Monday, February 13, 2012

Makeover Monday: Skinny Dark Chocolate Mousse

If you haven't heard the news already, Valentine's Day is tomorrow!  It's the perfect day to give your sweetie sometime sweet.  For the past week I have been sharing great chocolate-themed desserts, but they all take a little time to put together.  So if you want to make a delicious treat for your Valentine, but have been putting it off and need something quick, I've got just the thing for you.  And it's low calorie, but full of chocolate flavor!  

I saw this recipe for dark chocolate mousse on a package of Hersey's Special Dark Chocolate cocoa.  I have never made mousse before, and I'm not even positive that I've had it before.  But I love dark chocolate and this seemed like a nice, easy, tasty dessert that would be the perfect end to a special Valentine's Day dinner.
Not only was this easy on the eyes and the taste buds--it was easy! It only takes a few minutes on hands-on time, but it is the kind of elegant dessert that will make you feel fancy.  And this dessert has more than just good looks.  It is decadent and chocolatey, yet light and smooth.  After having a heavy Valentine's Day dinner, this is a great way to satisfy a sweet craving without filling up too much.

I did make a few changes to lighten up and speed up this tempting dessert.  The original recipe calls for making your own whipped cream from heavy whipping cream.  To shave off calories and minutes, I substituted lite Cool Whip.  I also used Splenda instead of sugar.  By dividing this mousse into 4 dishes, you get 4 satisfying chocolate desserts that register in at only about 105 calories. 
Like when I made my chocolate waffles, I couldn't decide if I should go for chocolate and peanut butter or chocolate and strawberries for the garnish.  So once again I did both.  I topped half the mousse with chopped Reese's peanut butter cups and half with sliced strawberries.  Both are delicious!  Some other topping ideas I considered were chopped nuts, chocolate chips, and marshmallows.  Use your imagination!

For a simple touch of elegance, I served my chocolate mousse in martini glasses.  Another classy option would be champagne glasses, but any dish will do.  This is a great recipe that is very versatile and can be adapted to your taste. 
As I said, this is very easy to make!  The first step is to prepare some unflavored gelatin.  I have never worked with gelatin before, but it was really simple.  Just sprinkle the gelatin over some cold water, and let it set for 2 minutes.  Then add some boiling water to dissolve the gelatin.
Stir together cocoa powder, Splenda, vanilla extract, and Cool Whip.  Then stir in the gelatin mixture until it's all combined.
Spoon the mousse in your dessert dish and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
When the mousse is firm, garnish as desired!  In case you're counting calories, the strawberries are lighter than the Reese's!
So whip up some skinny dark chocolate for your special dinner tomorrow night.  Your Valentine and your bathroom scale will love you for it!

Skinny Dark Chocolate Mousse
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1/3 cup boiling water
1 cup Splenda
2/3 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa, sifted
4 cups lite Cool Whip (you will need 2 8-oz tubs)
2 tsp vanilla extract
Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl; let stand 2 minutes to soften.  Add boiling water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved and mixture is clear.  Cool slightly.
Gently stir together Splenda, cocoa, vanilla, and Cool Whip in medium bowl.  Pour in gelatin mixture and beat until well blended.  Spoon into dessert dishes.
Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.  Garnish as desired.  Store covered in refrigerator.
Makes 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from Hersey's Test Kitchen

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