate drink, or maybe a smoked chocolate fondue working beautifully as well. I used Guittard 72% Sante Dark Chocolate Chips made with coconut sugar and Just Date organic date sugar. If needed, you can substitute another chocolate (shoot for 60% – 80% cacao), and granulated cane sugar will also work.
If you don’t have access to a stovetop smoker, no problem, an unsmoked version has long been a family favorite. This is the stovetop smoker donabe (ibushi gin) I use: The main thing to be considerate of is strength. You’re much better off under-smoking ingredients versus overdoing it. Taking good notes has been helpful. As I experiment I make note of what is being smoked, the wood source, timing and “notes to self” for next time.
Make-ahead Chocolate Mousse
This is the perfect make-ahead dessert, and it’s best when you make it a day ahead of time. It’s the perfect dessert for holidays or when you’re having friends over. You need time for the mousse to set and can do everything in the days before serving. Serve straight from the refrigerator.
Lastly, as noted below, this recipe does feature raw egg* The standard disclaimer recommends children, pregnant women, the elderly, and anyone with an immune system disorder should avoid eating uncooked egg because of salmonella risk.