Sunday, January 23, 2011

Delectable Do-Ahead Desserts: Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse Cups

            When I plan dinner parties, I often first decide what dessert (or desserts!) I want to make, and then think about what kind of entrée and side dishes could go with it. I love dessert, and enjoy having several at any dinner party I host. After all, it’s really fun to be able to sample several sweet treats at the end of a meal.
            I’m also really keen on no-stress meals. Who wants to be frantically running around the kitchen making last-minute food preparations when your company is at the dinner table relaxing?!! I like doing whatever I can in advance. That includes making desserts ahead of time.
            Two of my favorite do-ahead desserts are chocolate mousse and raspberry mousse in individual chocolate dessert or cordial cups. Anyone who’s been to our home in recent years has probably been served these mousse cups at least once. These mousse cups are simple, but elegant-looking. I’ve been told by my guests that they’re tasty too.
            What’s great about them is you can make them up a couple weeks or several months before you serve them, and store them in the freezer. Then all you need to do is take the mousse cups out of the freezer about an hour before you want to serve them, and sit them out at room temperature. Usually I’ll do this when we start the main entrée. By the time guests are finished eating that, the dessert cups have been thawed. You would never be able to tell that they were prepared several weeks or months earlier.
            I’ll give you the instructions here, in case you want to try to make these mousse cups for yourself.

Making the Chocolate Dessert Cups
            The first step is to make the chocolate cups. I have a huge selection of chocolate dessert cup molds, which I have collected over the years. You can sometimes find these molds at craft shops. If you can’t find them there, I suggest going online and getting them from
   carries a large variety of chocolate cups and candy molds. My favorite are made by CK Products. One of theirs that I recommend is the “Assorted Dessert Cups mold” (item number 90-5630). This is a plastic sheet with four individual dessert molds on it: an oval, triangle, diamond and circle. It will last many years with good care. Each sheet costs around $2. This company also makes molds for individually-sized round fluted and cordial cups. They’re all good for filling mousse.
            To make the chocolate molds, you will need to coat them with chocolate. I usually use either Wilton “Candy Melts” candy coating wafers, or one of the brands of chocolate disks available at craft stores such as Hobby Lobby. You can choose from white, dark or milk chocolate candy melts. I like all three, and usually I’ll make all three types of chocolate cups—just to have the variety. Melt the chocolate disks in the microwave in a small glass or plastic bowl, for one minute. Stir, then melt for 15 to 30 second intervals until the chocolate is just melted (you don’t want it to burn!).
            Use a small paint brush, and “paint” a layer of chocolate on the inside of each mold. After the mold cavities are all painted, lightly tap the mold to get out any air bubbles. Then put the mold in the freezer for a 2-3 minutes. When the chocolate is hard, take out the mold and pop out each chocolate cup. Now you are ready to fill them.
            I have two favorite mousse recipes, which I use to fill my mousse cups. Here they are:

Super-Creamy Chocolate Mousse

8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups superfine granulated sugar (or “Baker’s Sugar”)
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups heavy whipping cream

Combine cream cheese and sugar in medium mixing bowl. Stir in cocoa, milk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Whip cream until stiff peaks form; fold in. Spoon into a decorator bag with a star tip and fill individual chocolate dessert cups. Put them in the freezer or refrigerator until ready to serve. (You don’t have to put them in the freezer. If you like a softer consistency and if you are planning on eating them the day you make them, you could just keep the mousse cups in the refrigerator.) If desired, garnish with a chocolate covered espresso bean or chocolate leaf.

Raspberry Mousse

2 pints fresh raspberries
2 T. lemon juice
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Whites of 2 jumbo eggs
2/3 cup super-fine granulated sugar (or “Baker’s Sugar”)

Wash and pat dry the raspberries, and then put them into a food processor or blender. Blend them until smooth. Add lemon juice. Put the raspberry mixture through a sieve, so that there are no seeds. Set aside. In another bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Then fold into raspberry mixture. Next, whip the egg whites and sugar together. Beat until the sugar is dissolved (using super-fine sugar facilitates this process), and then fold into raspberry mixture. Spoon into a decorator bag with a star tip and fill individual chocolate dessert cups. Chill or freeze until firm. When ready to serve, top each individual mousse cup with a fresh raspberry.

            As an alternative, manufacturers make some wonderful mousse mixes. There are a couple I particularly recommend. One is Inspired Cuisine’s European Style Mousse Mix (available at many supermarkets and specialty food stores), and King Arthur Flour’s Raspberry Mousse Mix (available online at Not only are they quick and easy to prepare, they taste scrumptious, and your guests would never guess it’s a mix. In fact, I’ve used these mousse mixes before and my guests have asked for the recipe and I’ve had to tell them it was a mix. People are always surprised that a mix could taste that good.
            Well, that’s it for my blog today. I hope you like these recipes! Now I have to run down to the grocery store and pick up some nacho ingredients for the big football game today….The Chicago Bears versus the Green Bay Packers. If the right team wins, I’ll be making a football cake with an orange “C” on it for a Super Bowl Party two weeks from today!


  1. Thanks, Arryn. I should interview you for this blog. You have served us some spectacular meals. And your creme brulee is the best I've ever tasted!