Banana Cacao Nib Scones

Hello my lovely readers, I hope the beginning of the new year is going smoothly for everyone. (If you want to get straight to the recipe, feel free to skip to the non-italicized text.) With regards to resolutions, this year I’ve decided to do something a little different. Alongside my usual set of running/baking/professional goals, I’ve decided to set a theme: mindfulness. Each month I am going to focus on being more mindful about something in my life. After reading the cookbook Run Fast, Eat Slow I have been inspired to make January’s theme into Mindful Eating.

This doesn’t mean counting calories or following a list of restricted items, but it’s more about improving my relationship with food. It’s easy to feel guilty about eating (or not eating) certain things, to rush through meals in order to move onto something else, to just make things because they’re easy and fast and not because I’m particularly excited to eat them. This month I’m going to focus on food in a way that makes me happy, both mentally and physically: taking the time to make things from scratch as well as actually slowing down and enjoying what I’m eating; having fewer meals in front of a screen; enjoying decadent items as treats not cheats; focusing on what makes me feel happy and energetic and ready for the days to come. 

This is intended to be a long-term change in the way I really think about food. Although I’m not one to be exacting about my diet, I do often feel restricted by what society is touting as healthy these days. Healthy doesn’t necessarily mean low-fat or low-calorie, carbs are not the devil and sugar isn’t the end of the world. Certainly I am going to be mindful of eating unnecessary added sugar, but I already know a low-carb diet doesn’t work that great for me, fats are important for flavor and staying power, and I want every calorie I eat to come from something I enjoy. I will no longer be describing anything as “guilt-free” because food should not be inherently shameful. I would love to hear your thoughts on this endeavor, should you be willing to share them. (Also I highly recommend the book, and you can expect to see some of those recipes on here in the coming months.)

In light of that, today we have another recipe that I made mostly out of curiosity. Consistent readers (and anyone that knows me in real life) will know that I don’t bake anything dairy-free, gluten-free, flourless, or vegan with any amount of regularity because these are not food traits I personally find important. I am, however, often intrigued by such recipes and will make them on occasion just for funsies.

Banana Cacao Nib Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

The original recipe called for things I don’t buy, like self-raising flour, coconut sugar, and almond meal, but I followed her modification suggestions and made a few of my own to tailor the recipe for myself. I replaced some of the flour with ground oatmeal for a heartier flavor, nixed the almond meal in favor of chia seeds, and used regular ole’ brown sugar instead of coconut sugar. I cut the sugar way back since I was figuring the banana adds a fair amount of sweetness (and because I already have my favorite sweeter scones) and added some whole oatmeal for texture.

Banana Cacao Nib Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

A few weeks ago I found some cacao nibs on massive clearance, and bought two of the bags. They were a great addition to these scones, no extra sugar but a little bit of chocolate flavor to enhance the banana. However they are definitely not cheap so feel free to leave them out or use mini chocolate chips as a more decadent replacement.

These scones are fairly dense but soft and moist and delicious. They are also pretty healthy, with low amounts of added sugar and a little bit of protein and good carbs from the oatmeal. Probably you shouldn’t eat three of them, but one is a perfect light-ish breakfast, especially when paired with a cup of coffee.

Banana Cacao Nib Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

I made these a few times and below is my favorite of those iterations. It can be baked into regular size or mini scones, depending on your preferences and whether you plan to serve them solo or as part of a fuller breakfast. They’re also easily portable and a great brunch option, although I think they’re best slightly warmed.

The banana and oatmeal combination is delicious by itself or topped with any number of toppings. Jam or butter and cinnamon sugar were my favorites, but mostly I ate them plain. I especially like the less sweet version if it’s going to be spread with a sweet topping anyway, but you can definitely increase the sugar here if you prefer.

Banana Cacao Nib Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

Give these a try and let me know what you think, and if any of your friends could guess they were vegan.

PS – These can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free flour and uncontaminated oats, and they are vegan/dairy-free unless you use normal chocolate chips, although I’m sure there are vegan/dairy-free versions of those out there you could substitute with.

