One of the best parts of the holiday season is the abundance of festive treats. What’s even greater is being able to enjoy these delights with the people you love. Family dinners, cocktail parties, potlucks with friends…there’s certainly no shortage of food-centred celebrations at this time of year. There’s also no shortage of dietary considerations. Your sister is avoiding gluten, while your uncle is trying to stay away from refined sugar. You’ve got a cousin who doesn’t eat eggs, and a co-worker who is vegan. You partner is playing around with paleo, and you don’t do so well with dairy. On top of all this, your holiday itinerary is chock-a-block full, and you’re wondering when you’re going to have the time to make anything, let alone something that will please everyone on your list.
Enter the following incredibly simple, and seriously tasty delight that, with an All-Clad immersion blender, takes only a few minutes to make. Plus, it’s free of grains and gluten, dairy, refined sugar, eggs, and is completely paleo and vegan friendly. Best part of all, you can whip it up the day before so that it’s all ready to go when the dessert course arrives and you’re a rummy eggnog or two deep.
The base of this decadent mousse is avocado and the thick top of canned coconut milk. And if you’re nervous about serving your guests something that tastes akin to chocolate-sprinkled guacamole, don’t worry – the other ingredients mask the avocado-y flavour perfectly, and you’re left with a rich and creamy texture, without the endless steps and fussy finesse of a traditional chocolate mousse.
The recipe provides four different flavouring options: sea salt, cardamom spice, orange and hazelnut, and peppermint. You can of course stick to one, or for something a bit more dynamic, divide the base into four equal parts, quarter the flavouring ingredients, and make a sort of tasting sampler for your guests to try. Not only will it be pleasing to the palate, but also a feast for the eyes once decorated with such garnishes as candied nuts, dried cranberries, crumbled candy-cane, or even just a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Simple Seasonal Dark Chocolate Mousse, Four Ways
...Grain/Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, Refined-Sugar-Free, Vegan and Paleo-friendly
Prep time: 5 minutes
Setting time: 30 minutes in the fridge (can also be kept in the fridge overnight)
Makes roughly 6-8 servings
For the base…
2 ripe avocados
1 ½ cups thick coconut cream (the fluffy top of the can)
1 cup pure maple syrup
4 tblsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pure cocoa powder
For dark chocolate sea salt add…
½ tsp fleur de sel
For dark chocolate peppermint add…
¼ - ½ tsp peppermint extract (depending on how minty you like it)
For dark chocolate cardamom spice add…
½ tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
For dark chocolate orange hazelnut add…
1 cup hazelnut butter
1/2 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed is best)
1 tblsp orange zest
In a medium-large sized mixing bowl, combine the avocado and coconut cream with an All-Clad immersion blender until completely smooth. Add in the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, blending until well combined. Slowly mix in the cocoa powder until fully integrated and no lumps remain. Then add desired flavourings, blending until velvety and creamy. Dish the mousse into your serving glasses, and top with the whipped coconut cream. Let the mousse set in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or overnight. Before serving, top with crushed candy cane, candied hazelnuts, dried cranberries, Satsuma slices, or any other festive garnishes!
To make the maple cinnamon whipped coconut cream…
1 ½ cups thick coconut cream
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon
In a medium sized mixing bowl, blend together the coconut cream and maple syrup with an All-Clad immersion blender until well combined and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients, blending minimally so that the whip is light and fluffy, but not runny or chunky. *Tip: if the room is warm and the coconut cream isn’t completely solid, let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes before whipping.