These chocolate mousse baubles make a light and delicious Christmas dessert, although they’re not sturdy enough to hang on the tree! I added amaretto, roasted chopped hazelnuts and homemade salted caramel (make this ahead of time – see below!) in the middle to make this mousse extra decadent, but you can remove these or add other things. I spent time decorating the baubles with homemade white royal icing and shop-bought gold paint – many supermarkets have this now. For this recipe you’ll need a couple of silicone or plastic hemisphere (x6) moulds (try Amazon for these), a piping bag, some gold bauble toppers (like these) as well as some narrow ribbon. I used gold ribbon to make these baubles special!
First: make chocolate hemispheres
Ingredients & equipment
- 200g dark chocolate, preferably as choc chips / drops but you can also chop up a bar of chocolate. I use Belgian & 70% cocoa – as nice as you fancy!
- Silicone hemisphere moulds x 2
- Pastry brush (ideally)
The first thing is to use a cheat’s method to temper the chocolate. This makes the bauble nice and shiny. This video is a nice & easy way of doing it – below are the steps written out.
- Pour 150g of the chocolate drops into a microwave safe bowl (or chop the chocolate) – keep 50g aside in case you accidentally it melt too much (I often do)
- Microwave on the defrost setting for a minute, then take out the chocolate and stir (about half of the chunks should still be solid)
- Return to the microwave on defrost for another 30 seconds. Stir again. Repeat until the chocolate is 80-90% melted (you should only need to do this once or twice more)
- Continue stirring until all the chocolate has melted, this may take a few minutes. If a few solid lumps in the chocolate still remain, this is OK – just remove them. Whatever you do, don’t put the mixture back in the microwave! If you have a thermometer, the temperature of the chocolate should be 31C for dark (or 29C for white – if you’re experimenting!)
- If at any stage your chocolate becomes too melted, use some of the 50g chocolate that you set aside at the beginning, add it to the mixture, and stir to melt them in / cool the mixture down
- Your mixture is now ready to use for the moulds!
Scientifically speaking, when chocolate is melted the molecular structure becomes completely jumbled, causing it to be soft / not ‘crack’ when cool. By adding solid chocolate back into melted chocolate, this provides the ‘memory’ of the molecular structure needed to be tempered / crystallised chocolate
- Using a paintbrush, dip it into the tempered melted chocolate and paint a layer of chocolate on each silicone hemisphere
- Place the moulds in the fridge for 15 mins
- Repeat the painting process as a second layer, to make sure all the gaps are filled and the chocolate is thick enough to hold
- Place the moulds back in the fridge for at least 30 mins
Now you need to remove the hemispheres from their moulds. If it’s silicone, you can just gently pop out the chocolate. If plastic, you should be able to press gently and slide them out.
Next, make the chocolate baubles
For this, it’s helpful to have plastic gloves to avoid fingerprints. In order to stick the moulds together, gently heat a frying pan for 30 seconds. The residual heat on the pan will be used to slightly melt the bottom edges of both hemispheres so that they can be stuck together. See the below picture for how I set up.
- Working quickly, place one hemisphere edges-side-down onto the warm frying pan for 1-2 seconds. Not long as it melts quickly. (This is where you can even out your edges if they weren’t particularly level when they came out the moulds!) Set aside momentarily
- Do the same for the second hemisphere, remove it from the pan, then while still holding it, pick up the hemisphere you set aside and gently bring the two hemispheres together where the edges have been melted, to form a sphere
- There shouldn’t be much excess chocolate, but you want to have melted it enough to ensure no gaps between the hemispheres, which is the sign of uneven edges. Melt it a little more if you need to make it more even – though you may lose the perfect spherical shape if you melt the edges too much
- Leave the moulds in the fridge for 30 mins to allow for the chocolate to set
Now, you need to make a hole in the middle to put the mousse in! See the below images – I use a piping nozzle that I dip in hot water for 10 seconds before gently pressing it into the sphere. Be patient and don’t force it! If you can make the hole this over the seam like two of the below in the image, this is better for decorating as you’ll have two seamless sides to decorate on. Put them back in the fridge while you make the mousse.
