Chocolate-Covered Strawberries with Mousse Filling
I never used to be the kind of person that believed it when someone said, “You haven’t LIVED until you’ve tried *X, Y, Z*.” I thought that was just ridiculous. I mean, come on. I’ve lived, okay? I’ve done many an awesome thing that made me think, “Oh wow. Am I really about to do this right now? Yeeeeeah, I’m about to do this right now…” And then moments after doing said activity think, “… me life just flashed before me eyes…”
Whether or not I think in an Irish accent after a near death experience is besides the point. What I’m trying to say is, I was young and naive then. Now I know the truth.
No, you HAVE. NOT. LIVED. until you have tried a Chocolate-Covered Strawberry with Mousse Filling, topped with sea salt.
You just haven’t.
I’m here to guide you into that next phase of life.
I created these after brainstorming recipes for Valentine’s Day. All I knew at that point was that the recipe had to center around chocolate.
The recipes in the mix were Dark Chocolate Molten Lava Cake, Blueberry Dark Chocolate Truffles (a healthier rendition of my favorite truffle in the See’s Candies box my mom would always set out on Valentine’s Day morning), No-Bake Cookies (my husband is currently all about them), and a pretty-in-pink Raw Strawberries N’ Cream Tart.
I took a break to do my annual Valentine’s Day flower shopping, and I kept seeing Chocolate-Covered Strawberries everywhere. I guess it’s the official dessert of V-Day and I just didn’t know it. So I thought, I could use an old dessert I had made (filling strawberries with chocolate mousse) and merge it with the ever-so popular Valentine’s-themed action of dipping them in molten chocolate. Chocolate on the inside and on the outside, makes for a chocolatey recipe indeed!
I think “genius” is a little much, but I appreciate the compliment. 😉
So I created this ridiculously luxurious, chocolate-rich treat that I’d have to trust people to handle. I experimented with 5 toppings. Plain (invisible toppings, if you will), coconut flakes, coconut whipped cream, ground almonds, and, at the last second, sea salt. I had a beautiful, flaked sea salt that I had been itching to use on a dish, so I just thought, why not try it on a couple strawberries here?
PLAIN DARK CHOCOLATE
COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM LINES: Failed due to limited time to refrigerate the coconut cream!
GROUND ALMOND: I ground it in my coffee grinder, so it became very fine like a powder. You can buy the almond bits from the baking aisle if you like more of a chopped texture.
FLAKED SEA SALT: The best topping for these EVER!
On the day I took all the pictures for this recipe, I was tired and kind of in a rush. I was ready to call it a day after I took the post-dipped shots, but I wanted to give you a little peek into what the mousse looked like after a bite was taken. I took a bite, not really thinking about the pleasure of tasting it, but more as a means to an end to show you that inside situation.
I was NOT prepared for the elegant dance of flavors that occurred in my mouth in that moment. Do you remember when that little rat took a bite of cheese plus strawberry, and some psychedelic images danced across the screen while he tried his darndest to explain how the already incredible independent flavors came together to create something even more mind-blowing? Oh, I’m sorry you don’t watch kids movies? Like I do? You’re an adult? Okay well…
The smooth, soft texture of the mousse added to the juicy mouthfeel of the fresh strawberry, the thick dark chocolate gave a deep, rich coco flavor, and the sea salt added the perfect whisper of savory to balance the sweet. The whole experienced opened my eyes to the incredible world of “OH MY GAWD THIS IS INCREDIBLE”. I was blown away.
If you want to try any of the recipes on this site, but you haven’t for whatever the reason – start here. Take a chance. Make this dish. Do it I say!
A little caveat before I go on:
Just know that although this is a plant-based dessert, it is not designed to be eaten all the time. It’s still a “treat” food, albeit a healthier one. The avocado in the mousse and the oils in the dark chocolate contribute good amounts of fat and calories. To put it in real life context, eating two of these in one day isn’t really splurging. That’s a reasonable amount. If you’re looking to treat yo’self (and eat a bit more), this is definitely the better way to do it. They’re made with natural ingredients, with none of the chemicals you would usually find in commercially-produced treats.
Now that we are in the month of February, everyone is thinking about luuuurv. Maybe for you those feelings are about the love you have for your family, your significant other, your friends, your community, your pets, or maybe it’s about the love you have for yourself. Personally, I see the week of February 14th as serious self-care season. It’s a time to reflect and ask, “What can I do to love on myself this new year, during this holiday season?” (I’m thinking better skin-care by the way – what about you?)
Most people I know don’t mind that the holiday is also associated with everyone’s deep love for chocolate. Sometimes, a little treat is good for the soul, and Valentine’s Day seems like as good a time as any to partake in a little chocolate-drenched decadence.
