So lately, I’ve been craving chocolate. My guess is it’s subliminal. I’m currently surrounded by email, TV and radio ads featuring chocolate for Valentine’s Day. “Buy these sweets for your sweetheart…” they croon, enticing you with images of luscious melting chocolate. It’s a never-ending barrage of “food porn,” as they say. Then I started noticing all of my food blogger friends posting their favorite chocolate recipes for Valentine’s Day… brownies and cookies and cakes. Oh my! A few days ago, when we were out for dinner at our favorite local restaurant, my stepdaughter ordered a rich and decadent chocolate mousse cake for dessert. It was the last straw. Never mind that I’m dieting and halfway to my post-holiday, post-latke goal weight. I suddenly NEEDED something rich and sweet. When the urge for chocolate strikes, it is nearly impossible to resist.
Inspired by my stepdaughter’s recent dessert choice, I had a deep, insatiable desire for chocolate mousse. Trouble is, it’s so terribly unhealthy. Most chocolate mousse is made with cream and eggs… delicious, but incredibly rich. Then, an idea came to me– why not use Greek yogurt to make a healthier version of chocolate mousse? Lately I’ve been subbing Greek yogurt in all kinds of dishes to add nutrition and lower the calories. We all know that yogurt is naturally good for us, full of protein and good bacteria for our digestive system. Greek yogurt is particularly protein-packed, and because it is strained over time the liquid content subsides and it takes on a creamy, rich consistency. I wondered if subbing Greek yogurt in chocolate mousse had occurred to anybody else… so, I did a Google search.
Turns out, my inspired idea has been tried before! I found a recipe online from the lovely and talented cookbook author Maria Speck. I liked the look of her Greek Yogurt Chocolate Mousse, and it provided a good base to start from. I adapted the recipe, testing it three times and making a few changes. I doubled the recipe and made it 6 servings to increase the portion size slightly. The chocolate melting method suggested in the original recipe left me with slightly grainy chocolate (may have been my fault– working with chocolate is a bit of a science), so I used a double boiler instead, which gave me better results. I added 3 tbsp of sugar because I felt it needed sweetening. I also added a touch of salt to compliment the sweetness. Finally, I much prefer Amaretto to the Grand Marnier suggested in the original recipe. That’s a personal taste preference though… I’ve never been wild about chocolate and oranges together. You can also feel free to omit the alcohol entirely; the mousse doesn’t really need it, though it does add a little extra “something.”
After a few hours of experimentation, I ended up with a splendid mousse– rich, creamy, and completely satisfying. This isn’t exactly like traditional chocolate mousse… it’s sweet, slightly tart, and totally decadent. I served it to a friend, who told me it reminded him of chocolate cheesecake. In all honesty, I like this new version better than regular chocolate mousse. The flavor is more complex. Plus, there’s the added bonus of knowing that the two main ingredients– Greek yogurt and dark chocolate– are actually good for you! Greek yogurt is a natural probiotic, and dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants. Don’t skimp and use lowfat yogurt, I tried one batch with 2% yogurt and it just isn’t the same. You really need whole milk Greek yogurt for it to taste dessert-like. Also, the thicker, the better– choose a thick Greek yogurt without a lot of excess liquid. I tried it with Trader Joes, which was too liquid. Then I tried it with Fage, which was nice and thick and much more mousse-like. You’re already saving lots of calories and cholesterol from the omission of eggs and cream… and this is a dessert, after all, so splurge a little on thick, whole milk Greek yogurt. You can thank me later.
Thanks to Maria Speck for inspiring this wonderful Greek Yogurt Chocolate Mousse. I’m looking forward to checking out her book, Ancient Grains for Modern Meals. Sounds right up my alley, no? You can follow Maria on Facebook and Twitter. Make this sweet for your sweetheart… the love of your life is sure to swoon!
Gluten Free Note: If making this gluten free, omit the liqueur or make sure that the liqueur you’re using is certified GF.
Passover Note: This recipe can be easily modified for Passover by simply omitting the liqueur. If you’re strictly kosher, Greek yogurt with a Passover hechsher may be difficult to locate, but you can easily make your own by straining plain yogurt through cheesecloth. I’ve outlined the process on my blog, click here to view.
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Greek Yogurt Chocolate Mousse
- 9 oz chopped dark chocolate, or 1 ¾ cups dark chocolate pieces (70% dark is best)
- 1 cup lowfat milk (not nonfat!)
- 3 tbsp sugar, or more to taste
- Pinch salt
- 2 cups whole milk Greek yogurt - the thicker, the better (I recommend Fage)
- 1 tbsp Amaretto or Grand Marnier (optional)
Chop chocolate into small pieces with a knife or a food processor. The smaller the pieces, the more evenly the chocolate will melt. In a double boiler, whisk together the milk, sugar, and salt. Heat the milk over medium heat (not high!), whisking frequently, till hot but not boiling.
Add the chocolate to the milk and let it sit for 1 minute in the heated milk without touching. Gently stir with a spatula till the chocolate melts into the milk. Remove from heat and continue stirring slowly till the milk and chocolate mixture is smooth and no longer grainy. If there are a few solid pieces of chocolate that refuse to melt, you can use an immersion blender to break up those pieces. Stir again with the spatula after blending to break up any air bubbles.
Drain off any excess liquid from Greek yogurt before measuring 2 cups into a medium mixing bowl. Use a fork to whip the yogurt till fluffy.
Stir the chocolate mixture again, then pour it into the yogurt, using a spatula to scrape up any remaining chocolate. Add the optional liqueur, if desired. Use spatula to fold the chocolate into the yogurt till fully incorporated, light and creamy. This will take 2-3 minutes. Continue folding till all the white has been removed from the yogurt.
Divide the mixture between 6 ramekins, dessert bowls or mugs. Smooth and swirl the top of each serving with a spoon. Chill for at least 2 hours, up to overnight. Serve cold.
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