I'm definitely a food snob of sorts. I've been known to get all uppity about faux this and that, things masquerading as other things. Margarine. Tofurkey. Miracle Whip. Why bother? (In truth, I once loved Miracle Whip on a tomato sandwich.) But sometimes a recipe comes along that totally changes the game. This decadent and velvety smooth chocolate mousse is one of them. I was very skeptical the first time I made this because, of all things, it's vegan. That's right--no eggs and no cream. It's also suspiciously easy, requiring absolutely no whipping or fussing. Subsequently I've discovered other vegan chocolate mousse recipes--with avocado, with coconut milk--but after a bit of experimentation, I arrived at this one as my definitive favorite. It combines a good quality chile-infused Mexican chocolate with silken tofu and a hit of Kalhua. You melt the chocolate in a double boiler, whizz it in a blender with the remaining few ingredients and chill it for a few hours. I think you'll be astonished by the results which, incidentally, are relatively low in calories and fat. I like to serve this mousse with a topping of candied pumpkin seeds. It's a nice textural counterpoint, but you could also try a little chopped candied ginger, some toasted almonds or a spoonful of crème fraîche (throwing vegan caution to the wind).
VEGAN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
1/2 cup organic chocolate soy milk
10 ounces top quality chile-infused Mexican chocolate (or any good quality semi- or bittersweet chocolate), shaved or finely chopped
12 ounces silken tofu
2 tablespoons Kahlua
1/4 teaspoon almond extract, optional
In a small saucepan, bring the chocolate milk to a simmer. Cool while you melt the chocolate in a double boiler. (If you don't have one, just use a metal or glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water.) Remove from heat.
Combine the soy milk, silken tofu, melted chocolate, Kahlua, almond extract, if using, and a generous pinch of sea salt in a blender and puree until completely smooth. (An immersion blender also works here.) Taste and adjust for flavor, as needed.
Chill in one large bowl or 6 ramekins for at least 2 hours or overnight. The mousse sets up perfectly as it cools.
CANDIED PUMPKIN SEEDS
makes 1/2 cup
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon rapadura sugar
generous pinch each of ground cinnamon, cardamom and ginger
1 teaspoon honey
Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and sugar, then sprinkle the spices and a healthy pinch of salt over them. Toss the pumpkin seeds to coat them well with the butter, and cook a few minutes, until just after they begin to pop and color slightly.
Turn off the heat and wait 30 seconds. Add the honey, tossing well to coat the pumpkin seeds. Spread on a plate and let them cool completely before breaking apart.