Chocolate Mousse

My friend Cherry tried a chocolate mousse recipe that called for special European chocolate that has to be imported from France.  Her mousse was very good, but having to import chocolate is too complicated for me.  I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips in this recipe from Cooks Illustrated with excellent results.  The advantage of easily-sourced chocolate is that you can make chocolate mousse any time you want.  The disadvantage of easily-sourced chocolate is exactly the same.  C'est la vie!

Chocolate Mousse
Adapted from The New Best Recipe by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated
Serves 6-8

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 Tblsp unsalted butter
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (gluten-free)
3 tsp Kahlua
4 large eggs, separated
2 Tblsp sugar
1/2 cup chilled heavy cream

Melt the chocolate in a medium glass bowl in the microwave for 2 minutes at 50% power.  Stir and microwave for another minute at 50%.  Cut the butter into 1 tablespoon pieces and whisk into the melted chocolate one piece at a time until melted.  Add the salt, vanilla, and Kahlua and stir.  Whisk in the egg yolks one at a time until well combined.  Set the mixture aside.

Microwave the egg whites in a medium glass bowl at 50% power in until just warm to the touch, about 30-45 seconds. Beat the whites with an electric mixer at medium speed until soft peaks form.  Raise the mixer speed to high and slowly add the sugar.  Whisk a quarter of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites.

Whip the cream to soft peaks.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the mousse.  Spoon the mousse into 6-8 small ramekins or serving dishes.  Cover each one with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.  (Can be made 24 hours ahead.)