White chocolate, refreshing peppermint, cream cheese and whipped cream combine for a rich, light textured dessert for the holidays. This creamy mousse, piped into two-ounce ramekins, is a small indulgence that’s big on taste and satisfaction. Just enough to satisfy the end-of-dinner sweet tooth following a holiday meal.
Sweet Temptation & Inspiration
Sweet temptations seem to be everywhere this time of year. If you eat healthy most of the time, a little splurge won’t have a big impact. After all, eating is not purely about calories and nutrition; it’s also about enjoyment and celebration. You just have to be smart about it.
White chocolate mousse is a standard for my catered holiday parties. It’s always a hit. My recipe tasted great, but I wanted something a little more stiff for piping. A friend and fellow personal chef, Deb Spangler, gave me the idea to add cream cheese for body. It was just what it needed.
Next, I was running through Trader Joes and a gal was handing out samples of something white chocolate with peppermint flavor. Bingo! I love it when inspiration hits. The perfect new twist on white chocolate mousse.
For the peppermint flavor, use a quality peppermint extract like Boyajian. When you top this mousse with a sprinkle of crushed peppermint candies, it’s pretty visually and tastes even better. I also use Peppermint Snow from Williams-Sonoma for added peppermint flavor and a little crunch. If it’s not available, you could make your own by crushing good peppermint candies in a heavy zip bag with a rolling pin.
On to the white chocolate. Purchasing a top quality brand will make a big difference. I like to use the French brand, Valrhona. They make 35% cacao white chocolate (bar or coins) that is sweet and creamy. It’s available at Whole Foods, better grocers, some cooking stores and online.
But wait, is white chocolate really chocolate? It depends on whom you ask. Purists will argue that it’s not really chocolate. It does taste different, to be sure. You decide for yourself. I just know it tastes terrific in this recipe.
How to Make Mousse
To make the mousse, start by slowly melting the white chocolate with a little unsalted butter over a barely simmering double boiler. To create one, place a medium saucepan filled with a few inches of water over medium heat. When the water starts to simmer, place a stainless steel bowl on top of the pan with the chocolate and butter and turn heat to low. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. This gently melts the chocolate and butter. Do it too fast and your chocolate will be grainy.
After the white chocolate and butter are melted and cooled, follow the recipe to finish the mousse. It’s easy to make. Chill for a few hours. It can be made a day ahead as well. To pipe, follow directions at this post.
One more note – the peppermint extract and peppermint snow would make terrific homemade peppermint ice cream as well.
White Chocolate Peppermint Cream Cheese Mousse with Peppermint Snow
Serves: 6-8 in small 2 ounce ramekins
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 ounces good quality white chocolate, like Valhrona
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, well chilled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
- 1 tablespoons agave syrup
- a pinch of salt
- 6 ounces lite cream cheese
- Peppermint Snow, from Williams-Sonoma (or good quality peppermint candies, crushed fine)
- Red sugar sprinkles, optional (for more color)
- Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water to set up a double boiler. Place butter and white chocolate in a stainless steel or glass bowl that will fit partially inside the pan. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. When the water comes to a strong simmer, place the bowl on top and turn the heat down to low. You want to slowly melt the chocolate and butter together. It will take just a few minutes. When it’s melted together, stir and remove from the heat. Allow to cool.
- In a separate bowl or container whip the cream to stiff peaks. Add the peppermint extract, agave syrup and salt.
- In the bowl with the cooled white chocolate, add the cream cheese and whip until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream by hand. Cover and chill for a few hours to stiffen up before serving if you are piping. Otherwise it can be served soft. Small 2 ounce ramekins work well. At serving, sprinkle with the peppermint snow. Red sugar crystals are optional for more color.
Other helpful links and information:
Star or French tips (with a nice photo showing them) and baking supplies on the web at The Ultimate Baker
Ateco disposable 18″ disposable piping bags, package of 10
Ateco 18″ disposable pastry bags also available at Sur La Table (set of 10)
The Breville handheld immersion blender with whisk attachment and comfortable hand grip is a handy tool that makes whipping cream easy, at Sur La Table.
Classic white 2 ounce round porcelain ramekins, from Amazon via my affiliate link. These are handy for lots of things.
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