Coconut Chocolate Mousse

It’s almost here: three days until V-day. For me, V-day has always just been another day; I have no strong memories or feelings one way or another. But I realize I’m the exception. Those of you in a relationship are running around right now looking for the best present and making the best plans. Some of you singles are dreading the big day or looking forward to celebrating by yourself or with other single friends. Either way, if you’re looking for a delicious and easier-than-pie dessert, here you go.

This is rich, rich chocolate mousse full of dark chocolate flavor and a dense texture. It’s the kind of dessert that makes you want to jump into a tub filled with it. The kind of dessert that makes you close your eyes and say, “Mmmmm.” The kind of dessert that provokes a Sally-esque reaction from chocolate lovers.

Yet, it’s one of the easiest desserts I know how to make. The ingredient list is simple and short–four items–and prep time runs around five minutes. The only thing that takes any time at all is chilling it in the refrigerator. Usually, that takes 2-3 hours, so plan ahead. Of course, you can chill it overnight. That makes this even simpler: if you’re cooking for your valentine, whip this up the night before. That’s one less thing you have to worry about the day of.

This is a good time to talk about quality ingredients. There are many recipes where substandard ingredients can be used and not noticed. This is not one of them; the fewer ingredients you have, the more important quality becomes. The chocolate in this recipe, especially, has to be high quality. I know many people swear by Valrhona chocolate, but I love El Rey, a Venezuelan chocolate company that offers incredible quality chocolate. For this recipe I used their 70% dark Gran Saman chocolate.

I’ve tried this with low-fat and regular coconut milk, and I have to say that it usually works better with the full fat version. With the healthier substitute, I’ve sometimes had trouble getting it to gel; even after chilling overnight, it ends up a thick but still liquid consistency. Then again, sometimes it works just fine with lower fat alternatives, so maybe it’s the brand of coconut milk.

But I don’t mind using full fat coconut milk for this, because a little of this goes a long way. Ramekin-sized portions are plenty, even a bit too much if you’re not a chocoholic. If you try out other containers (I particularly liked the wine glasses I used above) make sure you just put a few ounces in each.

The taste here is dark and full. Thanks to the coconut milk, no sugar is required: its natural sweetness offsets the bitter of the chocolate. And the entire thing is rounded out with the earthy taste of vanilla. (Remember to use quality vanilla extract, too.)  All in all, what you’re left with is an intense dessert perfect for sharing with your valentine–or treating yourself to.