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French Chocolate Mousse in a white ceramic cup topped with mint and a fresh raspberry

Julia Child’s French Chocolate Mousse Recipe

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Julia Child’s French Chocolate Mousse Recipe was the winner of a blind taste testing. Silky smooth and delicious, it was voted the best chocolate mousse among my friends.

This Mousseline au Chocolat may take a few bowls to make, but the luscious results are worth the extra cleanup! Learn how to make chocolate mousse like the French!

Mousseline au chocolate in white ramekins on a white tray

Chocolate Mousse

I planned a Mousse-a-Palooza gathering for some friends a week ago. We taste-tested and compared 4 different types of chocolate mousse…one classic with raw egg, one with no eggs, one with marshmallows, and one made in the blender. I promised Nick I would have this Chocolate Mousse Challenge before he headed off to college for the start of his sophomore year. Nothing worse, in his mind, than reading about my chocolate mousses on Facebook when he had just moved into his first apartment, eating boxed mac and cheese and pb sandwiches (that’s the extent of his cooking repertoire as far as I’ve witnessed).

French chocolate mousse in a white bowl topped with a raspberry and mint

Julia Child’s Mousseline au Chocolat and the Competitors

I knew what ingredients were imperative for my favorite chocolate mousse. But would my friends and family be in agreement? When I hound my family for a recipe critique, asking the tough questions like, “Are these chocolate chip cookies better than my usual recipe?” I always get the same response; they want to try both side by side. Personally, I think it’s a ploy for more cookie baking, but I can understand that a true comparison of recipes needs a serious taste test.

I gathered the Skinny Chick tasting team. They were up for the challenge. Here are the 4 mousse recipes and our critiques:

  • Julia Child’s Mousseline au Chocolate: fluffier, lighter, smooth, sweeter, what you’d eat at a fine restaurant, like French silk pie (recipe below)
  • Alton Brown’s egg free chocolate mousse: airy, dense chocolate flavor, intense, more authentic, coffee addition more pronounced.
  • Blender Chocolate Mousse: like pudding, not as sweet, tasted like Angelina’s (Parisian) hot chocolate when freshly made, smooth, syrupy (note: this was sampled before fully chilled).
  • Nigella’s Instant Chocolate Mousse: least chocolaty, grainy before cool, can taste marshmallows, too sweet (note: this one was also sampled before fully chilled).
2 white ramekins of chocolate mousse with one spoonful removed

Tips for a Chocolate Mousse Tasting:

I tried to even the playing field by only using coffee, coffee liqueur, and/or vanilla as flavorings.  Julia Child’s mousse called for Grand Marnier,  an orange liqueur,  so I replaced that with Kahlua. I also used semi-sweet chocolate for each recipe, even if the recipe called for bittersweet.

Julia’s and Alton’s were the clear favorites with the Classic French Mousse au Chocolat edging out Alton’s egg-free version by a hair. Those two were made ahead of time and served fully chilled.  All were enjoyed, and the two quick versions were much more palatable, and given more favorable reviews,  after a brief time in the fridge. Nigella’s had an obvious marshmallow taste according to my testers and came in fourth place, but the family and teenage friends who sampled had no complaints.

What is a mousse?

The word mousse is French for froth or foam, reflecting the lightness of these desserts. Chocolate mousse does not require any thickeners since the chocolate provides the needed firmness after it cools. Other mousse recipes, like my Strawberry Mousse, utilize gelatin to give the mousse some structure. Note that there can be both sweet and savory mousses, though my family would be trepidatious if I served up a salmon mousse!

3 cups of chocolate mousse on a silver tray with two spoons

How to Make the Best Chocolate Mousse

  • Quality really makes a huge difference, so first of all, use a decent brand of chocolate. It will make a world of difference. Chocolate chips are OK in a pinch, but they don’t always melt smoothly, so check out other options. Ghirardelli bars are one of the more affordable options.
  • Note that the egg yolks will be heated but the egg whites will be incorporated uncooked. To play it safe, look for some pasteurized eggs if you’re serving this to anyone very young, elderly, pregnant or with health concerns. Salmonella, a foodborne bacteria, is occasionally found in raw eggs.
  • The egg whites need to be whipped to stiff peaks. These will add lightness to the mousse while the yolks add the silkiness. PRO-Tip: Egg whites will not beat up into billowy stiff peaks if they’re exposed to even one speck of fat. So it’s imperative that the mixing bowl and beaters are free from grease, and that no egg yolk has contaminated the egg whites.
  • PRO-Tip: Egg whites whip best at room temperature, so you may want to set your bowl of collected whites into a larger bowl of warm water, just deep enough to come partway up the bowl, to speed up the process. The water should not be boiling as you don’t want to cook the eggs.
  • To make sure that a yolk does not break and fall into your bowl of whites, try using an egg separator. Plus, separate the eggs while they are cold, to minimize the chance of the yolks breaking. PRO-Tip: But to be 100% safe, use 3 bowls during the separation process. One will be for the whites when separating and one for the yolks. After each of the whites is separated, dump them the third collection bowl for all the whites. I recently made an angel food cake that called for 12 egg whites, so this technique was imperative!
  • If you haven’t had to fold a light component of a recipe into a heavier component, I’ll explain. If you just mix together the whipped egg whites and the rich chocolate mixture, the whites will deflate. So when it comes time to fold, put the lighter ingredient on top of the heavier ingredient, and with a rubber spatula, make circular motions through the middle of the bowl, up along the sides and “fold” the mound of what’s on your spatula over and into the bowl. Rotate your bowl about 90 degrees and repeat. Do this over and over until the mixture is homogeneous.
  • To store your mousse, cover it with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated up to 5 days. It can also be frozen up to 2 months.

More Delicious Mousse Recipes

Check out these other mouth-watering recipes for mousse and desserts incorporating chocolate mousse:

This recipe was first shared in August 2013. Photos and text were updated in 2020.

French chocolate mousse in a white bowl topped with a raspberry and mint

Mousseline au Chocolat

Julia Child's French Chocolate Mousse

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, separated*
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup coffee liqueur (I used Kahlua)
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream and berries, optional for serving

Instructions

  1. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture is thick, pale yellow ribbon (will take a few minutes). Beat in the coffee liqueur.
  2. Set the mixing bowl over a not-quite-simmering pot of water and continue beating for 3-4 minutes..
  3. Then place the bowl over cold water and beat for another 3-4 minutes until the mixture is cool and thick like mayonnaise.
  4. Combine the chocolate and coffee in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave and stir at 30 second intervals till smooth and melted.
  5. Whisk in the butter, a little at a time until smooth and creamy.
  6. Beat the chocolate into the egg yolks and sugar mixture. Set aside.
  7. Beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Stir a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the rest carefully till most of the egg whites are incorporated. Turn into a serving dish or dessert cups.
  8. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve with berries and whipped cream if desired.

Notes

* Note that eggs will separate best when cold, but egg whites whip best at room temperature.

Use pasteurized eggs if serving to the very young, elderly or immune suppressed. There is always the risk of salmonella when eating raw or undercooked eggs.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 541Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 186mgSodium: 77mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 3gSugar: 48gProtein: 6g

HOW MUCH DID YOU LOVE THIS RECIPE?

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A huge thank you to my mousse taste testers: Cathy, Sue, Terry, Beth, Shelli, Ellen, and Gini!

Mousse_Testers
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