5 Best Summer Chocolate Desserts
Photo Credit: Charisse Kenion/Unsplash
I’m a big chocolate fan, but summer heat makes it difficult for me to enjoy chocolate just as it is. It melts before it reaches my mouth, which is anything but pleasant.
When thermometers show temperatures above 95 degrees, eating chocolate without having it melt all over your fingers is a challenge. Unless you turn it into something fresh, delicious, and summer-friendly.
To celebrate World Chocolate Day, here are five ways to repurpose dark chocolate as delicious summer desserts suitable for all ages and tastes. Let’s get started before it melts.
1. Chocolate Mousse
I’ve tested several recipes for making chocolate mousse over the years, and my favorite so far is the mousse made with two simple ingredients: dark chocolate and water. A quick chemistry lesson, a standing mixer, and patience can help you turn these two ingredients into something unique.
I prefer using a recipe by Dario Bressanini, who explains the chemistry behind the process, making it easy to adjust the quantities based on the type of chocolate you’re using. The secret is to obtain a mixture that contains 34% fat, and here’s how you can easily do that without advanced chemistry or math skills.
Take 100 grams (one bar) of dark chocolate with 70% of cocoa and check on the label how much fat it provides. Multiply this number by 100 and divide the result by 34. The number you obtain represents the amount of water you need for the recipe.
Melt the chocolate in a water bath, add the water at room temperature, and gently mix the two ingredients in a bowl. Place the bowl in a larger recipient that contains some ice water and mix using an electric whisk. You’ll create a fantastic mousse in a few minutes. You can serve it right away or keep it in the fridge for up to two days.
2. Ice Cream
I love homemade ice cream, and the ice cream maker is one of our favorite gadgets during the hot season. Depending on the size of your machine, you might have to adjust quantities for this recipe.
Start by mixing 2 ½ cups of hot English cream custard sauce with 100 grams (one bar) of dark chocolate cut into small pieces. When the chocolate has melted, add one cup of cold heavy cream and mix gently until a uniform compound develops.
Depending on your ice cream machine, you may need to allow it to cool until it reaches the correct temperature. And then churn it in the ice cream maker. I love this recipe because I can make a large quantity and keep it in the freezer for hot evenings. This way, my family enjoys a delicious homemade dessert for several days in a row with no extra work.
3. Chocolate Panna Cotta
Panna cotta is a classic Italian recipe. For the chocolate-rich version, you need about two cups of heavy cream, 150 grams of dark chocolate (one-and-a-half bars), three-fourths cups of powdered sugar, and one envelope of unflavored gelatin.
First, melt the chocolate (you can use the microwave to speed up the process). Separately, heat the heavy cream without bringing it to a boil. Mix in the melted chocolate and the sugar. Keep the fire low to avoid boiling. Add the gelatin and whisk to obtain a uniform mixture. Remove from heat and divide the compound into small bowls. Let it cool.
The small bowls should remain in the fridge for at least four hours before you can serve them. To take the dessert out of the bowl, you need to immerse three-quarters of the small bowl into hot water for five seconds. Then turn the bowl upside down onto a plate. For the wow effect, garnish with mango slices or mango sauce.
4. Frozen Dessert (Semifreddo)
Semifreddo is another classic Italian dessert that’s been around for hundreds of years. As this is an old recipe, it has evolved with the centuries, so you can prepare it by following various techniques. I prefer the one with butter for a compact consistency. Plus, it’s easier to make.
You start by preparing a “Pâté à bombe” mixture using three yolks, half a cup of sugar, and 1 ¾ tablespoons of water. When the mixture reaches room temperature, you gently mix in one cup of heavy cream and 50 grams (half bar) of melted dark chocolate.
I like to add a few drops of rum to enrich the flavor. Move the mixture into small recipients (I prefer funny silicone stamps) and leave it to rest in the freezer overnight. Serve it cold.
5. Bavarian Chocolate Cream
Bavarian chocolate cream is a French dessert. Sophisticated and tasty, it’s perfect for a hot summer day.
This cream is hard to make at first, but once you’ve learned the technique, you’ll love it. You start by making an English cream custard sauce: you’ll need 1 ¼ cups of it. When it’s still warm, mix in an envelope of instant gelatin, 150 grams (one-and-a-half bars) of melted dark chocolate, and 1 ⅓ cups of heavy cream.
Mix gently until you get a homogeneous compound, then pour it into small bowls and let it cool in the fridge. Serve after six to eight hours.
I know some of these recipes aren’t a breeze to make. I’ve been through many trials and errors before serving these desserts when friends come over for dinner. The good news is, working with chocolate is a fantastic experience, and the results are tasty even when the dessert doesn’t look like the picture. Have fun with it.