Healthy vegan chocolate mousse
Healthy vegan chocolate mousse
I’m so excited to share this recipe with you that I could hardly wait 🙂 . When I set out to attempt this – no chocolate, no sugar – aquafaba-based vegan mousse, I was pretty sure it would be a massive fail and the only consolation was that I could simply freeze the collapsed leftovers and have it as ice-cream when the desire for something sweet strikes me all of a sudden.
I made it in the evening and chilled it in the fridge overnight. I was so surprised to wake up the next day and find the mousse to be perfectly airy and fluffy. I had to try it immediately even though I never eat sweet stuff until after lunch. The taste test confirmed that the flavours needed more tweaking, but I knew I was onto something special, something I have not seen done before.
Even Duncan, who was very sceptical at first, grew really keen by the time I was done with it. This mousse is light and airy and has a rich chocolate hazelnut flavour, inspired by my recent Ferrero Rocher recipe, which so many of you liked. It also happens to make really nice vegan ice-cream 🙂 .
I feel I need to say something about the recipe title. I really struggled with finding a name that does this creation justice. While it isn’t a diet food, it is a way healthier alternative to the classic aquafaba-based mousses out there as it uses only whole food ingredients that wouldn’t be amiss in a breakfast smoothie bowl, for example. At the same time, it tastes rather indulgent and if I didn’t tell you what’s in it you would never guess that it’s based on a sweet potato and a nut butter.
When we released a video to accompany our original chocolate mousse recipe, it became clear to us that many of you would rather see an even healthier version of this vegan dessert. At the time, I was convinced that it couldn’t be done – I didn’t think that cacao powder and aquafaba could work successfully together as cacao powder was known to turn stiff aquafaba into a chocolatey puddle.
Well, perhaps it’s the combination of ingredients or the order in which they are added to the aquafaba, I thought. My head was suddenly awash with ideas and I had to give it a go. I went for a delicious combo of smooth nut butter and sweet potato mash as I knew the flavours will work with chocolate not against it. They work so well in fact that the end result had me skipping for joy and I hope it will put a big smile on your face too.
Once I cracked the recipe, the only remaining challenge was to be able to photograph this puppy well enough to convert the sceptics, as I’m sure that some of you may be scrunching their noses up at the very concept. Don’t dismiss it before trying, please – Duncan wasn’t at all keen on my first attempt and now I have him fighting me for photoshoot leftovers 😉 .
The trouble with photographing this puppy was that we are currently bang in the middle of a week long heatwave with temperatures reaching 43° C (109° F) and as soon as I took a perfectly airy teaspoon of the mousse out of the glass, it melted right in front of my eyes. A single photo of the mousses texture took me almost 2 days to take. So if you want to enjoy the airy texture of this puppy, don’t take a leaf out of my book and refrain from making this dessert on the hottest day of the year 🙂 .
- 1 cup mashed sweet potato (approx. 225 g / 0.5 lb sweet potato)
- 120 ml / ½ cup smooth 100% natural hazelnut butter*
- 50 g / ½ cup cacao powder
- 6 tbsp maple syrup**, more to taste
- 120 ml / ½ cup aquafaba / chickpea brine
- ½ tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
- To cook your sweet potato, set up a bamboo steamer over a pot of gently simmering water. Slice your potato into 1.5 cm / 0.5 ” slices and steam for about 20 minutes (until very tender). Cool before proceeding.
- Place cooked (peeled) sweet potato and hazelnut butter in a food processor. Process until very smooth and well combined, then add cacao powder and process until smooth. If you want to sweeten the mousse with dates, process the dates and sweet potato first, then add hazelnut butter and cacao. Please be aware that dates won’t produce an end result quite as smooth as with maple syrup.
- If using maple syrup, add maple syrup to the sweet potato, cacao and nut butter mixture. Process until smooth.
- Place aquafaba in a clean (that’s very important as any grease residue will prevent aquafaba from foaming) glass or metal bowl. Add vinegar (or lemon juice). Whip it until you achieve stiff peaks – you should be able to invert the bowl and the whipped aquafaba should not budge an inch, if it does it means that it hasn’t been whipped enough.
- Fold whipped aquafaba into the chocolate mixture until the two are well incorporated. The mixture will deflate a fair bit, don’t worry, that’s normal. Spoon the mixture between 4 small glasses (my ramekins hold 180 ml / ¾ cup each) and place in the fridge for 8 hours (or overnight) for the mousse to set.
**Instead of maple syrup, you could also use softened dates (amount to taste) processed with the sweet potato mixture, but this will result in a mousse that is less smooth as dates are quite fibrous. To soften dates, plunge them in boiling water for 20 minutes, squeeze the excess water out and process with cooked sweet potato until smooth, before adding nut butter and cacao and processing some more.
