I’m on a chocolate kick lately. (Well, usually, TBH). And I’ve now made this airy dark chocolate mousse several times – not just because it’s super easy to make it vegan. It’s also just super easy to make in general and doesn’t require eggs or cream. So, it’s basically pantry chocolate mousse, which means I don’t have to go to the store and can make a super decadent dessert on a whim! Huzzah!
How is that possible, you wonder? Well, the magic of aquafaba (AKA the liquid from a can of chickpeas, but that doesn’t sound as fancy). For sciencey reasons, aquafaba works like egg whites in baking – you can whip it with sugar to make a nice, fluffy merengue. Then you fold in your chocolate, and voila! Mousse!
All you have to do to make this mousse vegan is buy vegan dark chocolate. But if you don’t care about that and just want an easy, rich, dark chocolate mousse – then use whatever chocolate you have on hand. Semisweet chocolate chips work just fine. Milk chocolate chips will likely throw off the chemistry, though. So stick with semisweet (i.e. 60%) or darker.
The mousse is in the dark chocolate end of the spectrum, which suits me just fine! But I won’t be making it for my dad. So if you’ve got milk chocolate die hards in your life, this recipe won’t be for them.
The recipe below is mildly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen (basically doubled and more clearly explained). It can be halved to make four small-ish servings. In the version below, it will make between 6-8 cups of mousse.
Ingredients are listed in the order they appear in the recipe and anything that requires prep is in bold. Ingredients are bolded in the directions when you first encounter them, and the quantity required is included. Time estimates are bolded and italicized. I also include notes about any special equipment you’ll need.
Easy Airy Chocolate Mousse
Required equipment: a stand mixer or electric hand mixer. Half pint jars or ramekins or small bowls to hold the mousse. A large microwave-safe bowl to melt the chocolate OR you can just do that on the stove.
- ½ cup (100g) vegetable oil
- 3 ounces (85g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup (45g) dutch process cocoa powder (regular cocoa is okay, too, it’s just not as rich)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (220g) aquafaba (i.e. the liquid from roughly 1½ cans of chickpeas)
- ⅔ cup (135g) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
Note: apparently the aquafaba from Progresso-brand chickpeas won’t whip as well, nor will trying to use the liquid from home-cooked chickpeas.
Prep work: chop the chocolate.
In a large, microwave-safe bowl, microwave ½ cup (100g) vegetable oil and 3 ounces (85g) chocolate in 30-second bursts until chocolate is melted (60-90 seconds). [You’ll be making the mousse in this bowl, so it needs to be big enough to hold 8 cups with room for mixing. If you don’t have a big enough one, you can: a) melt the chocolate in a smaller bowl then dump it in a bigger one, or b) melt it on the stove and then pour it into a bigger bowl.] Whisk the chocolate and oil mixture to combine until smooth. Then, add ½ cup (45g) dutch process cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon vanilla and whisk until very smooth. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, combine 1 cup (220g) aquafaba, ⅔ cup (135g) sugar, and ½ teaspoon cream of tartar. Whip on medium-high speed until mixture is slightly glossy and soft peaks form (4 to 7 minutes). You can also do this with an electric mixer, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it by hand unless you really, really want a work out.
Once you’ve got an airy bowl of fluff, whisk one-third of the aquafaba mixture into the chocolate mixture until fully combined. (This will loosen the mixture up and make it easier to fold the rest of the aquafaba in without loosing the air). Using a silicone spatula, gently fold in the remaining aquafaba mixture. Be sure to scrape up any chocolate from bottom of bowl. Continue gently folding until no streaks remain.
Spoon mousse into 6 ramekins or half pint jars (can be split into 8 servings if you want to add whip cream). Cover and refrigerate until set, 3 to 4 hours.
Mousse can be refrigerated for up to three or four days, but serving within 24 hours is ideal. (Honestly, I had leftover mousse in the fridge for a week, and it was still good. But I’m not gonna endorse that as a practice!)