I spent a lot of time mulling over how to title this post.The recipe is for a decadent chocolate mousse that is dairy-free, egg-free and possibly refined sugar-free. My brother invented the basic recipe, and he calls it Omega-3 Chocolate Mousse. I am going with his name for this recipe, but this also a recipe for chocolate peanut butter mousse, chocolate fruit dip, chocolate spread, and even chocolate frosting. This recipe is just that versatile.
The mousse is soft when first made and can be used as a dip for fruit. When thoroughly chilled, it is thick enough to be used as a frosting or chocolate spread.
The original, basic recipe is simply this: walnuts, plant-based milk, dates and cocoa powder processed together to form a smooth, creamy mousse. The walnuts provide the Omega-3 oil referenced in the title, but you can easily use other nuts or even seeds. This recipe is particularly delicious made with peanut butter, but hazelnut butter, almond butter, cashew butter and sunflower seed butter are also great choices.
It can be made with whole nuts and dates, pureed in a high powered blender. If you use a nut butter and silan (date syrup), it can be very easily stirred together, without any high powered equipment. You could also make your own nut butter ahead of time, so that it is ready for mixing up into mousse (take a look at Mollie Katzen’s instructions for making walnut butter using a food processor).
The flavor of the basic mousse is reminiscent of brownies studded with chopped walnuts. The walnut flavor recedes more into the background if you add the optional melted chocolate. If you use peanut butter, of course, the mousse tastes like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and adding the optional melted chocolate does not mute the strong peanut flavor in the least.
Nutty Omega-3 Chocolate Mousse
This was originally formulated to be made in a Vitamix blender, but you can get very good results with a food processor.
8 ounces walnuts (about 2 cups), or 3/4-1 cup walnut butter
5 ounces Medjool dates, pitted (about 10 dates)
1.5 ounces cocoa (about ½ cup)
8 ounces plant-based milk, like almond, rice, soy or coconut milk
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted, optional
1 tsp. vanilla, optional
¼ tsp. coffee powder, or more to taste, optional
¼ tsp. orange extract, or more to taste, optional
Process the walnuts in a food processor or high powered blender (Vitamix) until a peanut-butter-like paste forms. Slowly add half the dairy-free milk while continuing to process. The paste will get lighter and creamier in texture. Add the pitted dates and process until smooth. Add half the remaining milk slowly while continuing to process. Add the cocoa powder and process. Add the remaining milk while continuing to process. Taste and, if desired, add vanilla extract, orange extract and coffee powder. If you want to increase the volume of mousse while intensifying the chocolate flavor, blend in the melted chocolate.
This mousse will thicken considerably after being refrigerated overnight. You might want to process the mousse with more milk to soften the texture if you find that the mousse is too thick.
For an airier texture: another option is folding whipped flax seed gel into the freshly made and still soft mousse (see Miyoko’s recipe on Artisan Baking Life). To get flax seed gel, boil 1/3 cup flax seeds with 3 cups water for about a half hour, or until the liquid is reduced to about a half cup. Strain out the flax seeds and chill the gel. Whip the gel about 8 minutes, until foamy like whipped egg whites. Fold the foam into the just blended mousse. This adds a certain airiness to the mousse.
Peanut Butter variation: instead of walnuts, use 8 ounces of peanut butter (about ¾ cup). Presumably, since peanut butter works, so should other nut butters such as cashew and almond and probably also sunflower seed butter.
To make this without a food processor or blender: if you use 8 ounces nut butter and 5 ounces silan (date syrup), you can simply stir all the ingredients together. It might seem alarmingly loose when you first start stirring, but press on and the mixture will thicken up. This will be very soft when first mixed together and can be used as a dip for cut up fruit. The mixture will get much thicker after refrigeration for several hours.
Makes about 2 cups of mousse without the melted chocolate; makes about 3 cups with the melted chocolate. This is very rich, so you can get 8 small servings from it. When thoroughly chilled, this is also good used as a chocolate spread on toast.