Chocolate + Rum = Snow Day Dessert

I don't need to tell those of you who live in the Pacific Northwest that we've been having some weather lately. For those of you who haven't experienced the sweet chaos that is a Seattle snow day, I'll just leave this link here as background. Now, because I live on the top of a very high hill and because I was raised to be highly suspicious of any kind of inclement weather (you'd never know I'm the daughter of a Vermont native), I spent most of the week snowbound in my apartment. My company's campus was closed but thanks to the laptops we're all thoughtfully provided, work continued! I'm not a huge fan of working from home and three days was plenty to tide me over for quite some time. Despite my relative stranding and mountains of work, I did manage to get out for some snow-angel-making and sledding (that's still socially acceptable for adults, right?). By the time Friday rolled around, the snow was melting but the roads were just crummy enough that I lost half my Friday Dinner attendees. No matter! That just meant more chocolate-rum mousse for the hearty souls who trekked their way to my apartment. I don't recall how I came across this recipe but I reasoned that if the New York Times saw fit to print it in 1966 then it was probably worth trying. The recipe sounded a bit strange but it was easy to make and only required me going to the store for milk since I had everything else on hand. I have to say, it turned out to be exactly what everyone needed to get over our cabin fever. I will modify it a bit next time though, because it was a little too knock-your-socks-off boozy. The recipe calls for the mousse to be served with whipped cream and I decided to add a chewy cherry cocoa cookie (CCCC for short?) using this amazing recipe and adding chopped dried cherries instead of chocolate chips. I also took liberties with the garnish and sprinkled unsweetened shredded coconut on top because, well, coconut is delicious and bonus points because it looked like snow. I like to think Martha Stewart would be proud.

Mousse Ingredients:

1/4 cup cold whole milk

3/4 cup boiling whole milk

1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin

6 tablespoons dark rum

1 large egg

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup (approx. 6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup heavy cream

2 ice cubes

Whipped Cream Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Put the cold milk and gelatin in a blender to soften and blend at a low speed to combine. Add the boiling milk and blend until the gelatin is dissolved. Next, add the rum, egg, sugar, and salt. Blend at a high speed and add the chopped chocolate until smooth. Add the cup of cream and ice cubes, continuing to blend until the ice cubes are liquified. Pour into a serving bowl or individual dishes (this serves about 8) and chill at least a few hours or overnight. Whip the cream and vanilla before serving.

Note that I used 2 cups of half-and-half instead of 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of cream (hey, it worked) and I used dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet. Next time, I will use only 4 tablespoons of rum and add a few more ounces of chocolate. However, several dinner attendees loved it just the way it was so, to each their own - and no judging!

Happy Molding!