I really am looking forward to making this, but I have a "nut and seed butter" which is a blend of cashews, almonds, chia seeds, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and hazelnuts. Aside from the taste (which I'm okay with) do you think this would work in the recipe as there are bits of chia seeds which cause it to not be totally smooth? Is the smoothness of the butter a texture thing for the pudding, or will it not turn out fluffy due to the bits? I have almonds and a Vitamix, so I could make my own almond butter, but I've never done that before and would rather use what I have.
Also, because the seed and nut butter is natural, it's pretty oily. Will that deflate my peaks or is this oil act differently from grease? Sorry for all the questions. I can't wait to make this!!!! Thanks!
I cannot be 100% sure as I have not tried this kind of butter, but I am pretty sure it will work well enough. It's a good question about oil but I think that once the aquafaba has been whipped it is less sensitive to it, which is why it stays stable if folded in gently and after stiff peaks have been achieved. Hope that helps! Ania
I'm not sure as I have not tried making it without it. Your mousse may not end up the right texture if you skip it although you are welcome to try, of course! Good luck! Ania
I want to try this recipe but don't eat sweet potatoes, could I use any alternatives to replace it?
I haven't tried making it with any alternatives so I'm not sure. Sweet potatoes are pretty crucial for texture here, but possibly bananas or silken tofu will work. Hope that helps! Ania
Not sure if you have any thoughts on that?
My wife and I still thought it tasted great but I probably could have dipped strawberries into it :-)
Two things that can make the mousse lose its airy-ness are: aquafaba not reaching stiff peaks (did you do my turn the bowl upside down to check?) or maybe incorporating chocolate mixture into aquafaba was too vigorous and it knocked the air out. It needs to be done slowly and gently. I'm glad to hear you still enjoyed it though. As with everything else, working with aquafaba takes a few goes to master. Hope it comes out fluffier next time! Ania
Would a flax egg work instead of the aquafaba?
I have not tried so I don't know for sure, but I don't think flax egg would whip into stiff foam like aquafaba (and egg whites) does. Worth giving it a shot if are curious! Ania
It looks amazing! Looking forward to make it for my vegan friend :)
Yes, lemon juice would work equally well (same amount), but I'm no sure about carob powder. I have never used it so cannot guarantee it will work the same way. Hope it does! Ania
I've tried it with carob powder. Worked just fine :) It was very delicious!
Aw, thank you for kind words. For this recipe, it's really quick (especially if you add acid) as it's a small amount. With a hand-held whisk it took me about 5 minutes total (I use homemade AF, but I don't think that matters). Hope that helps! Ania
This looks so delicious - I'll definitely give it a go very soon and report back xx
I am sure that peanut butter will be fine but it will alter the taste of the dessert obviously. I actually made my own hazelnut butter and it was fine. I do have have a very old machine with a blade that's a bit knackered so I could detect tiny hazelnut particles in my mousse but it didn't bother me. If you have a newer food processor (mine is 6 years old cheap Kenwood), you'll be able to achieve a much smoother finish. Hope that helps! Ania
Yes, my chocolate mousse has a peanut buttery flavor which is yummy but hazelnut would have been great... You convinced me to make my own hazelnut butter though - it will even be cheaper than buying. My food processer is a cheapo one from Lidl but it will get the job done. Btw I made the chocolate mousse this morning but it doesn't have the nice air pockets yours does. I think that I may not have whipped the AF long enough or I should have reduced the AF more (I freeze it in an ice cube tray and sometimes don't know what type it is ;)) but the texture is very creamy and lovely so far (it's been chilling for 3 hrs so far) so I'm looking forward to having it in the evening :)
Ps: I entered you in the contest yesterday - good luck!
Yes, your food processor should cope for sure - just make sure you buy roasted hazelnuts - flavour is waaaay nicer and you don't have to go to the trouble of roasting them yourself :)
As for the mousse, I will tell you what Duncan tells me: 'patience grasshopper' when I'm fretting that something hasn't yet set the way I was expecting ;) give it more time! I didn't reduce my AF for this application at all, but I did whip it so stiff that I was able to invert the bowl over my head and it didn't even budge a millimetre. Hope you'll be happy with the result.
I'm bookmarking this for a later date, with the start of summer I've been over indulging on ice-cream and dessert so itll be good to have a healthier version to fall back on!
Best part for me right now is all ingredients are on hand...I guess I HAVE to make this!!
Zaglosowalam, mam nadzieje ze wygracie. Dziekuje za wspaniale przepisy!!!