Sunday, August 31, 2014

Book Club Chocolate Mousse Cake

Happily posted by Victoria Abbott, aka Victoria and Mary Jane Maffini

Who doesn’t love book club week?  We are really thrilled to be kicking it off.  We enjoy speaking at book clubs and meeting committed readers. We know that book clubs also care about food.  MJ’s own book club has a rule: there must be chocolate. You might be thinking that the rule might be: you must read the book, but no. There must be chocolate.  We think that’s for all the vitamins and the benefits that chocolate brings to keeping one’s brain sharp.  What?  Oh no, we're sure it does.

Well, at any rate, we are tickled to be here today at this book club, where we’d like to give you a sneak preview of The Wolfe Widow, due out September 2nd.

We’re pretty excited about this book as Jordan, our young sleuth, the researcher for grumpy book collector Vera Van Alst (and the first person in her family to go straight)  is quite head over heels over Archie Goodwin from the Nero Wolfe books. We totally get that. We think the books are fun and Archie’s worth a crush or three. But it’s not all hearts and roses as a large, malevolent visitor from Vera’s past moves into Van Alst House – and Jordan is suddenly and dramatically fired. No job, no accommodations, no special meals, and, it seems, not a friend in the world.  She’s on her own and she’s certain that her boss’s life is in danger and those Nero Wolfe fine first editions are toast. Does that seem fair?   At least there are a couple of loyal pooches in her life and a pair of lockpicks.  So let's hope for the best.

As we did want to stay on your good side, along with that preview we’re bringing our absolutely favorite chocolate dessert and offering you the recipe.

It serves eight to ten and should be enough for everyone. Of course, you might have to make two. It is guaranteed to kick start the conversation. Not that book clubs are ever short of things to talk about.  We love everything about this dessert including that you can make most of it up to two days ahead. 

Book Club Chocolate Mousse Cake

All you need is:

2 tbsp butter, melted
8 oz. Italian chocolate wafer cookies, Hazelnut wafer cookies, or even plain old chocolate wafer crumbs (in a pinch)
9 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (extra to decorate the top)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 ¾ cups whipping cream (35 %)
Pinch of Kosher salt
3 tablespoons (or more) Kahlua.

Grease a springform pan ( 9 inch is best, but ten will work too)
Grind the cookies in food processor until they look like wet sand, and transfer to a bowl and mix in butter. If using cookie crumbs, go directly to bowl and mix in melted butter.  

Press mixture into the pan and chill in refrigerator.  No cooking here!

Combine the CHOPPED chocolate ( MJ forgot to chop it once and it has quite a different result), 1 tsp vanilla and Kosher salt in a bowl.  In a small saucepan, scald ¾ cup of cream ( until you see bubbles starting). Pour over chocolate and let sit for a couple of minutes until chopped chocolate melts.  

 Mix with a wire whip until very smooth. 

 Cover and chill for at least half an hour.
After the chocolate cream mixture has chilled, beat 1 ½ cups of the whipping cream to stiff peaks.  Remove the chocolate mixture from the fridge and fold into the whipped cream until blended, but not over beaten.

Transfer this mixture to the springform pan, being careful not to pull up the cookie crumb base.
Cover and refrigerate. This will keep for up to two days.

Just before serving whip the remaining whipping cream, adding 1 tsp vanilla and the Kahlua.  

 Spread over mousse.  Decorate with shaved chocolate and or your favorite berries.

You will think you are in heaven. 

Thanks for letting us into your book club. We hoped you enjoyed hearing about The Wolfe Widow and that you are rooting for Jordan.

Did you know you can:   Pre-order it here!

We also hope you’ll come by with a comment about the book collector mysteries Tell us if you like books from the Golden Age of Detection.  If you do, you might win THE VERY LAST PUG IN A MUG.  Yes, you might.