So without further ado, I bring you my baby:
- 2 avocados (make sure they are semi-firm, not mushy, not over-ripe)
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbs raw cacao powder*
- 1/2 cup - 2/3 cup pure maple syrup (grade b is best)*
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (or almond extract if you choose to top them with almonds)
- Pinch of salt (optional)
- 25-30 Strawberries, or 2 rectangular cartons worth (pesticide-free is best)
- 2 cups (or a 10-ounce bag) of dark chocolate (look for one that has no dairy in the ingredients)
- Sea Salt (Coarse or flaked)
- Coconut Flakes
- Ground Almonds (in the baking aisle)
- Make sure your avocados are pure green. If you have any brown or grey spots, or any fibrous pieces growing throughout, remove them or consider using a better avocado altogether. If they are overripe (if they are too mushy or not bright green inside) they will make the mousse taste rancid as the oils in the fruit has started to turn.
- Take the avocados and add their meat to a food processor. Blend them until they are totally smooth. You may need to stop the processor, push the avocado from the sides, and stir a little from time to time.
- Add the cacao powder, 1/2 cup of maple syrup, the extract, and salt. Stir in the cacao powder a little before you turn on the processor. Blend until smooth.
- Taste the mousse and decide if you would like it to be sweeter. Add more maple syrup if you do.
- If you still taste avocado, you may experiment with adding more cacao powder, extract, and/or syrup.
- Once finished, add the mousse to a piping bag, a ziplock bag with one bottom corner cut off (essentially a DIY piping bag), a thin-tipped bottle, or just to a little bowl and set aside for when you put it inside the strawberries. If you don't use a piping bag, you can easily use a knife or spoon to fill the strawberries.
- Wash the berries and pat dry.
- Discard any that are moldy.
- With a paring knife, cut the tops of the strawberries off. Just go straight across.
- With a paring knife or tiny scoop tool, cut out the center of the strawberry. Remove only the white section. Do not remove so much that it makes the outer wall weak. Save the innards for smoothies or just eat them by themselves. Make sure to keep the tops with the strawberry they came from.
- Use a piping tool, spoon, or knife to fill a strawberry with mouse. Try to fill the bottom-most part of the hole as an air-bubble can be trapped. Do not overfill.
- With a blunt knife, skim off the extra mousse from and put the strawberry top back on.
- Do this for each strawberry and set them on parchment or wax paper, on top of a baking sheet (or any moveable flat surface).
- Find a heat-safe bowl and sauce pan that fit well together. The bowl should fit in the saucepan, but not touch the bottom of it.
- Bring an inch of water to a boil in the saucepan.
- Add the chocolate to the bowl and set the bowl so that it is held up by the saucepan.
- Stir the chocolate occasionally as the bowl start to heat and the chocolate starts to melt.
- Remove the bowl from the sauce pan (carefully, with an oven mitt) just before the last few bits melt. They will melt wight he residual hit, and you don't want the already melted bits to burn.
- Add the melted chocolate to a small bowl or mug.
- Put the chocolate in a small bowl or mug. You want it to be deep enough that you can easily dip a strawberry down into the chocolate and cover all sides.
- Microwave on half power for 1 minute. Take it out and stir thoroughly.
- Put the microwave on half power again and set it for 30 seconds. Stir again. It should be melted by now, but if it's not, try again at 10 second intervals at half-power. You do not want to burn the chocolate.
- You won't be using all the chocolate, but you need to have a deep enough well of chocolate to coat the berries adequately.
- Hold the strawberry as high up the berry as possible, and dip it into the chocolate. Try to coat each side. It's isn't necessary to dip it all the way up to where the top - in fact that's nearly impossible and super messy. Halfway to two-thirds of the way up is just fine.
- Place each strawberry back on the baking sheet.
- Dip each berry.
- Once you've finished, wash and dry your hands. As an optional step, you may choose to sprinkle a pinch of sea salt, coconut, or almond on top of the melted chocolate before it sets.
- Put the baking tray in the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes to let the chocolate harden.
- Lasts for about 4 days in the fridge.
- *Maple syrup alternatives - equal amounts of raw, real honey, equal parts agave nectar, or 1.5 packets (1.5 tbs) of stevia powder. For the nutritional value, we encourage using the real maple syrup.
- *Technically you can substitute raw cacao powder with regular unsweetened chocolate powder, but it will not have the same amazing nutritional value. Raw cacao is worth the price, buy it in bulk and treat yourself with raw chocolate smoothies and chocolate banana ice cream.
- In testing, we preferred smaller strawberries to the to large ones because they were easier to eat, but you can decide which size you like. Going to a farmer's market and buying fresh berries that haven't been sprayed in pesticides will result in the healthiest choice.
- *When choosing dark chocolate, going with a kind that is over 70% cacao is typically best. Check the ingredients to make sure it doesn't have any milk or cream as well.