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Please allow me to share with you a classic chef's trick for coming up with perfect last-minute treats: Start with your tried-and-true recipes, ones on which you know you can rely, and add a little trick or two.
That's the spirit behind my recipe for Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse with Chocolate Cookie Wings. It takes a pair of very basic, sure-to-be-delicious recipes, introduces a few little creative presentation twists, and results in a perfect dessert.
The main components of the preparation are two very basic recipes indeed: a simple cookie dough turned dark brown with the addition of a little cocoa powder; and a simple chocolate mousse made from just two ingredients, melted bittersweet chocolate and whipped heavy cream. Both of those elements, needless to say, rely on using good ingredients to give them an intense chocolate flavor. So look for the best-quality cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate you can find. Use a cocoa powder brand that's labeled as having been "Dutch processed," a treatment that neutralizes its natural acidity so it won't react with the baking powder in the dough; you'll find many gourmet brands that are good, but the widely available Hershey's unsweetened cocoa powder for baking is also good and reliable. As for the chocolate, you'll find many good choices today, from European imports like Valrhona or Lindt to domestic quality options like Scharffen Berger to a wide variety of small boutique products.
As for the touches of creativity, those come in forming the mousse and round cookies, which you'll coat with a shiny chocolate glaze. Each body gets two cookie wings, shaped from a template you can draw freehand on cardboard and cut out.
It's as simple as that.
Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse With Chocolate Cookie Wings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: Serves 6 Plus 2 Dozen Cookies
Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse With Chocolate Cookie Wings Recipe Ingredients
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Chocolate Cookie Dough
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large cage-free egg
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse With Chocolate Cookie Wings Recipe Directions
To bake the dough, position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Dust a work surface with flour. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Put the dough on the work surface and dust with flour. With a rolling pin, roll the dough back and forth 3 times; then move it around to prevent sticking and dust with a little more flour. Continue rolling, moving, and flouring until evenly 1/2 inch thick. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out 6 circles. Using a cardboard template you've drawn and cut out with scissors, and the tip of a small, sharp knife, cut out 12 bat-wing shapes. As necessary, gather up scraps and re-roll. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
For the mousse, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup cream to a boil. Pour over the chocolate. Leave for 1 minute to melt; then, whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, whip the remaining cream until it forms soft peaks when the beaters are lifted out. Fold into the cooled chocolate mixture. Spoon this mousse into 6 individual dome-shaped molds or small bowls, each 3 to 3-1/2 inches in diameter. With a metal spatula, smooth the mousse even with the rims and top each with one round cookie. Freeze for at least 4 hours.
For the glaze, put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof mixing bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
Unmold the mousses onto a wire rack, dipping the molds briefly into hot water to loosen. Place the rack on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Spoon the glaze over each mousse and stick two cookie wings on opposite sides. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to two days.
Chocolate Cookie Dough
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Put the butter in a large mixing bowl and, with a rubber spatula, stir until smooth and softened. Add the sugar and continue stirring until the mixture resembles light yellow mashed potatoes, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg and beat until well-blended. Add the vanilla. Add the sifted flour mixture and continue beating until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
On low speed, beat in the cocoa powder until evenly blended. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or as overnight.
Dessert Recipe, French Cuisine
Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse with Chocolate Cookie Wings - Wolfgang Puck
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