I know it’s first thing in the morning. But I want to talk about booze. No, not vodka, not tequila, and not gin. Something sweeter and nuttier. Maybe more like breakfast? Or really, dessert. It’s Frangelico, a hazelnut-flavored liquor that’s about to take my chocolate mousse to the next level.
But first, let’s go way back.
Years ago, I interned in the test kitchen of a famous food personality. As the only non-professional chef in the kitchen, I spent my days feeling like Amelia Bedelia, pouring salt in the sugar jar and spilling sugar on the floor.
Now, there is a lot of know-how involved in being a home cook, like understanding how to improvise meals from an empty pantry or what it means to stretch dinner to feed double the number of guests intended (hint: add potatoes), but not knowing how to handle a hazelnut is one of the downfalls of never having earned a culinary degree.
One quiet afternoon in the test kitchen, we were testing recipes and a chef handed me some extra pie dough to play with. With the freedom to fill my pie crust with any of the kitchen’s gourmet wonders, I kicked around ideas, finally deciding on a chocolate mousse filling with hazelnuts. The crust baked up fine, and the mousse set. Feeling good, I toasted the hazelnuts, failed to remove their papery skins, scattered them across my tart, offered slices around the kitchen, and drooped home after the entire test kitchen staff declined to taste my tart.
“You know you have to remove the skins before you serve them?” the head chef finally said.
Obviously I hadn’t known. Right then I knew, though. Lesson learned.
So when I got the chance to work with Frangelico, a hazelnut-flavored liquor, I knew my recipe was going to be the story not just of hazelnut liqueur but of redemption. Make that crustless redemption.
When I think of a dinner party dessert, I think of chocolate mousse. I just do. This may seem old-fashioned or overly traditional, but I have my reasons. Often, after a big dinner, eating cake is too agressive a move. Fruit for dessert sounds dull. A chocolate bar shared among guests is nice and rustic, but maybe too homey for some parties. Chocolate mousse, made in this case with nothing more than chocolate chips, eggs, coffee, and a big pour of Frangelico–hazelnut liquor that also happens to be quite light and low in calories–is, as I said, the perfect dinner party dessert.
But the best part about this recipe is that you can whip it up to suit your own cravings, even when there’s no dinner party on the agenda. (For that, maybe cut recipe in half.) Whirl chocolate chips in the blender with coffee, making an elevated ganache. Add eggs, for substance, to help the chocolate solidify during a short wait in the fridge (you have to eat the savory part of dinner sometime!). The Frangelico adds sweetness and a Nutella-esque nuttiness. And then, sweet redemption, toasted and peeled hazelnuts scattered on top bring this little dessert together.
This sponsored post is part of an ongoing collaboration with Frangelico. I only ever work with brands whose values and products mesh with the content I love to produce for you. You can read my affiliate disclosure here.
Easy Hazelnut Chocolate Mousse
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Sometimes I use great chocolate to make this. Sometimes I use supermarket chocolate chips. Whatever. On the other hand, use the freshest eggs from the market since you’ll basically be eating ’em raw.
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
1/2 cup strong, hot coffee
2 tablespoons Frangelico
12 hazelnuts, toasted for 8 minutes in a 350°F oven and peeled
Combine the chocolate, salt, and eggs in a blender or food processor. Blend til the chocolate is chopped really, really finely. Pour in the coffee, which should be extremely hot. Blend until all the chocolate is melted. Pour into four ramekins or other little bowls. Scatter 4 hazelnuts on top of each. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until set. You can also refrigerate them overnight. Serve cold, with a little whipped cream if you like.