Chocolate mousse cups

Chocolate mousse, prepared in serving-size cups.

My friend’s daughter plays on the volleyball team at one of the local high schools. I’ve been to two games this season, both of which the team has been unvictorious. My friend’s husband pointed out the correlation between my attendance and marks in the loss column. I don’t think I’m invited to any more games.

There is palpable tension that flows the air at these games. I’ve found myself on the edge of my seat one second away from actively wringing my hands. The team plays with intention and intensity without appearing to care that their peers and parents are in the gym. I admire that.

I’ve never been one, but I imagine being a teenage girl is one of the most complicated things to be in the world. When I’ve left the games, I feel exhausted and all I’ve done is sit and watch.

You may wonder, what do volleyball games have to do with home cooking? Well both times I’ve attended, I’ve had to eat chocolate when I got home to soothe myself. I don’t always actively seek out chocolate, but sometimes it’s the only answer. I’ve said before that if I ever get married, I want my cake to be composed of Hostess ding-dongs. Lord knows that I’ll need soothing that day.

Chocolate can be as easy as a candy bar, or as complicated as Parisian multilayered chocolate entremets. I tend to go for the easier of those two choices, because I’m impatient and my ability to temper chocolate successfully is unsatisfactory.

One of my favorite quick and easy recipes is chocolate mousse. This recipe is slightly alarming since there are no egg yolks. But it works perfectly thanks to the addition of store-bought small marshmallows.

The mousse is comforting and soothing. It’s perfect to calm your jitters, whether you eat it post-volleyball game or pre-ceremony before your cake of ding-dongs.

Easy chocolate mousse

Slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson

• 3 cups small marshmallows

• 1/2 stick unsalted butter, soft

• 9 ounces dark chocolate, chopped into

small pieces

• 1/4 cup hot water (from a recently

boiled kettle)

• 1 cup heavy cream

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• Maldon sea salt (optional)

Preparation

Place the marshmallows, butter, chocolate and water in a heavy saucepan. Put the saucepan on the stove over medium-low heat. Melt the chocolate and marshmallows, stirring every now and again. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, whip the cream with the vanilla until thick, then fold into the cooling chocolate until you have a smooth, cohesive mixture.

Spoon into 4 to 6 glasses or small dishes and chill until you want to eat – the sooner the better. Lightly sprinkle with Maldon sea salt right before serving.

Brian Medford is a baker, teacher and the owner of The Rusty Cup in Astoria. He has lived in the Northwest for more than 20 years and delights in Southern cooking. Contact him at blmedford@gmail.com.

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