Dairy-free Chocolate Mousse

I’ll start by being upfront. A chocolate mousse recipe that simply skips the dairy, this is not. Where a traditional mousse recipe calls for eggs and chocolate, for whisking and melting, this calls for fruit, cocoa powder and a food processor. So if you’re after something traditional in either ingredients or techniques, I’ll soon be leading you astray. But if you’re looking for something that offers up the smoothness and chill of mousse without relying on cream, chocolate or complex techniques, then good news: we’re well on the road to success!

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The method is simple: avocados, bananas, cocoa powder and a handful of other ingredients are blended until smooth, then chilled until delicious. It was introduced to me by my sister and brother-in-law, who came across it while searching for new dessert options after pregnancy forced my sister to take a temporary hiatus from chocolate and dairy. And though the initial results tasted like they might be better served with dinner, they continued to experiment, tweaking the ingredients with dessert in mind.  

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So is it tasty? Quite simply, yes. The texture isn’t as airy as a traditional mousse, but it’s impressively rich and creamy nonetheless. And the flavours are so balanced that even friends with trained palettes couldn’t pick out the individual ingredients, aside from the cocoa. 

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Though we have a long history in North America of trying to coax decadence out of good-for-you ingredients (think: decades of zucchini cake and of hiding vegetables in meat loafs), I figured that this dessert was still too far out there to have mass appeal. But this past week, my brother-in-law made it for my parents, regular dessert eaters who have plenty of experience with the classic chocolate mousse my sister would make as a teenager. And both of them – my mom, the chocolate fanatic, and my dad, the self-stated eschewer of fruit – asked for seconds. And then asked that we make it again.

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Dairy-Free Chocolate Mousse
Makes 5-6 half-cup servings (and doubles easily)
Recipe courtesy of Rob

Ingredients
2 ripe avocados, cut into quarters (pits and peels removed)
1/2 a ripe banana
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 tbsp coconut milk
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 pinch of salt

Directions

In the bowl of a large food processor, blend avocados until smooth. 

Toss in all of the remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor bowl with a spatula partway through. 

Give the mousse a taste, adjusting with more cocoa powder, coconut milk or maple syrup, a 1/2 tbsp at a time, to suit your taste. Make sure to blend after each addition. 

Transfer the mousse to a bowl and refrigerate, covered, until chilly. Give it a good stir and dish it out, topping with diced strawberries, cacao nibs, or anything else you deem tasty. 

I’d say you’re best to consume the mousse within 2-3 days of making it, but I can’t be sure – it’s never lasted that long around here!

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