Almond Chocolate Mousse…to Quell a Craving

June 22, 2009


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My grandmother had a variety of addictions—who wouldn' t after surviving two world wars and The Great Depression? Until she passed at age 87, she began each day with a glass of Scotch and drank until the sandman replaced her hiccoughs with slumber. She smoked at least a pack of Winstons a day. She played cards like a shark. When I was five years old she deemed me mature enough to learn Gin rummy. We played late into the night, gambling for chocolate chips.

Yes, among other things, my grandmother was a self-professed chocoholic. According to her son in law (my father) it was the only addiction she admitted to—ironic since she was actually quite measured in her cocoa consumption. She ate chocolate every day, but in modest quantities… damn aesthetic quantities compared to the amount of booze, tobacco and gambling she indulged in daily.


Well apparently, her chocoholism was genetic. I' m not much of a drinker—although that may depend on whom you ask—and I don' t smoke or play cards much anymore, but I do eat chocolate every day, and not in moderate amounts. Last January I gave it up for a month to see if life would be worth living. IT WAS NOT. (Picture me pouting, stomping my foot and pointing a finger of blame at my loved ones, repeating the phrase.) Indeed, my abstinence lasted the full 30 days, though close friends have since told me that, not only was life not worth living for me, it was also hardly worth living for them—so downright bratty, so terrifyingly monstrous did I become.

Ladies, you know the feeling. It probably strikes you every 21 days or so. Without a bit of chocolate you feel as though your insides will literally drop out and you might attack an idiot bystander like a ravenous she-wolf lunging at a deaf, dumb and blind jackrabbit. It' s a strange hormonal mixture of famine and spite: stand between my estrogen and the chocolate, and you' re a damn fool in physical peril.


I have a slightly tempered version of that feeling all the time, but nearing the full moon I really must be mindful to keep plenty of cocoa-based comestibles close at hand. Nevertheless, chocoholism must be treated with caution. I can' t go around eating mass-quantities of Phish Food and Butterfinger bars, and expect to fit into my pretty sundresses, if you know what I mean.

So, I find healthier ways to incorporate chocolate into my life. This keeps both my murderous tendencies and my gut at bay while satisfying even the severest cases of choco-lust. I recently came upon a truly decadent dessert, eaten in small spoonfuls and with good conscience. I am living proof (and so are my friends and neighbors) that even a rapacious craving can be quelled with a vegan dessert.

Yes, believe that.


Almond Chocolate Mousse

(adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

½ c chocolate soy milk
1 ½ c semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ c amaretto
12 oz silken tofu
¼ tsp almond extract
¼ tsp vanilla extract
kosher salt
slivered almonds (for garnish)

Heat soymilk in a saucepan until simmering then cover and let stand.

Melt chocolate chips in a double broiler. Add warm soymilk to hasten the process.

Blend or food-process melted chocolate, soymilk, tofu, amaretto and extracts until smooth, adding a pinch of salt to taste.

Divide into six small cups and chill for at least 2 hours for best results. (Or make 1 big batch, depending on the severity of your condition.)

Top with slivered almonds and serve.

The next time I make this recipe I may add some peppermint oil and garnish with a few mint leaves. May also try making some of Heidi Swanson' s Thin Mints to sit upon the side.

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