Banana Scones

Adapted from OmNomAlly
Makes 12-16 mini or 6-8 large scones

Ingredients

2 overripe bananas
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 – 1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar1
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (use almond flour for gluten-free options)
1 1/2 cups oatmeal, finely ground2
1/2 cup oatmeal, whole
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cacao nibs, optional3

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mash banana completely. Add coconut oil (microwave briefly if it’s not already mostly liquid), brown sugar, chia, and vanilla. Whisk until well combined, then let rest at least 3 minutes, or until chia seeds have softened.
  3. Add flour, both ground and whole oatmeal, baking powder, salt, and cacao nibs (or chocolate chips), and stir until completely combined. Mixture will be a little loose and quite sticky, but should be solid enough to hold its shape.
  4. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and shape into rounds about 1″ tall. Use two rounds for mini scones, or one for large scones. Use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut rounds into 6 or 8 wedges.
  5. Bake until golden on top and slightly browned on the bottom, about 20 minutes. Be careful not to over bake; they are better slightly too moist than slightly too dry.
  6. Serve warm. Great plain, with butter and cinnamon sugar, or your favorite jam. Store leftovers in an airtight container on the counter up to 3 days, but they are best on day one.

Notes

For sweeter scones, especially if you’re going to enjoy them plain, use the larger amount, or up to 1/2 cup. For less sweet scones, especially if you’re going to doctor them with jam, use the smaller amount. I personally like 1/4 cup best even plain, but the masses may prefer a sweeter option.

Use a blender to grind 1 1/2 cups of the oatmeal into a powder. Leave 1/2 cup as normal for texture. =)

Cacao nibs are a great way to add a little chocolate flavor without the sugar and calories of chocolate chips. They are quite mild but delicious in baked goods. However for a more decadent treat, or if you don’t have cacao nibs on hand, you can substitute mini chocolate chips for delicious results, or leave them out entirely.

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Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte a la Mode

Ah, October. While most think of Halloween all month long, I focus on race season. Every weekend except one is taken up by a race, with this past weekend being the sole half marathon and taking place in Dallas. Unfortunately it was crazy hot and I missed my goal time by several minutes, but I did get third place in my age group and an award to boot!

I’m now in Houston and kicked off the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing which I’m superbly psyched to be attending. I do miss Bozeman’s October weather, but a whirlwind weekend with my favorite aunt for running and eating and Six Flags, followed by the inspiration of being around so many women in tech fields (plus my first time in Texas), is definitely worth skipping a few properly autumnal days.

Mini Peanut Butter Torte a la Mode {{Baking Bytes}}

Even with my disinclination towards Halloween, it does make for a great excuse to bake overly decadent treats that have no real justification. Although I’m still working on losing a few pounds and ergo drastically limiting my sugar intake, these tortes a la mode I made for my anniversary with M last Valentine’s Day are even more appropriate for the current holiday season.

Mini Peanut Butter Torte a la Mode {{Baking Bytes}}

The original recipe created a full-size dessert, but I felt a mini version was the right choice for me. Already portioned, pretty for pictures, and simpler to tote around. As a bonus, it’s also easier to give away the extras to my unsuspecting coworkers. I have included the instructions for the miniature ones, but for the full-size option simply double the recipe and use two 8″ cake pans.

Intensely chocolatey and riddled with peanut butter flavor, these tortes are drizzled with more of both because, well, why not? Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to round out the experience, it’s an immensely rich dessert and high in presentation points.

Mini Peanut Butter Torte a la Mode {{Baking Bytes}}

Fudgy chocolate cake interspersed with chopped Reese’s, the tortes on their own are a wonderful treat, made extra decadent by sandwiching a spread of peanut butter, and drizzled with a peanut butter glaze and chocolate sauce. Smooth vanilla ice cream tones down the decadence just a tad, and makes for a lovely creamy and fudgy juxtaposition. (The sauces also make great ice cream toppings on their own.)

Mini Peanut Butter Torte a la Mode {{Baking Bytes}}

For an extravagant dessert experience bring out the big guns and make these layered tortes a la mode as directed below. For maybe a slightly more tame dessert endeavor, just top each mini torte with a little peanut butter glaze and chocolate sauce, and call it a day. Whichever route you take, or perhaps a hybrid of the two, your peanut butter chocolate lovers are sure to be thrilled.

Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte a la Mode

Adapted from My Baking Addiction
Makes 6 or 12 servings

Ingredients

Cake
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup sugar
2 eggs

1.5 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt

5 Reese’s cups, chopped

Filling
peanut butter, heated if necessary for spreading

Glaze
2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 – 4 Tbsp heavy cream

2 Tbsp prepared chocolate sauce

vanilla ice cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Liberally coat a mini cheesecake pan with cooking spray. (A muffin tin will also work.) If you’re using anything besides silicon or mini springform pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk melted butter and cocoa powder until completely combined.
  3. Stir in the sugar 1/4 cup at a time, mixing well between each addition (use a spatula).
  4. Repeat with eggs, 1 at a time.
  5. Add vanilla, flour, and salt, and stir until there are no streaks of flour.
  6. Fold in chopped Reese’s.
  7. Divide batter evenly between mini cheesecake (or muffin) wells, about 3 Tbsp each.
  8. Bake 18-25 minutes, until tops are matte and a toothpick comes out mostly clean, similar to brownies.
  9. Let cool completely.
  10. Run a knife around the edges of your pans and remove all cakes.
  11. Spread peanut butter on half of the cakes (I used about 1 tsp each), then top with another cake. Transfer to a platter, cake plate, or individual plates (or whatever you plan to serve from). Alternatively, for 12 smaller servings you can carefully cut each cake in half, spread peanut butter on the bottoms, and replace the tops.
  12. Whisk together additional peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 2 Tbsp heavy cream until smooth. If you want a thinner glaze, add additional heavy cream in small amounts at a time until desired consistency is reached. (If you are making 12 servings and want ample glaze, you may want to double the amounts.)
  13. Carefully top each mini cake with 1-2 tablespoons of glaze, letting it drip slightly down the sides.
  14. Drizzle with melted chocolate chips or chocolate sauce.
  15. Just before serving, top each stack with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.
  16. Enjoy!

Notes

I recommend you use a sweeter peanut butter like Jif or Skippy which probably doesn’t need to be heated, but if you insist on using a natural peanut butter it might need to be warmed a little in order for it to be easily spreadable.

I used homemade chocolate sauce I already had on hand; Hershey’s or similar would work great, or melted chocolate chips are always a good option. If you are concerned with presentation, I recommend putting the chocolate sauce in a piping bag and cutting off a very small tip so you have good control over your drizzle.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pops

For this week’s regular post we will stick with the frozen theme, but with a somewhat healthier approach. Peanut butter and banana is one of my favorite combos, which you probably have noticed from previous posts. Similar to one of my favorite summer confections, these are reasonably healthy, easy to prepare, and a delightful addition to a hot day.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pops {{Baking Bytes}}

Sliced bananas spaced with peanut butter, frozen, and dipped with a thin layer of chocolate, they are sweet and satisfying without having the high sugar and calorie contents of more traditional desserts. The stick makes them great for kids and fun for adults, as well as easy to serve at potlucks and barbecues. Stored in a cooler they should be just fine for a few hours during your outside gatherings even during hot weather.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pops {{Baking Bytes}}

As an added bonus, you can easily tailor this recipe to suit your preferences and avoid boredom. If peanut butter or chocolate isn’t your style (or you are concerned for allergies), you can easily substitute almond butter, Nutella, caramel sauce, marshmallow creme, or whatever your heart desires. Drizzle the end result with white chocolate or colored candy melts to fit in with a theme, or roll in chopped nuts for a crunchy addition.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pops {{Baking Bytes}}

My directions make 4-6 servings depending on how high you make your stacks (and how many pieces you eat), but it’s easily scaled to make a bunch at a time. A cookie sheets works great for the initial freezing, and once the chocolate layer is completely frozen you can transfer the lot to an air-tight container or Ziploc for longer term storage. In a sealed container they’ll easily keep frozen and delicious for a few weeks, assuming you haven’t eaten them all yet.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pops {{Baking Bytes}}

Make a quick batch of these today, then check back on Friday morning for a brand new (and adults-only) ice cream recipe.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pops

