Here in New Mexico we had our first really sunny, warm weekend of the year. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it an early spring, but my oh my! Today was a teaser!
The family decided to take a stroll through the bosque (pronunciation here) at Rio Grande State Park. When I first arrived in New Mexico I had no idea what a bosque was. “Bosque” is derived from the Spanish word for “woodlands.” It is defined as the areas of forest and clumps of trees found along the flood plains of a stream or river bank in the southwestern United States.
We walked along the river. At first the trees and grasses on the bosque seem dry, drab and lifeless–not ready to emerge for spring yet. But on closer look I was amazed at the color and beauty I could find.
Click on the images to get the full impact of color!
Hungry from our wanderings, we had an early supper. I decided now is the time for a quick and easy Dark Chocolate Mousse for February.
Renegade cook that I am, with only one mousse under my belt so far this year, I decided to create my own adaptation combining several ideas I had found. While January’s mousse was very rich and thick, my February mousse was very light yet very chocolaty!
This mousse literally took only about 10 minutes to make.
Easy to Make, Easy on the Waistline Dark Chocolate Mousse
- 4 egg whites
- 130 grams 70% dark chocolate pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
- Strawberries and black raspberries (or any available berries)
Beat the egg whites in a very clean, dry bowl until they make stiff peaks. You can test if they’re beaten enough by turning the bowl upside down and finding they don’t fall out. This is a courageous thing to do if you’re not sure you’ve beaten the egg whites enough but I know you can handle it.
Put a bowl or pan over a pot of simmering water. Don’t let the top bowl/pan touch the water below. Chocolate doesn’t like to be treated harshly. Put your chocolate pieces in the upper bowl and stir as it melts. It will become really smooth and shiny when it’s done and it will be stinky and ruined if you burn it so don’t run off do to something else while your chocolate melts.
Remove the melted chocolate and let it cool down a little so that when you add it to your egg whites the whites don’t curdle. Just add a little chocolate into the whites and fold them in. Let the egg white and chocolate get used to each other before you put all the chocolate in. Folding is easy to do with a spatula. Cut down the center of the whites with the edge of the spatula and fold the mixture over. Turn the bowl and repeat. You want to keep the air in the beaten egg whites as much as possible.
When the chocolate and egg whites are combined, add some cinnamon. You won’t taste cinnamon, but it will brighten the chocolate flavor. Add the orange liqueur and you’re ready to assemble a lovely dessert.
I chilled my glasses for this and put black raspberries and strawberry halves in the bottom. In went the mousse and then more berries on top.
Voila! A very chocolaty flavor in a very light mousse. No added sugar, no cream, no butter, no egg yolks. It was delicious and it is already gone!