Chocolate mousse is an indulgence that is a real treat on special occasions – at least, special occasions are just about the only time I see chocolate mousse being served. Mousse is easy to make and it is light enough that it can be served any day of the week, for any occasion, and doesn’t need to be “saved” for a handful of times throughout the year. I often make chocolate mousse with dark chocolate, but chocolate mousse can also be made with white chocolate and you are missing out on how delicious the non-dark side can be until you try this White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Mousse.
The mousse is very easy to make and just has three ingredients: white chocolate, heavy cream and vanilla. You might expect it to be sweet because white chocolate is often associated with very sweet desserts, but this dessert is only mildly sweet and has a lovely flavor of cream and vanilla to it.
Make sure to use high quality white chocolate. I cannot stress this point enough. Do not use “candy coating” or vanilla chips for this recipe. Those products are not real white chocolate and they’re made with vegetable oils that could give your mousse a very oily flavor. They also tend to be extremely sweet. High quality white chocolate is made with pure cocoa butter (in fact, many brands print the cacao percentage on their white chocolate, just as they do for dark chocolate) that has a smooth melt and a clean flavor. You should be able to taste fresh dairy and vanilla in the white chocolate – not just sugar, which is all you’ll taste in those faux chocolate products.
This mousse doesn’t feel as rich as a chocolate mousse does, which is why I love to serve it in the spring when I am looking for desserts that are light in texture. It is delicious on its own, where you can really pick up the warm, floral notes of the vanilla. It is also delicious with fresh, in-season berries and it’s a great change of pace from plain whipped cream, which is often used as an accompaniment to berries for a simple dessert. The mousse can be prepared well in advance and will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for at least a day before you intend to serve it.
Easy White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Mousse
6-oz white chocolate, finely chopped
12-oz heavy cream (1 1/2 cups), divided
1/2 vanilla bean
In a medium sized, microwave-safe bowl, combine 2 ounces of cream (1/4 cup) and white chocolate. Split the half of a vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using the back of a knife. Add seeds to white chocolate mixture.
Heat the white chocolate mixture in the microwave just until cream simmers (about 45 seconds, depending on you microwave), then stir with a spatula to melt the chocolate until mixture is very smooth.
Cool for 10 minutes.
Whip remaining cream to stiff peaks in a large bowl. Add about 1 cup of whipped cream to the white chocolate mixture and whisk it in until fully incorporated. Add white chocolate mixture to the large bowl with the remaining whipped cream and fold in the whipped cream until mixture is completely combined.
Divide into small dessert cups and chill until set, about 2 hours.
Serve as-is or with fresh berries.
Makes 6-8 servings (depending on size)