Makes 4-6 pops

Ingredients

2 medium bananas, ripe
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1/4 cup chocolate chips1
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Directions

  1. Line a plate or small cutting board with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Peel and slice2 bananas into approximately 1/2″ pieces, discarding (eating) rounded ends. Divide into equal stacks.
  3. In a small microwave safe container, microwave peanut butter for 30 seconds. Stir until liquid and smooth. If necessary, heat in additional 10-second intervals.
  4. Gently slide bananas onto Popsicle sticks, dipping (or spooning) peanut butter onto each slice. End with an undipped piece, then carefully place onto parchment paper. You will likely not use all the peanut butter.
  5. Freeze at least two hours.
  6. In a small microwave safe container, heat chocolate chips and coconut oil for 30 seconds. Stir until smooth and completely combined. If necessary, heat in additional 10-second intervals. For ease of dipping, pour into a tall, skinny container (like a champagne flute).
  7. Dip each banana pop into the chocolate, swirling to cover completely. Gently return to parchment paper.
  8. Return to freezer for at least 30 minutes, or until ready to serve.

Notes

For a richer chocolate experience, you can double the amount of chocolate chips simply repeat steps 6-7 to produce a thicker chocolate layer.

Obviously you could skip slicing and just dip banana halves or thirds into peanut butter and then chocolate, but I like the stacks so they end up straighter and able to stand up on end, as well as a higher banana to peanut butter ratio. But if you want to go that route, I certainly won’t judge.

S’mores Ice Cream {National Ice Cream Month}

[Introducing…Frozen Friday! In honor of National Ice Cream Month, each Friday in July, starting today, I will share a new ice cream recipe, enjoy!]

I hope all my United Statesian readers had a wonderful Independence Day, and the rest of you had a wonderful regular ole Monday. I spent the last week+ in Lead, SD visiting M while he works there. We celebrated by watching Independence Day on the 3rd, and going to the Lead fireworks display on the 4th. The movie was a bit better, I must say.

As you may have guessed, I actually meant to have this posted last Friday, but between traveling and working remotely it fell by the wayside. My sincere apologies. There will be a surprise bonus post sometime this month to bring the total up to five.

S'mores Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

In any case, ice cream! Ice cream is one of my favorite things to make and play with new recipes. Partially because it’s really hard to screw it up (even if it doesn’t turn out how you wanted, it’s rarely inedible) and also because it’s one of my favorite desserts. Thinking of new flavors and tinkering with the proportions until it’s what I dreamed in my head is both rewarding and delicious. Admittedly my ice cream consumption is rather higher throughout early summer for this reason, but I consider it a sacrifice worth making. You’re welcome.

S'mores Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

We’ll kick off the month with what might be my new favorite flavor, or definitely at least Top 5: s’mores ice cream. Graham cracker ice cream swirled with homemade chocolate and marshmallow makes for a melt-in-your-mouth s’mores experience – no fire necessary. It has the added bonus of being substantially less messy to make and eat, which is a huge win in my book.

S'mores Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

The ice cream is smooth and creamy with that wonderful Graham cracker flavor. Honestly, it’s delicious all on its own and likely I’ll add it into my usual rotation even without the extras. For a cheater version, you can just top the ice cream with chocolate sauce and marshmallows without making them yourself and doing the swirl. However, I highly recommend doing the whole she-bang. All of the components are simple to make and beginner friendly, and the result is something magical.

S'mores Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

The marshmallow creme was surprisingly easy; I actually expected it to be much more complex. Much like pudding or mousse, however, it’s mostly just heating and stirring things. Not a big deal at all. I’ve always been somewhat freaked out by store-bought marshmallow creme, so having this super easy (and pretty quick) option for ice cream is fantastic. Tastes delicious and doesn’t have anything artificial in it. Yum. I used my go-to chocolate sauce recipe here, but you can substitute your own favorite if you prefer. Just make sure it’s regular chocolate sauce, and not hot fudge, as the latter will freeze too hard.

S'mores Ice Cream {{Baking Bytes}}

Kick your summer up a notch with this s’mores ice cream, sure to be both kid- and adult-approved.

