We all know the biggies: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, 4th of July. Then, there’s Memorial Day and Labor Day, which I used to get mixed up, until I realized that Memorial Day is in May, and both start with “m”. If you get them mixed up, too, maybe that will help. And then, of course, there’s Hallmark, I mean, Valentine’s Day. And the holiday that’s just around the corner, Halloween.
However, a little digging online will reveal that just about every day of the year offers something to celebrate. Many days offer several things to celebrate.
Today is Saturday, October 28. According to Days of the Year, it is
- Make a Difference Day
- Animation Day
- Hug a Sheep Day (really???)
- Plush Animal Lover’s Day
If you check out Punchbowl, you’ll see that it is also National Chocolate Day! ...And Wild Foods Day and Global Champagne Day.
Let’s see, you can hug a stuffed sheep, and put a note around it’s neck that says, ‘You’re special!’ and give it and a box of chocolate-covered nuts away to someone who could use a happy thought, thus Making a Difference, and sit down with a glass of Champagne while watching an animated video. (Here’s one of my favorites and if you want a selection, check out this recap.) That should cover all the celebrations, I think. Whew!
If you want to narrow your focus, however, may I suggest simply celebrating National Chocolate Day? And, what is more chocolate-y than chocolate mousse?
So, in the spirit of celebration, I offer this amazing Chocolate Mousse recipe.
First of all, when you taste it, you won’t believe it, but this recipe is vegan, adds no extra sugar and only requires 4 ingredients. Garnishing ingredients are extra, like cocoa nibs (Sprouts carries chocolate-covered cocoa nibs that are quite tasty. So does Trader Joe’s.)
Wait, you might say. How can chocolate mousse be vegan when it requires egg yolks and whipping cream? Well, this recipe doesn’t require any of that. It has a secret ingredient: aquafaba.
Aquafaba is the juice from a can of garbanzo beans (aka: chickpeas). No, I’m not kidding. According to the Official Aquafaba website, "The word aquafaba is the common name for the cooking liquid of beans and other legumes like chickpeas. You may know it as the typically discarded liquid found in retail cans and boxes of beans, or as the liquid left over from cooking your own.
"Aquafaba can be used to replace egg whites in many sweet and savory recipes. Its unique mix of starches, proteins, and other soluble plant solids which have migrated from the seeds to the water during the cooking process gives aquafaba a wide spectrum of emulsifying, foaming, binding, gelatinizing and thickening properties.”
True confession: I’m not vegan, and I have no desire to be vegan. Heck, I couldn’t care less if the produce I buy is organic or not. I do, however, love food that tastes good, and this recipe matches that criteria. The fact that it’s vegan just gives me bragging rights with my more-discriminating friends.
Another nice thing about aquafaba is that there are only about 32 calories per can, assuming that one can of chickpeas will yield approximately 3/4 can of aquafaba. That’s less than 3 calories per TBS. And this recipe adds no extra sugar. So the only calories are really from the chocolate.
I found this recipe at the Chocolate and Zucchini website. I have made a few preparation changes, but the ingredients are about the same. To make this recipe really special, you’ll want to use good chocolate. I used a mix of the Guittard 64% Cacao and Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar.
Aquafaba Chocolate Mousse
Aquafaba from 1 can of chickpeas
Dark chocolate, probably at least 62% cacoa
1/4 tsp. Cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. Fine grain salt
1 TBS chocolate covered cocoa nibs, optional
You probably noticed that I didn’t include measurements for the aquafaba or the chocolate. That’s because every can is a little different.
1. Pour out the aquafaba from the can of chickpeas into a measuring cup. That will give you your base amount.
2. Measure the chocolate in an amount equal to the to the aquafaba. I tend to err on the side of adding a little extra chocolate. (you could also weigh it).
3. Place the chocolate in a large glass measuring cup or bowl. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. If it is not melted in 2 minutes, continue heating until it is fully melted. Let cool slightly.
4. Place the aquafaba in a large mixing bowl. Add the cream of tartar and salt. Mix on high until soft peaks form.
5. Take about 1/3 of the beaten aquafaba mixture and stir into the chocolate.
6. Take another 1/3 of the beaten aquafaba, but this time fold it into the aquafaba mixture. Do not stir it, because that will ruin the light and airy texture.
7. Do the same with the final 1/3 of the beaten aquafaba mixing just until it is incorporated with the chocolate.
8. Divide into serving cups. It is very rich, so you may want to use small portions. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
9 Garnish with cocoa nibs if desired.