You had me at Dark Chocolate Mousse… Alison is back with the perfect holiday treat! —Meg
Peppermint and chocolate are a match made in dessert heaven. During the winter months, it is ironic how often we gravitate towards the nostalgic flavors of cooling peppermint, especially when paired with chocolate — think, peppermint hot chocolate on a blistery day or candy canes hung on the fir tree. If you are looking for a recipe that combines the lusciousness of dark chocolate and the refreshing taste of mint, than you must try my recipe for a Dark Chocolate Mousse Tart with Peppermint Crème. The rich chocolate mousse is airy and perfectly rich while the crust and crème topping infused with peppermint extract provides an invigorating finish to the dessert.
You might think that is is daunting to take on a three part dessert, but each one of these steps is so easy — before you know it you will be making these tarts again. However, if you are strapped for time, you can omit the step of making your own shortbread cookies and buy Nabisco Chocolate Wafers and just skip to the crust assembly instructions below.
Special Equipment Needed:
Tart Tins (various sizes depending on the size that you want)
Cocoa Peppermint Shortbread Cookie Crust
Makes about 20 cookies
For the Cookies:
1 1/2 Cups Flour
3/4 Cup Cocoa Powder, Unsweetened (I used Ghiradelli)
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Baking Soda
12 Tbsp Unsalted Softened Butter, plus 3 Tbsp Melted Butter(to be used for crust assembly)
3 Tbsp Almond Milk (Regular milk also works)
1 Tsp Pure Peppermint Extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking soda, 12 tablespoons softened butter, milk and peppermint extract in the food processor and pulse until the mixture is combined. This should take about 3 to five minutes depending on the strength of your machine. When combined, place dough onto plastic wrap and form into one long log, which will allow you to cut dough into thin slices once the log has been chilled. Chill the log for up to 1 hour. Once chilled, cut the dough into thin slices using a sharp knife. Place in oven and cook for 12 to 15 minutes until cookies are done – the key here is to ensure that the cookies are not too soft, as they will not work properly when making the crust. When done place cookies on rack to cool completely. These cookies can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container.
(recipe adapted from the Smitten Kitchen’s Icebox Cookies)
For Crust Assembly:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cookies in food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles sand. Slowly stream the 3 tablespoons melted butter into the mixture and continue to pulse until mixture is combined and you can a squeeze a small amount in your hand and it stays together. Place crust mixture into tart pan size of your choice. This will make either one large tart or about 12 to 15 small tarts. Press dough firmly into the pan using the back of a spoon. Bake for 10 minutes or until the tart shell is set. Allow to cool.
Dark Chocolate Mousse Filling
1/2 Cup Water
4 Large Egg Whites
3/4 Cups Sugar
10 Ounces Semisweet Chocolate Chips
3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
Fill sauce pot with water and allow to come to a simmer. Place eggs whites and sugar into a heat-proof bowl and place over simmering water. Whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves into the egg whites and the mixture becomes warm. Remove from heat. Using a hand mixer, beat egg whites and sugar on medium speed until the mixture has cooled and nearly tripled in size and forms stiff peaks, about 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside.
Place chocolate chips and butter in a bowl over the same simmering pot of water. Stir until the chocolate and butter melt. Remove from stove and set aside.
Place 2 cups heavy cream in another bowl and beat with mixer until medium peaks form.
Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture until combined. Next, fold whipped cream into the mixture.
Scoop the mousse into the tart shells and place in refrigerator allowing to chill for at least one hour.
2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
7 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Teaspoons Pure Peppermint Extract
Chocolate Shavings, for Garnish
Fresh Mint Leaves, for Garnish
Combine whipping cream, sugar and peppermint extract until medium peaks form.
Place peppermint whipped cream on top of chilled mousse. Garnish with chocolate shavings and fresh mint leaves if desired. Chill until ready to serve.
(recipe adapted from Bon Appetit’s Mile-High Chocolate Pie)
*Photographs by Alison