This simple and delicious chocolate mousse recipe is one every gluten-free cook needs to have on file, especially for the holidays. With full ovens and extra gluten-free prep work, I thought I’d come up with a decadent, nearly no-oven-needed, make ahead dessert that will ease your mind and still be a treat your guests will remember.
Though I found the inspiration for this recipe in Cooking Light, I ended up rewriting the recipe to make it free of refined sugar. Unsweetened baking chocolate didn’t cut the mark here, so I reluctantly used unsweetened cocoa powder. The result was a surprisingly rich and creamy chocolate flavor. I wanted to add some tiny ‘chocolate’ bits in the mousse for visual and textural interest. Since regular sugary chocolate is out, I used a handful of carob chips and used my rotary cheese grater to get them into small pieces. If you’d rather use chocolate, it would work beautifully.
I love the texture contrast of the light creamy mousse and the crunchy, toasted coconut and pecans. When I serve this, I’ll pass bowls of toasted coconut and pecans for those that want extra mix-ins. I’m guilty of eating the topping off of my dessert and going back to get more. It’s the best part.
In case you don’t know how to toast pecans or coconut flakes, it’s simple. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. You’ll need to put them on two different baking sheets or toast them separately. The pecans will take 5 – 8 minutes. I taste them to see if they’re done. You’re looking for a deeper, rich pecan flavor. The coconut will only take a minute or three – you’ll be able to see it turn golden brown on the edges. Take it out then. Remember, both will continue to cook slightly as they cool.
Today is Holiday Food Fest! It’s hosted by Jessica at Life As Mom. Stop by to find more great holiday dessert ideas or add your own. She has a great give-away – an apron from D-Lux 57, which was featured on Desperate Housewives. Or, you can buy one yourself and get 10% off and free shipping! Coupon code: lifeasmom
What holiday desserts are you whipping up?
- 3/4 cup 1% milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon instant decaffeinated coffee
- 1/4 cup organic agave
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 handful of carob or chocolate chips, or to taste
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans
- 4 toasted pecan halves for garnish
- 1/2 cup toasted organic coconut flakes
- Place a stainless steel bowl and stainless steel stand mixer whisk attachment or metal beaters in the freezer.
- Place milk, unflavored gelatin, vanilla, and instant coffee in a medium saucepan and mix well. Let sit for five minutes to soften gelatin. Place uncovered over medium low heat and stir in agave. Once mixture begins to heat up, add cocoa powder and stir until combined. Let mixture heat until it nearly boils, about 180 degrees. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until cool and thickened. Don’t chill too long or it will be too thick to incorporate whipped cream.
- While chocolate mixture is chilling, place heavy whipping into chilled bowl. Whip on medium high using a stand mixer or hand held mixer until stiff peaks form. You can test this by lifting up the beater – if the cream forms a peak and the peak doesn’t fall over then you’ve reached the stiff peak stage. Be careful not to over beat your cream. Cover and chill until chocolate mixture is ready.
- Take 1/4 of the whipped cream and stir it right into the chocolate mix. This will lighten the mix enough to accept the remaining cream without deflating it. Fold the remaining cream into the chocolate in two or three additions, adding more when the previous addition has started to incorporate. Once you add the last addition of cream, grate the carob or chocolate chips directly over the mousse with a rotary cheese grater then continue folding. Resist the temptation to stir. Just keep folding until your mousse is nearly homogeneous. Cover and chill overnight.
- Crush the toasted pecans and coconut with your fingers. Spoon mounds of chocolate mousse into 4 beautiful, stemmed dessert dishes and top with a sprinkling of pecans and coconuts. Place a toasted pecan half on top of each as final garnish. Serve with bowls of the remaining toasted pecans and coconut for those guests that are feeling particularly gluttonous.