Belated because near the end of Alex’s party on Sunday, when nearly everyone was gone anyway, we had the mother of all thunderstorms, got 2 inches of water in 30 minutes (sending our creek into flash flood), and had a big power surge, which, while we did not lose power, totally destroyed our internet box. Right before John went out of town to another conference, no less.
Because we are new to owning a creek and not very sensible, we actually went down to look at it. This tree trunk, which is alive and growing across the creek, normally forms a natural bridge across the creek about 2 feet above the water. Yeah we quickly figured out we needed to vacate the premises and went back to the house.
Most of the kids sat with Alex for dessert. She seriously enjoyed being the center of attention, I could tell. Who wouldn’t? 😉 We adults were all quite amused at how they all sat facing one direction.
For dessert we served these wonderful little mousse cups. I thought worms in dirt would be fun for the kids, but I really detest pudding, so I made my own up, layering milk chocolate mouse on the bottom, followed by a really good whipped cream, followed by crushed chocolate wafers and gummy worms. Nothing fancy, but really, really good. This mousse recipe is my absolute favorite since it cannot be beat for ease of preparation.
Milk Chocolate Mousse
*Medrich notes that this method (same amounts of ingredients) also works for white chocolate, but advises against it for dark chocolate.
9 oz milk chocolate (I used Guittard 38% cacao–Scharffenberger is my favorite but the wallet would not stretch that far since I quadrupled this recipe)
6 T water (or half water and half liqueur of choice–I used all water because of the kids)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Place the chocolate and water in a heat proof bowl. Either melt over a double boiler or in the microwave at 30% power for 3 minutes. Stir until completely melted and smooth and set aside to cool. The chocolate must cool to about 85 F (Medrich notes a small dab on the lip should feel cool; I used a thermometer)–do not let it cool lower than 85 F as the mousse will end up grainy. When the mousse is getting close to 85 F, it is time to fix the cream.
Whip the cream in a medium bowl “only until it is thickened and barely beginning to hold a shape–when you tilt the bowl it should flow to one side, fluffy but still pourable…”–I have quoted Medrich here as she emphasizes that you will think the cream is not whipped enough but it is and she is right. It should barely be whipped.
Scrape the cream into the 85 F bowl of chocolate and quickly but gently fold the 2 together until they are completely blended. The mousse should seem too soft–it still needs to chill. Divide it up between your serving glasses or bowls (or leave it in one big bowl) and chill until set. This will be at least an hour for individual servings, more for a large bowl. I chilled mine overnight.