Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Year's Eve: White Chocolate Mousse Cups

I wanted to make a unique and bite-sized dessert for an at-home New Year's Eve with my best friend and her fiance. Since I consider Giada the queen of the kitchen, and she shares my chocolate obsession, I decided on her Mascarpone and Dark Chocolate Cream in White Chocolate Cups recipe. I'm not usually a white chocolate fan—it's not chocolate—but I'm a sucker for cute packaging.

It's actually not as labor-intensive as it may seem, but it does take a little bit of time, especially during the freezing process. Don't leave this one for the last minute. The best tip I have is that, when peeling away the paper liner from the white chocolate, start at the bottom of the paper muffin liner since there's a little air pocket there that you can gently stab with a knife tip. And, while a piping bag isn't necessary, it makes the presentation nicer. (Even though I had a star tip that was too small, it still looked nice, I think!) Finally, Giada calls for regular muffin cups (makes 8) but I thought the mini muffin cups were cuter and more figure friendly after an evening of noshing on junk. :)

White Chocolate Mousse Cups
8 oz. white chocolate, chopped
4 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 c. whipping cream
3 T. sugar
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1 teaspoon grated orange peel (I omitted; I hate orange with chocolate)
1/4 t. vanilla extract

Have mini muffin cups ready. Melt the white chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water (or use a good pot), stirring until smooth. Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon melted chocolate into each paper liner. Using a pastry brush, coat the chocolate evenly and completely over the bottom and up the sides of the liners. Freeze until the chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes. Remelt the remaining white chocolate. Spoon 1 tablespoon into each cup and brush over the bottom and up the sides, forming a second coat. Freeze until completely set, about 1 hour.

Melt the bittersweet chocolate in top of a clean double boiler over simmering water, stirring until smooth. At this point, set aside to cool completely.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream and sugar in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Set the whipped cream aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the mascarpone cheese, melted bittersweet chocolate, orange peel (if using), and vanilla in a large bowl just until smooth and glossy, about 30 seconds (do not overmix). Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture in 2 batches. Transfer the mousse to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe the mousse into the white chocolate cups. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate overnight, and then let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

I should have garnished it with chocolate curls, but I waited until the last minute. :)

Happy New Year!

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