You know, sometimes I find it miraculous that anything edible came out of our teeny-tiny, always-breaking, shared-with-five-people college kitchen. It was literally like a bomb made out of clothes, food, utensils, school supplies, and the occasional dust-bunny blew up in the middle of the room. Oh, and let’s not forget the smoky aftermath of a faulty oven and an overactive fire alarm. But somehow, my suitemates and I made it out alive, and we managed to keep ourselves from starving (and getting arrested for arson) in the process.
I think the most life-saving appliance we had was our trusty old microwave (despite its missing handle and chipped white paint). Aside from warming up the occasional Ramen Noodles and dining hall leftovers or off-campus food deliveries, the microwave became the drive behind our creative cooking juices. Left with a stove that burnt half our meals and undercooked the rest, we had no choice but to learn the trade of the microwave… and so we did.
Most people use their little heating box to defrost frozen peas, heat-up cold pizza, or pop popcorn. But the truth is, you can even bake with a microwave! Would you believe me if I told you that you can combine the soft, delicate, light texture (and delicious taste) of Mousse au Chocolat with the rich and chewy sensation of those Little Bites Brownies that everyone so easily becomes addicted to? Well you can! This recipe comes from my family in the south of France (and we know the one thing the French can’t be criticized on is dessert)! So, trust me, it’s quite delicious… that is, if you aren’t afraid to melt into a pool of chocolaty goodness that will transport you straight to the heart of Southern France!
Candice Allouch is a junior at American University but abroad in Florence, Italy during the fall semester where she learns (and loves) to cook with the wonderful ingredients that Europe lends.
Brownie-Mousse au Chocolat
Makes about 4 servings
Note: This recipe is a great way to break a diet or simply vow to never start one! If you prefer mousse to brownies, I would recommend not putting the finished mixture into the microwave, and instead leaving it in the fridge to cool for a couple of hours. This way, you get all of the chocolaty yumminess without the cake-like texture. For tips on melting chocolate in the microwave, check out this video.
1 King Size bar of chocolate (roughly 2.4 oz., broken into 12-15 pieces)
2/3 cups of sugar (this can be adjusted… I like my chocolate less sweet so I use a little less)
You may want to clear a space at your kitchen table. This way you can crack, pour, mix, and beat without worrying about making a mess (even if that IS the best part)! Set up 3 bowls.
Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Put the yolk in one of your three bowls and put the whites in another.
Add all of the sugar to the egg yolks and stir thoroughly. You want to make sure that the sugar has been well incorporated into the egg.
Put the chocolate pieces in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of cold water. Put this chocolate-water mix in the microwave and let it heat up for a minute and a half. The water should help melt the chocolate down. If you notice that your chocolate is burning rather than melting, add more water (but only a little at a time). If one and a half minutes doesn’t melt your chocolate, add more time, but be sure to keep an eye on the microwave. The melting happens fast!
Now for the hard part: take out your electric hand mixer and beat your egg whites until fluffy (about 7-10 minutes on high). You will know to stop whisking when you can make peaks from the whites by simply lifting the mixer out of the bowl.
Add the melted chocolate to the yolk and sugar mixture and stir until fully incorporated. Next, add the egg whites in two parts. Be sure to gently combine the whites into the chocolate mixture (I fold the whites in, but you can simply slowly mix if you want).
When you have added everything together, you can start to pour this mixture into your serving bowls. I like to add a little surprise in my brownie-mousse. So if I have any extra chocolate (preferably white!) lying around, I will take a square of it and press it into the middle of my mousse. You can also do this with peanut butter, almonds, or really anything sweet and yummy!
With your mixture portioned into the serving bowls, you’re ready to heat it up! Put a bowl at a time into the microwave for about one minute. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly mousse-like texture, this dessert is not as soft as it looks! Enjoy!