Graham Cracker Ice Cream 

Makes ~6 cups

Ingredients

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup egg substitute
1-2 packages Graham crackers1
1/2 cup brown sugar

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Chill contents in blender in the fridge at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  3. Blend briefly, then freeze according to your ice cream maker’s directions.
  4. Transfer to a freezer-safe bowl to freeze for an additional three hours, or overnight. Or follow s’mores ice cream recipe below.
  5. Top with additional crushed Graham crackers for some extra flair and a little crunch.

Notes

For a milder Graham cracker flavor, use just one package. For a more kapow experience, use up to two. I like a pretty strong flavor, so I use two packages minus two or three crackers that I crush separately and reserve for topping.

Fudge Ripple

Borrowed from Brown Eyed Baker
Makes 1+ cups1

Ingredients

½ cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
½ cup water
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder2

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together all ingredients except vanilla. Cook over medium heat, whisking often, until the sauce comes to a low boil.
  2. Continue cooking for another 2 minutes, whisking almost continuously.
  3. Remove sauce from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and let cool in the pot for several minutes.
  4. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using in ice cream.

Notes

The quantity varies a bit depending on cooking time, in my experience. I used about 1/2 cup in my ice cream and put the rest in the fridge to use later. You can also freeze it but you may need to take it out for a bit before it becomes pourable.

The original recipe calls for Dutch-processed cocoa powder but I just used Hershey’s because that’s what I always have on hand. I used one tablespoon dark cocoa powder and the rest regular.

Marshmallow Creme

Borrowed from Cooking Classy
Makes 1+ cups1

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/8 tsp salt

2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt over medium heat. Continue cooking, whisking occasionally, until mixture has reached 240 degrees.
  2. Meanwhile, add egg white and cream of tartar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip with an electric mixer (I prefer to use a handheld rather than my stand mixer for small amounts like this) on medium-high speed until mixture is fluffy and has soft peaks. If you weren’t already using your stand mixer and whisk attachment, set that up now.
  3. When sugar mixture has come to the correct temperature, remove from heat. Turn your stand mixer to low, and slowly pour hot sugar mixture down the side of the bowl into the egg whites while the mixer is running.
  4. When all the sugar mixture is added, increase speed to medium-high and whip until mixture is glossy and medium peaks form. This will take several minutes.
  5. Scrape the bowl, add vanilla, and continue to whip on medium-high until stiff peaks form.
  6. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.

Notes

This is half the original recipe, and I still had some leftover. It keeps well in the fridge so feel free to double it and have lots of extra for toppings.

S’mores Ice Cream

Ingredients

1 recipe Graham cracker ice cream, chilled but not churned
1 recipe of fudge ripple, chilled
1 recipe of marshmallow cream

Directions

  1. If you haven’t already, place a freezer-safe bowl in the freezer.
  2. Freeze ice cream according to your ice cream maker’s directions.
  3. Transfer about 1 cup of marshmallow creme to a frosting bag or Ziploc, and snip a 1/2″ hole.
  4. Remove bowl from freezer, and drizzle some chocolate sauce on the bottom.
  5. Gently spread about one cup of ice cream into the bowl. Pipe a swirl of marshmallow creme, then drizzle chocolate sauce over the marshmallow cream. Repeat until all ice cream is used up. Tip: end with plain ice cream or just a small drizzle as it could muddle together once you add the lid.
  6. Return bowl to freezer for at least 3 hours, or until ice cream is firm. Serve solo or with additional crushed Graham crackers, marshmallow creme, and/or chocolate sauce for topping.

Baileys Chocolate Mousse

Welcome to March! I personally do not get excited for St. Patrick’s Day, but I do get excited for the Run to the Pub half marathon that precedes it. (And also my birthday.) This year the local race is not only giving us complimentary beer at the finish, which I don’t drink, but also a complimentary cupcake, which I am substantially more excited about.

Baileys Chocolate Mousse {{Baking Bytes}}

In any case, if you are not running a race that gives you “free” dessert afterwards, maybe whip up one of your own. This Baileys chocolate mousse, emphasis on the Baileys, is an easy recipe and sure to please anyone that likes Baileys. And if you don’t like Baileys, I’m not totally sure why you’d be reading this post to begin with.

