A Comfort Food—Authentically American

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

What would we do without our comfort foods? Well, we would be far less comfortable around the dining room table. Comfort Foods are prepared in a traditional manner and usually have a nostalgic or sentimental appeal. They are often simply easy-to-eat, easy-to-digest, filling and rich in calories, nutrients or both. Comfort Foods come and go in popularity often affected by the financial climate. Most often in America Comfort Foods have a nostalgic element either to an individual, region or a specific culture like meatloaf, macaroni and cheese and, of course, chocolate—Choclatique Chocolate. Comfort Foods pique emotions to relieve the negative psychological effects of stress or to increase positive feelings.

Comfort Foods have been the subject of many studies since the term was first coined in 1977. College-students divide Comfort Foods into four categories—nostalgic foods, indulgence foods, convenience foods, and physical comfort foods.

In one study of American Comfort Food preferences, males preferred warm, hearty, meal-related comfort foods (such as steak, casseroles and soup), while females instead preferred comfort foods that were more snack related (such as chocolate and ice cream). In addition, younger people preferred more snack-related comfort foods compared to those over 55 years of age. The consumption of Comfort Foods is triggered by positive emotions in men, and by negative emotions in women. The stress effect is particularly pronounced among college-aged women.

The recipe below is an Authentically American Comfort Food dessert that will trigger only the most beneficial emotions in men and women—both young and old and has the comfort elements of chocolate and peanuts.

Silky Chocolate Mousse with Peanut Butter Crunch

If you love the ”comforty” combination of chocolate and peanut butter you will fall in lust with this luscious, elegant, rich milk-chocolate dessert mousse crowned with a roasted-peanut cream and an addictively crunchy cornflake topping mixed with peanut butter, milk chocolate and peanuts.

Ingredients for the Peanut Cream:

3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon water
1-1/3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped
3 ounces Choclatique Snowy White Chocolate, chopped

Ingredients for the Mousse:

2-3/4 cups heavy cream
1-1/2 pounds milk chocolate, chopped
3 1/2 ounces Choclatique Midnight Unsweetened Baking Chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
9 large egg yolks

Ingredients for the Crunch:

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 ounces Choclatique Prestige Milk Chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 cups cornflakes, lightly crushed
1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts, chopped

Directions for the Peanut Cream:

  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer with the chopped peanuts. Let the peanuts and cream stand off the heat for 15 minutes. Strain the peanut cream into a medium bowl; discard the chopped peanuts. Wipe out the saucepan, add back the cream and bring to a simmer.
  3. Off the heat, whisk in the gelatin and chopped white chocolate until melted and well blended. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate the peanut cream until it is set, about 2 hours.

For the Mousse:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the cream just until boiling. Put the milk chocolate and unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl and add the hot cream. Let stand until melted, then whisk until very smooth; let it cool.
  2. In another small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer beat the egg yolks at high speed until smooth and pale yellow. Slowly pour in the hot sugar syrup while beating at high speed; be careful not to pour the syrup directly onto the beaters. Beat until the mixture is cool, pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate mixture until no streaks remain. Cover the mousse with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 1-1/2 hours.

For the Crunch:

  1. Line a medium baking sheet with wax paper. In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, melt the peanut butter and chocolate at high power at 30-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Stir in the cornflakes and peanuts and spread the mixture on the baking sheet in a 1/2-inch layer. Freeze until firm, about 1-1/2 hours. Chop into small pieces.
  2. Spoon the mousse into 8 glasses or small serving bowls and top each with a scoop of the peanut cream. Sprinkle with the peanut crunch and serve.

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