Chocolate mousse has always been one of those decadent desserts. A special treat if you will and typically served around the holidays or Valentine’s Day. But, I recently discovered a way to lighten it up dramatically and came up with this unbelievable dark chocolate orange mousse that I wouldn’t feel guilty about having every night! Well, maybe an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
I’ve been taking a culinary nutrition course and one of the assignments was to cook a dessert using tofu. Even though I’m a dietitian, I don’t cook with tofu very often, so this took me out of my comfort zone – but very successfully! Even my husband didn’t realize I had made this with tofu until I told him what I did – and he loved it!
I found that tofu is really pretty easy to cook with and a great plant-based protein that you can use in a variety of dishes. I used silken tofu for this recipe. It’s smooth and creamy and really has no flavor of its own so it picks up the dark chocolate and orange flavors without anything competing with it. There are other benefits of using tofu in this recipe too.
First, the nutritional benefits. Silken tofu is basically coagulated soy milk. It is a great source of protein and has all the nutritional benefits of soy. Soy is rich in isoflavones, a plant compound called a phytoestrogen. That means it has some estrogen-like effects and can bind with estrogen receptors in our body. Research has shown that people who eat more soy foods have lower rates of heart disease. Soy has also been shown to protect bone density and potentially reduce symptoms of menopause like hot flashes.
So, soy is definitely good for you but what I love about it in this recipe is that it completely replaces the need for eggs AND cream. Yes, that is right. You don’t need to worry that you got the eggs hot enough and the fat content goes way down! It’s dairy-free and egg-free for people who have allergy concerns. Plus, the mousse is light and fluffy – you don’t walk away from a portion feeling stuffed!
I used 78% Cocoa chocolate, which is kind of right in the middle and has a nice balanced chocolate flavor. You could go up or down in the percent cocoa or use semi-sweet or milk chocolate. I’ve said it before, I’m not someone who likes super sweet things so dark chocolate is perfect. I get a little sweetness, but it isn’t overly sweet. And, well, you also get all those good antioxidants from the dark chocolate – so there is even more for you to feel good about with this dessert!
Making the Dark Chocolate Orange Mousse
So, how do you make this? Another huge bonus! It’s super easy and with the exception of needing to refrigerate it for a few hours, you can pull this fancy dessert together in as little as 10 – 15 minutes! Just 6 ingredients!
- First, melt the chocolate over a double boiler or really low heat.
- Next, put the tofu, orange zest, agave syrup (or maple syrup) and orange liquor in the bowl of a food processor and puree it until it is smooth.
- Add the melted chocolate and process until it is completely combined and smooth.
- Spoon the mixture into 4 small dishes or ramekins and plop them in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Because it’s springtime and strawberries are in season I served these Dark Chocolate Orange Mousse cups with macerated strawberries for a hint of freshness but you could add any fruit or just some shaved chocolate and orange zest for a delicious dessert any time of the year!
Dark Chocolate Orange Mousse
- Double boiler
- 3.5 oz dark chocolate chopped
- 1 lb silken tofu
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 1 tbsp agave syrup
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tbsp cointreau or other orange flavored liquour
- 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 2 tbsp Cointreau
- 1 tsp orange zest
- Place chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler and melt slowly. If no double boiler is available, melt in a sturdy small saucepan over very low heat.
- Whip tofu in the bowl of a food processor until smooth. Add orange zest, agave syrup, salt and Cointreau and whip until combined and smooth.
- Add dark chocolate and combine thoroughly.
- Divide mixture between 4 glasses or ramekins and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Top with macerated strawberries or other fruit right before serving.
- Place strawberries in a small bowl and mix with Cointreau and orange zest.
- Allow to sit for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.