The Rich Secrets To Ina Garten's Chocolate Mousse

Ina Garten knows a thing or two about making a rich chocolate dessert — just take her twist on chocolate buttercream and her elevated chocolate cake, for example. So, when it comes to her mousse recipe, the Barefoot Contessa is able to take a light, fluffy dessert and turn it into a rich, delicious masterpiece. How does she do it? With the help of a few extra ingredients that deepen the chocolate flavor and give the dish a little kick.

Called Garten's Easy Chocolate Mousse, the recipe includes two different types of chocolate: bittersweet and milk. She suggests the brand Lindt, but any option will work here. While some recipes for chocolate mousse (like Alton Brown's) only include two ingredients, chocolate and eggs, Garten's also incorporates sugar, cold heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Then she adds brewed espresso or strong coffee, which deepens and enhances the chocolate taste without adding an overpowering jolt of java. Likewise, the ingredient list includes ¼ cup of the coffee liqueur Kahlua, which subtly accentuates the chocolate and gives the mousse a little kick. Garten herself loves making it for intimate occasions when "only a totally decadent chocolate dessert will do," she said in an Instagram post. "It's a sweet way to end a very special dinner."

How to whip up Ina Garten's rich dessert

If you've never made mousse before, don't be intimidated by the richness or fluffiness of the dessert. The word "easy" is in the title of Garten's recipe, after all, and she rates it as beginner level. Plus, if you're nervous about whipping it up at the last minute, the chef notes that it can be prepared in advance so it's waiting in the wings ready to serve when you need it.

The key here is to throw everything in an electric mixer. First you'll need to heat the chocolate and espresso over the stove so it all melts together, then whisk in the Kahlua, vanilla, and egg yolks. The egg whites, cream, and sugar, however, get beaten in a separate bowl. Everything eventually gets folded together and goes in the fridge to chill, which can be done overnight, in the case that you're making the dessert ahead of time. To top off an already rich dessert, the Barefoot Contessa includes a recipe for a sweetened whipped cream, made with cold heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract.