Decadent, luscious, light, airy. The dairy-free Dark Chocolate Mousse that everyone will love! Made extra delicious with Vegan Cashew Cream and flaky sea salt.
Dark chocolate is one of my favorite flavors. In fact, the darker, the better.
These little dessert cups are perfect for the dark chocolate lover. There’s just enough bittersweet intensity to keep things interesting. A sprinkle of flaky sea salt enhances all the flavors. And a swipe of Vegan Cashew Cream makes for a light, dairy-free dessert!
Traditionally, Chocolate Mousse is very rich. Egg yolks, heavy cream, high quality chocolate. The result is a decadent, extra-rich dessert.
But sometimes I’m craving something a little less heavy. Is it possible to capture ALL that dark chocolate flavor without being cloyingly sweet or excessively rich? Yes — these dairy-free little cups are the answer!
The base is inspired by Ful-filled’s Two Ingredient Chocolate Pots de Creme. But I found bittersweet chocolate chips more accessible and easier to melt than high-quality bar chocolate. Plus, I added some flavor boosters to highlight that bittersweet flavor: instant coffee powder, vanilla, and flaky sea salt.
Then there’s the Vegan Cashew Cream. Trust me when I say that the Vegan Cashew Cream really takes this dessert over the top!
To be truthful, I wasn’t sure about Vegan Cashew Cream at first. I’m not vegan. But now, I’m convinced! You don’t need to be vegan to enjoy this plant-based cream.
What is Vegan Cashew Cream?
Vegan Cashew Cream is a non-dairy, plant-based substitute for creamy sauces and dips. It’s the starting base for sweet or savory vegan adaptations of whipped cream, cheese sauce, tzatsiki, sour cream, etc.
For this recipe, I chose a sweet preparation. The resulting texture is very similar to whipped cream — light, fluffy, silky.
But Vegan Cashew Cream does NOT taste the same as regular whipped cream! It’s delicious but definitely its own thing.
The benefits of using a nut-based whipped cream are many:
- Versatile (multiple preparations)
- Simple (easy to make, requires few ingredients)
- Keeps well in the fridge (make once and keep for 1-2 weeks!)
- Easy on the tummy (for lactose intolerant people)
- Leaves you feeling lighter and less weighed down than regular whipped cream
Plus, this plant-based, non-dairy cream is so delicious!!
How to make Vegan Cashew Cream:
Many recipes recommend soaking cashews 1-8 hours. But I found that using a good blender makes the soaking unnecessary.
Instructions: Add cashews to blender. Add water, maple syrup, and vanilla. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the blender down from time to time. Store in the fridge, covered. That’s it!
PRO TIP: Blend longer than you think. The texture should be light, fluffy, and creamy — without a hint of graininess whatsoever.
For reference, my blender is an Osterizer which retailed for $25 in 2001 and is no longer available in stores. My 20-year old blender blitzed the raw cashews (without soaking) with ease. And produced a fluffy and airy texture in 3 minutes!
Many recipes recommend using a Vitamix but they are very pricey. If you have a blender, try it first! I found that a hand immersion blender and food processor did not work as well — the resulting texture was not creamy enough.
Coconut Cream vs Coconut Milk
Dark Chocolate Mousse is not a traditional mousse. There’s no heavy cream or egg yolks to help set the custard.
Instead, dairy-free coconut creme is used. Coconut cream is similar to coconut milk but contains more fat and less liquid. At room temperature, coconut cream is completely solid.
For the mousse to set, Coconut Creme works best. Look for it in the same aisle as canned Coconut Milk. If you use regular Coconut Milk (that separates into solids and liquid), the mousse will not set as firmly.
FYI — I’ve also used Coconut Milk that’s completely solid at room temperature. But it’s hard to tell which brands come completely solid and which ones do not; the fat content differs from brand to brand, I’m assuming? Arroy-D coconut milk is completely solid at room temperature and worked very well, even though it was not technically labeled “Coconut Cream.”
How to Make Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Mousse:
Heat coconut cream until steaming. Do not let it come to a boil! Remove from heat and add dairy-free chocolate chips, instant coffee powder, vanilla, and salt. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
Whisk, making sure all chocolate chips are fully melted. Scrape the bottom with a spatula and whisk again. Pour into individual cups. Cool completely at room temperature. Transfer to fridge and chill overnight.
To serve, place a dollop of Vegan Cashew Cream over each cup and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. A dusting of cocoa powder is optional. Eat immediately!
PIN FOR LATER:
Dark Chocolate Mousse + Vegan Cashew Cream
- 6 small ramekins or teacups (at least 4 oz)
Dark Chocolate Mousse:
- 2 400ml/13.5oz can full-fat coconut cream (completely solid at room temperature)
- 1 cup/6 oz/170g bittersweet chocolate chips *use dairy-free chips for completely dairy-free mousse (see note below)
- 2 tsp instant coffee powder
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
Vegan Cashew Cream:
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- flaky sea salt (I use Maldon)
Dark Chocolate Mousse:
- In a small saucepan, heat coconut cream until steaming. At first, the coconut cream should be completely solid. Do not let it come to a boil! Remove from heat and add chocolate chips, instant coffee powder, vanilla, and salt. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Whisk, making sure all chocolate chips are fully melted. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a spatula and whisk again. Pour into individual cups. Cool completely at room temperature. Transfer to fridge and chill overnight.
Vegan Cashew Cream:
- Add raw cashews, water, maple syrup, and vanilla to a high powered blender. Blend on high speed until creamy and thick, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the blender from time to time. The cashew cream is done when the texture is light and fluffy with no graininess whatsoever. Store in the fridge, covered. The Vegan Cashew Cream will keep for about 1-2 weeks in the fridge.
- To serve, place a dollop of Vegan Cashew Cream over each cup and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. A dusting of cocoa powder is optional. Eat immediately!