Can we talk about chocolate mousse? Because two ingredients doesn’t cut it

A glass of cream-topped chocolate French mousse with two spoons at Coucou West Hollywood.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)
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Two-ingredient chocolate mousse took TikTok by storm, has proliferated across the Internet and is showing up in new cookbooks. But is it “mousse”? Is it airy, foamy, creamy, bouncy, soft, melting, rich and light all at once? I have yet to come across a two-ingredient recipe that is all those things.

I was reminded how to make chocolate mousse recently by watching an old episode from Julia Child’s first season on “The French Chef” circa 1963. It’s not two ingredients. Hers is six: dark chocolate, eggs, butter, sugar, coffee and liqueur. The important ingredient here — besides chocolate — is eggs.

You can’t duplicate the airiness and structure that whipped egg whites contribute. You can’t replace the velvet smoothness of egg yolks. Child beats yolks until they are light in color and will stream from a spoon in a single thick ribbon.


Some recipes require just yolks, others only the whites. Some use cream, some call for butter. But one thing is for certain: You can’t just mix melted chocolate with whipped cream (or water, for that matter — as brilliant as this is for vegans) and call it mousse. Sure, it can be delicious and can fulfill a chocolate-and-cream craving.

But mousse, which means “foam,” refers to the texture of the Julia Child kind, airy but also stable enough that it isn’t going to start to deflate and melt before you finish the dessert (you can even freeze it and thaw it, and it will retain its structural integrity). Mousse also was once called “mayonnaise de chocolat,” owing to the emulsified egg yolks.

I’ll stick to the five-ingredient recipe I’ve been using lately. It’s the mousse au chocolat adapted from French chocolatier La Maison du Chocolat in author Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook “Paris Sweets.” The recipe doesn’t call for any garnish. You could add whipped cream or even crème Anglaise, which is what Child uses in her recipe in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” I prefer mine with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.

Here are other favorite chocolate mousse recipes from L.A. Times Food.

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Mousse au Chocolat

This is a classic chocolate mousse recipe, with a custard base (egg yolks with hot milk and cream), boosted with a little espresso, and egg whites whipped to a soft peak.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 50 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

Tipsy Acorn Chocolate Mousse garnished with fresh basil leaves
(Catharine Kaufman)

Salted Butter Caramel Chocolate Mousse

Salted dark caramel is added to the chocolate and gives this mousse a burnt-sugar edge — still creamy, light and mousse-y.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 30 minutes. Serves 6.

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Vasetto di Crema Chocolate Mousse

Heavy cream, milk and egg yolks — this is an uber-rich mousse with dark chocolate flavor.
Get the recipe.
Cook time: 30 minutes plus chilling time. Serves 6.

Chocolate mousse in the L.A. Times kitchen.
(Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times)

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