I hope that everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I can't believe how time is flying! Christmas is right around the corner and I still have tons of shopping to do!! I wasn't in charge of Thanksgiving, so I didn't do much by way of cooking/baking this year. We keep trying to scale back, but you know how that goes!
One of the few things I did make was with the guys in mind. They all seem to love raspberry and chocolate. It actually comes in handy when dealing with a group if there is a consensus on flavor combinations. As much as I like raspberry, if there was something involving lemon, coconut, or almond in the vicinity, I would almost always be pulled in that direction.
I have made chocolate cups before, by painting melted chocolate into silicon molds, letting them set and then popping them out. It wasn't until more recently that I saw the technique of blowing up small balloons and dipping them in chocolate. I decided to try that for a change. I had also never used candy melts before. I see them everywhere, so the curiosity finally got the better of me. I took a poll on Facebook, and almost everyone who responded prefers to make molds with chocolate, but: a) I wanted to try the candy melts; and b) I was thinking the candy melts might be a thinner consistency and more forgiving when dipping balloons. Now that I'm thinking about it, I know I've seen different colors of candy melts, but I don't recall if they were different flavors. That might be fun to play around with-lemon chips with a different flavor filling, etc.
Sooooooo, I decided to make chocolate "bowls" and fill them with a raspberry mousse for the guys as one of our desserts. In setting up our list of who would be doing what and when in prep for the holiday (we had company the night before and did a big fondue night - FUN), like who needed the oven and at what temps, for how long and that sort of thing, I decided I could make the bowls ahead of time and get them out of the kitchen/dining room area altogether. I made them a few days early, kept the balloons inflated, and set them out on the back deck in a cake carrier. That way, they stayed cool, kept their shape, were protected from critters, and out of the way.
1 bag chocolate candy melts
12 oz bag frozen raspberries, thawed
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
2 t unflavored gelatin (or raspberry)
1/4 c water
1/4 c sugar
2 c fresh whipped cream
mint leaves for garnish (optional)
In a blender or food processor, puree the frozen berries with most of the fresh berries - reserve enough of the fresh to garnish however many bowls you will be making. Because this is a mousse, rather than something you will be really chewing on, I did not find it necessary to remove the seeds, but if you are particularly sensitive to seeds, you might want to press the puree through a strainer.
Over medium heat, dissolve the gelatin in the water, then remove from heat and stir in the raspberry puree. Feel the bottom of the pan to make sure the puree cooled it down sufficiently, then fold in the whipped cream and chill for a few hours to set. You can make the mousse a day or two ahead of time as well, but I wouldn't advise doing it much further ahead than that, or the cream will start breaking down and getting watery.
For the bowls, I just melted the candy melts in a wide-mouth measuring cup, dipped the washed/inflated balloons and set them on waxed paper. When I was getting ready to assemble, I took the mousse out of the fridge to loosen up, deflated and removed the balloons, spooned in the mousse, and topped each with a few berries and a sprig of mint.