Second: make the mousse and caramel
For the mousse
- 4 eggs
- 120g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
- 4-5 tsp Sugar
- Pinch salt or two
- 40g chopped hazelnuts, roasted at 200C for 8 mins or until golden
- A glug or two of amaretto (to taste)
Equipment: piping bag and ~0.5cm round piping nozzle
- Roast the chopped hazelnuts in the oven at 180C for 5-7 mins, remove and set aside to cool
- Separate the eggs into two bowls
- Break the chocolate into pieces / chop into chunks and melt in a microwave safe bowl (1-2 mins in the microwave, remove after 1 minute to stir)
- Once the chocolate is melted, start whisking the egg whites with an electric handheld mixer / stand mixer. Start slow, but increase the speed until the egg whites have reached the ‘soft peaks’ stage (a couple minutes duration). Add in the sugar one tsp at a time and keep whisking until the peaks are firm and glossy. Set aside momentarily
- Gently whisk the egg yolks into the melted chocolate (quickly, to ensure they don’t curdle)
- Mix in a third of the egg white into the chocolate mixture (don’t need to be gentle at this stage)
- Add a glug or two of amaretto
- Fold the remaining two thirds of the egg white very gently into the chocolate mixture, maintaining as much air in the mousse as possible
- When almost all of the egg white ‘lumps’ have been folded into the mixture and it is almost completely smooth, add the chopped roasted hazelnuts and continue to fold until the mixture is just about fully mixed – do not overwork or the mousse will deflate
- The mousse is now ready to pipe into the baubles – it will need 2-3 hours to set in the fridge once complete
For the salted caramel
If you want, you can also pipe salted caramel in the centre of your baubles while filling them with the mousse. Ideally, make this ahead of time.
You only need 50g sugar, a knob of butter (~20g), a glug of cream (30ml) and 0.25 tsp salt to make enough caramel! But follow the caramel at the top of this recipe if you want to make more – it stores very nicely in a jar for up to 3 weeks, and makes an excellent sauce 😉
- Heat the sugar in a pan until molten and golden brown – do this slowly and avoid stirring until molten
- Add the butter and swirl off the heat to combine
- Return to heat to keep bubbling for a few seconds while adding and mixing in 0.25 tsp of salt, or more, to taste
- Take the pan off the heat and add the cream, let bubble up and stir/whisk to make sure the salt dissolves
- Return to the heat for a further 30 seconds while stirring, to ensure a smooth consistency and the salt is spread evenly
Next: fill the baubles
The next step is to gently fill the baubles to the brim with delicious mousse.
- Fit a piping bag with a ~0.5cm round nozzle
- Fill the piping bag with chocolate mousse (hopefully the mousse is no longer warm – if not, leave it for an extra 10 mins)
- Gently pipe the mousse through the hole in each bauble one by one. This is a little tricky as the mousse is quite runny – it is worth practising on a plate to understand the speed of flow before attempting to drop it straight into the bauble
- If you are adding salted caramel in the centre, put a couple tbsp in a piping bag and cut off the end, no need for a nozzle. Once the bauble is half-filled with mousse, pipe about a tsp’s worth of salted caramel in the centre, before continuing to fill the second half of the bauble with mousse
- Once the bauble is almost full to the brim, quickly remove the nozzle and rotate vertically upwards to cut off the flow, without dropping any mousse down the sides. Maybe have a paper towel at the hand in case it does get a bit messy…
- Now you should have filled all your baubles, they’re ready to go back into the fridge for the last time, to set. I would advise at least 2 hours
There are so many ways you can decorate these baubles – I’d encourage you to get creative! I used white royal icing, made with egg white powder rather than real egg whites, just because I had it in the store cupboard. You can find the recipe here.
- Very fine round piping tip, the smallest you can get
- Piping bag
- Gold bauble toppers (like these) and ribbon (gold for festive!)
- (Optional) Plastic disposable gloves to allow you to handle the bauble while you decorate, without the fingerprints
- (Optional) Shop-bought gold paint
- Remove your baubles from the fridge and flip them the right way up, on a baking tray – they should sit nicely upright on the hole you used to fill the bauble. If you have a mini muffin baking tray, this is perfect for keeping it steady and for piping/painting the different angles of the bauble
- Use the disposable gloves to avoid fingerprints while you pick it up to decorate different parts
- If using gold paint, I painted this on the baubles first and let it dry for a few minutes before piping my design
- Get creative! Trees, snowmen, reindeer, sleighs, Santa…or even crazier!