I’d like to think that I’m on a constant quest to improve my decisiveness–but I’m not quite sure…HA. All joking aside, making decisions is something with which I have forever struggled. The magnitude of a situation rarely plays a role in my weakness: choosing my vote for which appetizer we order at a family dinner can be just as grueling as deciding which pension plan to select for my new job. Strangely enough, often the most inconsequential decisions bring me the most stress, simply because they demand an immediate answer.
I’d also like to think that baking–in particular, baking for a blog–has helped me in my quest. Recipe development not only lends itself to many decisions; it also presents frequent, unplanned problems that require me to make baking choices and fully run with them, despite having no time to prepare. It took me a LOT of time to become comfortable committing to ideas that I haven’t the least idea will work. The habit is something that continues to make me a bit anxious, but it’s a little easier every time I make a definitive choice while creating a recipe (whether I’m faking the confidence or not).
I’m sure you won’t be shocked at all to hear that this week went absolutely nothing like I’d planned. I started with a detailed idea of the dessert I would create: as usual, it was rather complicated, but I had no backup option upon which I could fall back if things went awry (there are still loads of lessons in baking I haven’t learned). And, as usual, things went awry: the result was nothing like what I’d hoped, and my time to work on the recipe was shortened far beyond what I’d expected due to other plans. Mousse was actually supposed to be just one of many elements in my recipe–a base for a more elaborate masterpiece. But the farther along I got in my efforts, the darker the night grew outside, the more pages my roommate Annie turned in her book as she kept me company, the less my “dessert” looked anything like the image I’d conjured up in my mind.
I’m not kidding, y’all.
What emerged from the freezer after hours of work, the sum of dozens of split decisions for that day–it was HORRIFYING. I swear upon my Pittsburgh Steeler oven mitts that I’m not exaggerating. When I say it was ugly, I’m talking the worst Pinterest baking fails, “Nailed It,” Worst Cooks in America tray of unidentifiable sludge you can imagine. Flavor aside, it was perhaps the least appetizing thing I’d ever allowed to grace one of my cookie sheets.
But remember, I’m working on the whole decisiveness thing–the being o.k. with spontaneity thing. So, as calmly as Stevie Nicks croons from my Spotify playlist on the counter, I scooped up the catastrophe into a container (so as to use the flavor for reference tomorrow), shut the freezer door, and smiled at Annie as if everything had gone just as swimmingly as I’d hoped. Then, I changed my vision (the first and hardest step of making room for decisiveness), and made this mousse the next day.
I hope that my anecdote–aside from giving you a chuckle at my cartoon-like baking life–gives hope to all those suffering with chronic indecisiveness. I assure you, though it can seem like the pain of choosing, of committing, of acting instantly will never let up, you can and WILL learn to overcome it. There–it’s decided. 🙂
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
1 Corinthians 14:33
Mexican Hot Chocolate Mousse (V)
- aquafaba (liquid from 1 can of chickpeas; mine was 15.5 oz.)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- 4 oz. vegan chocolate (I use 10 rectangles of a Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Chocolate Bar)
- 2 tsp vegan brown sugar
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 2 TBSP condensed almond milk (to make condensed almond milk: simmer 1 1/2 cups almond milk and 2/3 cup sugar until reduced to 1/2 cup total, about half an hour. Allow to cool in fridge)
- 1 tsp cinnamon (plus more for dusting)
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- Combine aquafaba and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Begin mixing on high.
- When mixture becomes white and opaque, add sugar gradually, continuing to mix on high speed.
- When mixture is glossy, and stiff peaks form, turn off mixer, and set aside. (Unlike egg whites or heavy cream, you don’t need to worry about over-mixing aquafaba). Scoop out two cups of the “fluff,” and put in a Tupperware in freezer to use as topping on mousse.
- In a glass bowl set over a bowl of boiling water, place chocolate, almond milk, cocoa powder, brown sugar, condensed almond milk, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg.
- Stir all ingredients in the bowl as the chocolate melts. Stir frequently until smooth and until no solid chunks of chocolate remain.
- Remove from heat. Allow to cool in the bowl for a few minutes on the counter or in the freezer until it’s not hot. It’s ok if it’s still warm, just not piping hot.
- Scoop a heaping scoop of “fluff” into the bowl with the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula, gently fold it into the chocolate until almost uniform in color.
- Pour the folded mixture into the bowl with the rest of the “fluff.” Fold it in gently until almost completely uniform in color throughout.
- Pour/scoop mousse into cups, bowls, glasses, or a pan depending on how you’d like to serve it.
- Place in the fridge to set, and enjoy after a few hours! Top with frozen “fluff” and cinnamon as desired. (You can also freeze this mousse, but I find that it’s airiest when you allow it to set in the refrigerator).
NOTE*** For a simpler chocolate mousse, you can make follow this recipe, but use only the chocolate and almond milk in the double boiler and then fold into the “fluff.”