As of late, when I see pregnant women walking down the street—you know the ones that look like they could give birth any day now—I get scared for them. All the pain! All the agonizing pain! The other day I was at the salon and telling this woman about my new observation and she told me giving birth feels like your hips are breaking. Whaaaaa? Hips breaking? No thank you! Suuuure, you get a pint-size pile of cuteness that I’m sure makes it all seem worth it, but man, can we talk about the pain again?
The idea of one day having a child growing inside me kinda blows my mind. Seriously. Like having this thing just growing and growing inside me. It’s a bit alien-esque, if you ask me. And it’s like so reliant on you. It’s kinda selfless…yep, women are selflesss, especially when it comes to this. I know we don’t’ have much of a choice, but seriously, we’re selfless.
Another thing I’m not ready to deal with? Giving things up: coffee, sushi, wine (the thought of it now just made my lip quiver), and chocolate mousse. I plan on kindly reminding my future child, when they’re throwing a fit that I won’t give them a cell phone at the ripe age of 4 (I imagine that by the time I have a child, kids will be asking for cell phones upon entering the world), of all the things I gave up; specifically this Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse.
This isn’t your 1992-Sizzler, ubiquitous chocolate mousse. Nope. This stuff is different—it’s sophisticated. It has an air about it. I mean, if I were salted caramel, I’d have an air about me too. Wouldn’t you? The stuff is sexy, in like a Jackie-O type of way. The hint of saltiness with the gooeyness of the caramel, and bitterness from the dark chocolate all play against each other so well. And since it’s mousse, that means it’s light, fluffy and airy with a surprise thickness due to the caramel. It’s quite lovely. And much easier than your typical chocolate mousse. Meaning, it doesn’t require seven bowls and moments of utter panic. It’s simply perfect.
And say, you’re reading this and you happen to be pregnant, I say skip folding in the egg whites. You’ll have an awesome pudding-esque caramel, chocolate concoction on your hands. I think you should do it, you know, to celebrate your selflessness and stuff.
Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse
Yields 6 servings
This recipe was originally made with milk chocolate, but after a little consideration I decided a more complex, bitter chocolate would be great to off-set the sweetness of the caramel and saltiness added by, well, the salt. And I think I nailed it.
½ cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 ½ tablespoons good-quality salted butter, room temperature (I used unsalted and then added 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt)
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
3 eggs, separated.
Combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Do not stir. Cook over medium-high heat to a dark caramel, swirling as it begins to brown to distribute the sugar. While the sugar and water are going at it, heat up the cream in a saucepan or microwave just until warm.
Take off the heat and deglaze and add your room temperature butter. Add your warmed cream and whisk vigorously. Add the chocolate, wait for a minute or two for it to melt and mix until smooth. I was a little nervous about adding the egg yolks to the hot chocolate mixture so I waited a few minutes for it to cool. Then I added a little bit of warm chocolate to the egg yolks and stirred it around a bit just to bring the eggs to a warmer temperature and then added them to the chocolate mixture. Mix in the egg yolks.
Whisk the egg whites until they form firm peaks and then fold into the chocolate mixture. Top with cracked salt and then divide between 6 4-ounce ramekins and chill for at least 6 hours.