Best Recipe: Midnight Almond Mousse

Cook’s notes: This dark chocolate mousse is really extravagant, too rich to be called pudding. You can use any kind of milk (2%, light cream, or half-and-half) instead of the 2 cups heavy cream. Martha’s methodology is excellent here: Warming the eggs with the cream means you don’t have to temper the egg yolks. No extra chocolate chips are needed. Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa powder is a blend of Dutch-process and black cocoas from King Arthur Flour. It is an incredible product.

Serves 6 to 8 (note: keep servings to about 2 oz. Seriously.)

2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons unsweetened Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa powder
4 Tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream (or milk)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure almond extract

In heavy-bottom medium-size saucepan, whisk together cornstarch, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt. Add the milk, and whisk to make a smooth paste. Whisk in the cream (or additional milk) and eggs until combined.

Set pan over medium heat. Whisk slowly and constantly, making sure to scrape sides of pan, until mousse thickens. Allow 7 to 8 minutes. Make sure that the mixture does not ever boil; the mousse thickens quickly after 7 minutes.

Remove saucepan from heat and transfer mousse to a medium bowl. Stir mousse until it starts to cool, about 5 minutes. Stir in almond extract.

You can eat the mousse warm at this point. Cover pudding bowl with a lid and refrigerate until thick and well chilled, about 40 minutes or overnight. To prevent a skin from forming, press a piece of clingfilm plastic wrap directly on the surface of the mousse.

Serving suggestion: Divide mousse into small cups or bowls and top with whipped cream. Or, to be really decadent, use this mousse as frosting on chocolate cupcakes.

Adapted from recipes by Martha Stewart and Recipezaar (Easy Custard, #238798).