Baileys Chocolate Mousse {{Baking Bytes}}

Baileys and chocolate is one of my favorite combinations and most of the times I have dinner at Anthony’s in SeaTac airport I get the same thing: the salmon burger, no tomato, followed by a serving of their Baileys chocolate mousse. I have often thought I should learn how to make my own, despite how dangerous that might be for my health, since I don’t travel through SeaTac at nighttime much anymore. Luckily I will be at the end of the this month, and you can be certain I’ll be having my usual. My aunt and traveling running buddy also gets pretty psyched about the mousse situation at Anthony’s, and she’ll be coming to Montana for the Pub run this weekend. I’m guessing she might request I have a batch of this prepared.

Baileys Chocolate Mousse {{Baking Bytes}}

Light and creamy, like eating a Baileys cloud with some chocolate thrown in. I made the recipe twice so I could figure out my own personal preference as to the Baileys and chocolate ratio. The recipe can be made more kapow with the liqueur flavor than the chocolate, or altered slightly to make it more subtle. I’ll leave it up to you to decide. It is absolutely delicious both ways, just depends on what sort of experience you’re looking for this go around. I personally preferred the lower end of the range, but it was delicious with the more in-your-face flavor as well.

Baileys Chocolate Mousse {{Baking Bytes}}

This is a great recipe to bring to a potluck, because you can easily adjust the serving size down to “finger-food” portions, or keep it larger for a sit-down dinner where yours is the only dessert. It would be super cute piped into shot glasses (bonus points if you make them out of chocolate) but works just as well for a more decadent serving size. Top with homemade whipped cream and chocolate shavings for extra points.

Baileys Chocolate Mousse {{Baking Bytes}}

I can’t say this will become a regular in the recipe rotation, mainly because I’m trying to eat healthier, but as far as desserts go it’ll definitely be a top contender.

Baileys Chocolate Mousse

Adapted from Lemon Tree Dwelling
Makes 10-12 half-cup servings

Ingredients

Mousse
1 pouch (2 tsp) unflavored gelatin
2 Tbsp cold water
1/4 cup boiling water

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer dark)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled

1/4-1/2 cup Baileys cream liqueur, chilled
1 tsp vanilla

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Curls/Shavings
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Place the bowl for a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl) and its whisk attachment (or beaters for a hand-held) in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. Place your serving containers in the fridge to chill while you prepare the mousse.
  3. (Measure the Baileys and put it in the freezer to chill if it’s not already cold.)
  4. Sprinkle powdered gelatin over the cold water, let stand one minute, then add boiling water.
  5. Meanwhile, retrieve the chilled mixer bowl and add cocoa powder, sugar, and whipping cream. Whip on high until stiff peaks form.
  6. Reduce mixer speed to “stir” (or stop it entirely) and add the Baileys and vanilla, then gently stir the gelatin mixture to make sure it’s completely dissolved and slowly pour it into the whipped cream.
  7. Whip on low until the liquid is mostly mixed in, then increase to high until medium peaks form.
  8. Spoon or pipe into your serving dishes, then return to the fridge to chill for one hour, or until ready to serve (it keeps in the fridge a few days, but the sooner the better).
  9. Optionally, make some chocolate curls or shavings: melt chocolate chips over a double boiler (or very carefully in the microwave), and then spread thinly onto parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Allow to cool until no longer shiny, and then use a thin plastic utensil to gently scrape it into curls. If the chocolate just mushes together, it’s not cool enough yet, but you can put it in the fridge to speed the process. If it just breaks up a lot without curling at all, it’s too cold. It’s a fine line, especially if your house is as chilly as mine, but personally I find chocolate shavings to be visually pleasing as well, so don’t worry about it too much. When you’ve curled or scraped all your chocolate, put it all into an airtight container and freeze for at least 15 minutes before handling.
  10. Shortly before serving, whip together remaining whipped cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla, until medium-stiff peaks form. Pipe or spoon onto your mousse.
  11. Optionally, top with your chocolate curls or other sprinkles.
  12. Serve immediately or return to the fridge for up to a couple of hours (the stiffer your whipped cream started, the longer it will keep).