Whooaaahhh December! Hold your horses, er reindeer… just seriously, slowwwww down! Christmas is only 16 days away and that fact has me in a happy sort of panic. I just love this time of year, the lights, the smells, the food, the family, the hoopla! The days leading up to Christmas seem to go by faster and faster as I get older.
Every year I try to put less pressure on myself this time of year. Pressure to pick out all the perfect gifts, to decorate the house just right, make the perfect food for every gathering, eat all the right things and plan all the most special holiday activities for our little one. I don’t always succeed, but I’m trying this year to let everything just fall into place and relax, and most of all enjoy those natural magical moments that happen all the time when we aren’t pushing and planning and taking perfect photos and posting them all on Facebook. The holidays, and life in general, is just a lot more enjoyable when I allow it to happen and unfold around me.
So, while our tree might be a mish-mash of styles and colors (and missing the bottom one-third of its ornaments), and my idea for decorating the top of our bookshelves with faux candles and garland ended up looking a little corny (the flicker effect is more “strobe light” than “twinkling glow”), I’m just rolling with it. In the spirit of putting less pressure on myself, I also took an unintended little hiatus from the blog. Up until a few days ago, I just hadn’t felt inspired and every recipe I played around with in the kitchen ended up being a flop. Finally I decided to stop forcing it. Ironically, that’s when some really yummy ideas started rushing into my brain space. Including this truly rich and decadent chocolate mousse.
I’ve tried many many different avocado pudding and mousse recipes, and while some were pretty good, most didn’t wow me. We’ve been eating oranges by the 5 lb bag, like they’re going out of style, and they’ve been making their way into lots of recipe ideas lately. I dreamed up this dessert one night when I couldn’t sleep, and it turned out amazing the first try! I’m wowed, guys! This could definitely be served to your guests after an intimate dinner party and no one, I mean no one, would ever suspect it was completely vegan and made with healthy, whole food ingredients. I just love the hint of orange in this rich, super chocolately dessert. You can dial the orange flavor up or down depending on your preference, same goes for level of sweetness and chocolate too. I ended up only using 2 tablespoons of maple syrup to sweeten up this mousse and I thought it was perfect!
This dessert is best enjoyed with a big, ol’ relaxed smile on your face, as you slowly savor each creamy, smooth, and luscious bite. Try to make some time to just do nothing these next two weeks.Take a moment to get lost in the twinkle of lights, the smell of pine, and the mind blowing flavor combination of chocolate and orange. Yep, life is good!
Chocolate Orange Vegan Mousse – soy free, sugar free, gluten free, tree nut free
Makes about 3 small servings
- 2 avocados, pitted and scooped
- 1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp coconut cream (I scooped mine off the surface of my homemade coconut milk after it was in the fridge a few hours – see notes)
- 1 navel orange, peeled and quartered
- 1/4 cup dairy free semi sweet chocolate chips + 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted together in a double boiler
- 2 Tbsp cacao powder, or to taste
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup or more, to taste
- 2-3 tsp orange zest or more, to taste
- tiny pinch of salt
- orange coconut whip (coconut cream from one can coconut milk refrigerated overnight, whipped with stevia or other sweetener to taste, and 1 tsp orange zest)
- cacao nibs
Simple! Blend all mousse ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender until completely smooth. Add more orange zest, maple syrup, or cacao powder to taste. It will be soft at this point but will firm up into a mousse texture after a couple of hours in the refrigerator. Serve with coconut whip and cacao nibs.
Makes about 3 servings, recipe can easily be doubled!
Notes: I make homemade coconut milk by adding unsweetened shredded coconut and hot water to a blender. I use about 1 cup of coconut shreds per 3 cups of hot water. I heat the water in the kettle, pour it over the coconut and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes before blending. Then I strain it through a nut milk bag, you can also use a fine mesh strainer. Pour it into a large glass jar and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight and the top 2 inches or so will harden and can be scooped out. Alternatively you could also refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight and open it and scrape the “cream” off the top. I don’t always have good luck whipping the homemade coconut cream, so for the whipped topping I use canned coconut milk.