When I was a little girl, my mom would take my sister and I out to Sizzler every now and then to eat at the salad bar. We weren't exactly rolling in the money those days, so it was a special treat to go out to a restaurant with mom. And of course, we thought that Sizzler was SO fancy. They had cloth napkins, real plates, waitresses who brought you stuff if you asked for it, and at the end of the meal, chocolate mints on a little tray with the receipt. If there was one thing my sister and I knew, it was that Sizzler was a classy place.
And of course, we loved the salad bar. We always ate the same thing: canned peaches, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese toast, and if we were especially good, chocolate mousse. Oh, we loved chocolate mousse. Other than the chocolate mints, it was the highlight of the meal, the thing we looked forward to from the moment we stepped in the door. Chocolate mousse was the ultimate ending to a fine dining experience, and my little sister and I looked on chocolate mousse as something so classy, so undeniably fancy, that only Sizzler could make it right.
So I am sure you can imagine how completely crushed we were, as adults, to learn that Sizzler no longer features chocolate mousse as part of their salad bar. Is devastation too strong a word? HARDLY.
Thankfully this story does have a happy ending, and I think we both know it's going to end with a recipe. Though I am sure I am remembering Sizzler's chocolate mousse through the rose-tinted glasses of childhood innocence, this recipe is pretty knock-down good (as good as the original I'll wager), and it's simple too. And of course, you should feel free to mix it up and put your own twist on the recipe: espresso powder, raspberries, mint extract, caramel ribbons - go wild! Or stick with the classic original. Either way, it's sure to be classy.
Deep Dark Decadent Chocolate Mousse
Adapted from Everyday Food
Serves 4 (or 2, of you are feeling extra decadent!)
It's important to use a high quality dark chocolate in this recipe. If you try to use milk chocolate it will "seize" up, turn hard, and be ruined. You also want a high quality chocolate since the flavor is really going to shine through. I used the 72% Swiss dark chocolate from Trader Joe's (I think!), but I am sure there are plenty of good options out there on the market.
3 oz bittersweet dark chocolate, 60% or higher, finely chopped
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1. Over LOW heat, whisk 4 large egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, anda pinch of salt until sugar is dissolved, and mixture is warm to the touch (2 to 3 minutes). Remove from heat, and whisk in 3 oz chopped bittersweet dark chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted, then mix in 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth.
2. In a stand mixer (or a medium bowl, if you are a sucker for punishment), whip 3/4 cup heavy cream cream until light and fluffy, and soft peaks form (don't over mix, or you will get butter!). With mixer on low, gently mix in 1/2 of the chocolate. Gently fold in remaining chocolate by hand with a rubber spatula. Divide among serving dishes and chill for at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. Top with whatever pleases your fancy. Enjoy!