Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Chocolate Avocado Mousse
Serves 3-4

2 ripe avocados
20g cocoa powder
40g dark chocolate (dairy-free if required)
2 tblsp soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
about 50ml nut or coconut milk

Melt the chocolate gently over a pan of hot water or in the microwave, stirring until it's just melted, then cool slightly.

Carefully cut open the avocados lengthways and remove the stones. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon and place it in a food processor or blender. Add the cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla and salt, and about half of the milk. Process until smooth. Don't be too concerned if it looks rather a vile colour at this stage.

Now use a metal spoon to fold the chocolate gently into the avocado mixture, with a little more milk if it feels a bit too stiff. When it's well combined, place in a suitable sized bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour or two.

We find that it goes very well with seasonal fruit such as strawberries or sliced peaches.

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With a dairy-free husband and son, I have been trying various dairy-free mousse recipes. And I came across a recipe for chocolate avocado mousse on the Chocolate Covered Katie blog and elsewhere. I have to admit that it didn't really appeal, but then avocados were in season, on sale ridiculously cheap, squashy enough that they had to be used within a few days.

So I tried it. Comments on a different recipe for this, using only cocoa powder, said that it was a bit dry and too strongly cocoa-flavoured. So the first time I used only dark chocolate - twice as much as in this recipe - and it was good, but a bit too sweet.

I don't use agave syrup so I substituted soft brown sugar and used a bit more nut milk. Doubtless very high fat, too. The picture shows the colour before I folded in the chocolate... and it's worse if, as above, you use cocoa powder in the first part as well.

The second time I made this, I used honey, as we're not vegans, and slightly less milk. I also tried using cocoa powder AND dark chocolate, as in the recipe above. And doubled the quantities, as there were five of us. We made it stretch over two meals. We thought it worked very well, particularly served with fresh strawberries.

My favourite home-made dairy-free milk for cooking is cashew milk, but this could be equally good with almond milk or coconut milk. Canned coconut milk would add some extra creaminess if you like a faint coconut flavour in chocolate desserts. If you're not vegan, you could probably use regular milk.

The great thing about this kind of recipe is that you can adapt it to your tastes. Avocados come in different sizes, so if, when you taste it, it's not chocolatey enough, just add a bit more cocoa powder. If it's too thick, add some more milk. If it's not sweet enough, add a little extra sugar.  If you don't like the appearance in a dish, drizzle over some melted chocolate, or scatter chocolate chips, or desiccated coconut, or slice strawberries.

And it's fun to challenge your guests to guess what the ingredients are...

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