There really is no substitute. You either love it or feign indifference (I seriously wonder about you indifferent folks). So for all you fellow chocolate lovers out there, February is your month!
One of my all-time favorite chocolate recipes has to be chocolate mousse made with tofu. Yes, that’s right T-O-F-U. I’m not kidding, it really is the best chocolate mousse I have ever had. It also happens to be gluten-free and dairy-free. Pair it with strawberries or raspberries and it is a virtual health food. OK, maybe “health” is a stretch, but guilt-free, absolutely!
I was first introduced to a tofu-based chocolate mousse after my mom attended a nutrition conference (she was a college nutrition professor) in the mid-1990s. At least she thought it was a “nutrition” conference. She laughs about it now, but it actually ended up being a vegan retreat (a.k.a. boot camp) where no one was allowed to leave, and the only food available to attendees was vegan. Including the coffee substitute, Pero, made from chicory, barley and rye. Yep, it was a long weekend with the only highlight being a chocolate mousse made from tofu, carob chocolate and maple syrup.
My mom is lactose intolerant, so the recipe was a good find. We tried recreating it over the years, and while it was good, it was not great. You couldn’t compare it to the real thing.
Three years ago, when I became gluten-free, I came across a chocolate mousse recipe in one of my new cookbooks that called for tofu. I was thrilled to discover that this one was the real deal. Real chocolate, sugar-sweetened, and whipped egg whites contribute to the silky mousse texture.
I realize that some of you are still skeptical about a chocolate mousse made from tofu. How good could it really be? Or you are thinking that because of all my food allergies, my tastes buds have given up? I can assure you, I refuse to settle for bad food. Bad food is a waste of calories, not to mention a waste of chocolate. I would never waste chocolate, N-E-V-E-R! But if you still require further testimonial, it is the first food requested by my 10-year old (who can eat gluten and dairy) after her braces are tightened. So it is kid-approved as well!
Without further ado, here it is….. the best chocolate mousse ever!
Rich Chocolate Mousse
(adapted from the Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook by Annalise Roberts)
12 ounces silken tofu, drained and patted dry (you find this in the Asian aisle, not the refrigerated dairy case)
8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (good quality bittersweet chocolate chips also work)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large egg whites*
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
*I don’t like to use raw egg whites in food that is not cooked, so I replace them with meringue powder. Meringue powder can be found with cake decorating supplies. Follow instructions on powder for replacement equivalents.
1. Melt chocolate in a heavy saucepan, stirring frequently to prevent burning. (I like to microwave in a large glass measuring cup.) Set aside.
2. Blend the tofu in a food processor until smooth. Add melted chocolate to tofu and blend until creamy. Add vanilla and place mixture in a large bowl.
3. Combine egg whites and salt in a medium-sized bowl and beat with an electric mixer. Start at medium speed and beat until whites are foamy. (If you are using meringue powder, add water as directed on package and proceed with above directions.) Gradually increase speed to high and add sugar 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until sugar dissolves and stiff peaks form. Do not scrape bowl while beating.
4. Stir one cup of the beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture. Gradually, fold remaining egg whites into chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined. (Be gentle, so it stays fluffy!).
5. Pour mousse into serving bowls and chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or until set.
Mary Cornforth Cawood is a Fruita mom who is married with two daughters. Read her Tuesdays on FruitaMoms.com.