In Search of the Perfect Vegan Chocolate Mousse

by Culinary Spelunker / Jun 25, 2018 /
Culinary Spelunker's picture

Salivating over the various bakery finds – from oversized carrot-cake muffins heavy with icing and thick slices of flourless chocolate cake, I came across an intriguing find: vegan chocolate mouse. Packaged in a nondescript plastic cup with a gold "VEGAN" label, I thought at best it would satisfy my sweet tooth and at worst it would taste a bit like chocolate-imbued gritty pudding.

In Search of the Perfect Vegan Chocolate Mousse

You see our kitchen had been undergoing a dairy-free makeover and I'd been looking for stand-ins for some of my family's favorite foods. While only part of our family had found they were lactose intolerant, the rest of us, myself included, had been trying to go dairy-free, too, in solidarity. Hence my eyeballing the assortment of pre-made sweets at my local natural foods store.

The tofu mousse was pricey – about the same amount as a tub of premium ice cream for a single serving. Still, I thought I'd give it a try, if only to convince myself in the future to pass it by.

Sliding my spoon into the mousse, I found the consistency smoother and stiffer than I'd expected – not the mushy globs I'd been anticipating. Heavy with chocolate, the tofu acted as an ideal carrier, which had the added benefit of being packed with protein.

I was hooked.

For a few weeks, I'd splurge and buy one of the tofu mousse cups and share it with my husband. Eventually, the kids started asking to try it too. At first, they didn't like the texture (and full disclosure – while I'm obviously a huge fan and prefer tofu mousse over the heavy cream variety, it can take a little getting used to). Then, they started eating the mousse too and requesting it as a treat on special occasions.

My impulse buy had turned into an expensive habit.

Out of necessity, I figured I needed to create my own version at home. Reviewing dozens of online recipes (while eating a cup of the good stuff), I found most included only a few ingredients and took minutes to prepare.

Batches later, tofu chocolate mousse has become a fixture at my house – or more accurately, my fridge. Taking a cue from the grocery seller, I pack mine in individual serving containers for a quick, ready-made treat for my kids.

Vegan mousse ready to place in cups. From In Search of the Perfect Vegan Chocolate Mousse
Vegan mousse ready to place in cups

I've also picked up a few tricks for a creamy, better-than-dairy consistency. First, blend the tofu and almond milk together until smooth. (I mirrored the technique I've used in the past when I make raspberry-chocolate cheesecake, which we've had to abandon.) When you dip into the mousse, it's okay to hit a bit chunk of chocolate, but tofu, not so much.

Using extra-firm tofu versus other varieties became an exercise in experimentation too – firm led to mushy mousse, my family preferred a thicker variety.

Another discovery – when you sample the tofu mousse right out of the blender, you're not going to be impressed. Really. It still has a bit of tofu-y after taste. Still, you should try it to adjust the sweetness and add in more chocolate, based on your preference. I found the mousse needs time to densify, just like it's heavy cream cousin.

I've played around with the amount of chocolate – and types too. When I cut the amount of chocolate chips in favor of more cocoa powder, the mousse didn't quite set as firmly, or have as much chocolatey goodness. When I tried cutting the powder, the chocolate chips didn't infuse the mousse as fully as the combination of the two did.

Yet another key discovery?

Tofu mousse right out of the blender, not a kid pleaser (or really, a people pleaser), tofu mousse after sitting overnight – perfection.

For added flair, sprinkle a few chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, cocoa nibs, or even toasted coconut on the top of each serving.
 
Vegan mousse ingredients. From In Search of the Perfect Vegan Chocolate Mousse
Vegan mousse ingredients

Better than Heavy Cream: Chocolate Tofu Mousse

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: 12, ½ cup servings

Ingredients
2, 16-ounce extra-firm tofu bricks
2 cups chocolate chips*
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar (I use raw sugar)
½ tsp vanilla
½-3/4 cup almond milk
Dash of sea salt

Directions
·      Drain the liquid from the tofu and break apart – place into the blender.
·      Process the tofu and ½ cup almond milk until smooth and creamy. (I let the blender run for 3-4 minutes.)
·      Add cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla to the blender and process again until smooth.
·      Now for the noisy part: place 1 cup chocolate chips into the blender and process until smooth. You may need to add a little bit more almond milk.
·      Add 1 cup more chocolate chips to the blender along with a dash of sea salt – blend until most of the chunks have disappeared. (Again, you may need to add more almond milk, but if you want a nice, thick mousse be patient and let the blender do that work for you.)
·      Scoop the mixture into individual serving cups or into a bowl (it will be somewhat stiff). Chill at least one hour – preferably overnight, before serving.
 

*Not all chocolate chips are vegan. I'm not strict about this with my chip choice, but check the labelling if you want to ensure yours is vegan. By most accounts, Trader Joe's semi-sweet chocolate chips (not pictured) are vegan.

Vegan mousse in individual containers. From In Search of the Perfect Vegan Chocolate Mousse
Vegan mousse in individual containers 

Kristen J. Gough is the Global Cuisines & Kids Editor for Wandering Educators. She shares her family's adventurous food experiences--and recipes--at MyKidsEatSquid.com.

All photos courtesy and copyright Kristen J. Gough