Saturday, February 18, 2012
Chocolate Bowls with Dark Chocolate Mousse
I’m just now getting around to posting about our Valentine’s Day feast. I’ll try to get information about our meal posted tomorrow, but for now I’ll focus on dessert. My reason for doing so is that not only is dessert important enough to warrant its own posting, but also because I had fun experimenting with this particular dessert.
I had been looking for a good opportunity to try chocolate bowls, and Valentine’s seemed like as good a reason as any. I had found multiple cooking blogs with posts involving chocolate bowls or cups, which turned out to be very helpful because each one had different tips. One suggested blowing up water balloons (as in using air, not water) because of their sturdiness. Most recommended balloons 5 inches or smaller. I found my water balloons in the party aisle at Wal-Mart for 99 cents. (The awesome tie-dye print was the store's choice, not mine.)This is also the first time I've used water balloons in baking.
The instructions varied on the type of chocolate. I always like to bake with a slightly higher quality chocolate. Since I was planning on filling the bowls with dark chocolate mousse, I decided to use some Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips. I melted an entire bag of chocolate chips in a double boiler while stirring consistently to retain a smooth texture. Once melted, I scraped the chocolate into a small glass bowl to cool. I wanted to small bowl with slightly higher sides so that my chocolate bowls would be tall enough.
Now we are to the part that made me nervous. I had read warnings that if the balloons are dipped into the chocolate while it is still too hot, the balloons would explode and send chocolate flying all over my kitchen. This didn’t sound like anything I wanted to deal with, so I followed the advice of one blogger that had said to let the chocolate cool and once you thought it was cool enough, let it cool a little more.
While the chocolate cooled, I blew up the balloons. As it turns out, one of my Helpers apparently found the balloons to be quite worrisome, as you can probably tell from her wide-eyed expression and readiness to bolt should any craziness occur.
Another helpful hint I’d found was to thoroughly clean off the surface area where you’ll keep the balloons. They tend to attract any dust or fuzz you couldn’t see beforehand. I doubt you want any of that in the lining of the bowls. Once the balloons were blown up, I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper. Before dipping the balloons, I sprayed the bottom of each with a little cooking spray so I’d have some help with peeling them off the chocolate later.
Finally, I dipped a balloon down into the chocolate until it came far enough up the sides to be tall enough for a bowl.
I set the chocolate covered balloon on the parchment paper to harden. Since this was my first attempt, I used eight balloons even though I only needed two. I recommend this just because not every bowl will turn out. I had some turn out lopsided or missing a patch of chocolate.
I would also recommend putting the pan holding the chocolate balloons into the fridge for a few minutes. I was following a recipe that said to leave the balloons on the counter for 20 minutes to allow the chocolate to set. After 20 minutes, I decided to try to remove my balloon from one of my bowls. I snipped the balloon carefully under the knot. Not only did my balloon deflate, but my chocolate shriveled up along with it. Oops. After that I stuck the remaining balloons in the fridge for another 10 minutes. This let the chocolate set enough to detach the balloon. I used scissors to snip under the knot, and then I gently pulled the deflated balloon away. Some balloons will try to stick. In removing them, I realized that the next biggest risk of chocolate bowls is leaving behind fingerprints, so be mindful of this when tugging the balloons away.
I filled the bowls with dark chocolate mousse from a recipe by Bobby Flay. For decoration, I grated some chocolate sprinkles across the top.