5 Ingredients or Fewer

Chocolate–Peanut Butter Mousse

March 18, 2019
39 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

Inspired by Hervé This’ one-ingredient chocolate mousse, this Big Little recipe takes two pantry staples and turns them into a fluffy cloud—all thanks to water (and some elbow grease). Flaky salt on top is optional, but highly recommended. Note: This recipe calls for sweetened peanut butter, which gets along better with the water; unsweetened peanut butter is more likely to separate. —Emma Laperruque

  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Serves 6
Ingredients
  • Peanut butter mousse
  • 3/4 cup creamy, sweetened peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • Chocolate mousse
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate (I used 67% cacao)
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 pinch flaky salt (optional)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Make the peanut butter mousse: Add the peanut butter to a small mixing bowl. Add a small splash (figure about 2 tablespoons) of the water and mix with a fork until cohesive. Repeat this (splash, mix, splash, mix) until you’ve added all the water. The peanut butter should be fluffy and smooth, almost like frosting.
  2. Make the chocolate mousse: First, set up an ice bath by adding ice (crushed is best) to a large bowl and setting a slightly smaller bowl on top of the ice.
  3. Now, combine the chocolate and water in a smallish saucepan and set over the lowest heat possible. Stir constantly until most of the chocolate is melted. Cut the heat and continue to stir until all the chocolate is melted.
  4. Pour the chocolate-water mixture into the bowl on top of the ice. Start whisking like your life depends on it. You’ll do this for 4 to 6 minutes until you’ve reached the consistency of a very loose chocolate pudding—not like whipped cream, which means you’ve gone too far. The whisk should leave distinct trails while in motion, but then once you stop whisking, those trails will barely hold. The best way to avoid over-whipping is to stop and check its progress frequently.
  5. When the chocolate mousse is ready, layer the mousses together. (If you try to swirl one into the other, they’ll become homogenous before you can say “dessert,” so this is the easiest way to avoid that. And if the peanut butter mousse has started to separate at all, just stir it until it's smooth again.) Add about one-third of the chocolate mousse to a large bowl. Add about one-third of the peanut butter mousse on top, in big random spoonfuls. Add about half the remaining chocolate mousse on top, also in big random spoonfuls. Add about half the remaining peanut butter mousse on top in the same way. Repeat with the rest of the chocolate mousse, then the rest of the peanut butter mousse.
  6. Use spoons or an ice cream scoop to portion the chocolate–peanut butter mousse into six dishes (I like using dessert coupes).
  7. Sprinkle with flaky salt. This is best served immediately, but you can refrigerate any leftovers for later, too.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Ron Balut
    Ron Balut
  • Lindsay Ann
    Lindsay Ann
  • SarahBunny
    SarahBunny
  • Sirid
    Sirid
  • Maggie
    Maggie
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in October 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

31 Reviews

Ron B. May 23, 2020
I've tried it twice so far, once with 78% Lindt bars and then 58% chocolate chips. Both times all I got was chocolate water. It thickened a little but no where near as shown in the video. The reviews here got me thinking and I think the next time I'll add some butter. As to how much, I'll have to experiment. I will also use some extra peanut butter to make it half of each, the dark chocolate needs a little more sweetness.
 
Lindsay A. April 1, 2020
Please save your time and ingredients! I have never left a review for any product nor recipe, but I feel it is necessary in this case. In no way shape or form does this chocolate/water concoction turn into anything but a watery mess. Don’t attempt this recipe.
 
LessIsMore September 15, 2019
I think the reason the recipe might not be working for some might be not using a big enough bowl to whisk the watery chocolate mixture in. Used the Herve ratio and it whisked into a thick pudding state in under 2 minutes ( I did realize it would need a bigger bowl to prevent sloshing and spattering and had to change bowls) Magic!
 
SarahBunny June 2, 2019
Sorcery, I tell you! This qualifies as genius from the utter simplicity of ingredients and technique (although I have to agree with other reviewers that if I want the full mousse experience and flavor I'll probably make another recipe). As I'm allergic to peanuts I swapped the peanut butter out for a lightly sweetened almond butter. I also combined the two flavors into one bowl (after making each separately). I used about half the recipe to frost a vegan banana cake for a party, the other half sits in my fridge beckoning me with the siren call of, "Just a spoonful...!" (we know how that ends once I answer). I will DEFINITELY make this again, both as a cake component (maybe filling next time?) and as a not-too-sweet spoon dessert,
 
Author Comment
Emma L. June 3, 2019
Whoa, such a cool idea to turn this into a cake frosting!
 
Sirid May 17, 2019
Call it dessert, but don't call it mousse. I got everything to work perfectly, but the chocolate part just tasted like watery chocolate and the PB part was ...meh. (granted, I used unsweetened PB, but it was properly emulsified.) All of my family just kept missing the luxurious mouthfeel of real mousse... Not this.
 
Marisa April 22, 2019
I just tried the recipe the peanut butter works perfectly I even did natural and had no problem. I think it's the fat content in the chocolate I used 60% and it came out like chocolate milk. I did the same thing as the other comment by hand and hand mixer and nothing happened. So I put it back in the mixer, put in some heavy cream a little coconut oil whipped it up and now it's sitting in the refrigerator hopefully a lot thicker.
 
Maggie April 12, 2019
Try this. Dip a bar of chocolate in peanut butter. Same ingredients, zero effort :D
 
M April 14, 2019
This made me laughed hard for a solid 2-3 minutes!
 
Maggie April 15, 2019
lol I'm so glad! I hope you followed my suggestion!
 
JP April 7, 2019
I followed the chocolate mousse directions, hand whisked for 25 minutes with a precooled metal bowl on ice. Nothing. Then used whisk attachment on the immersion blender for 5 minutes. More nothing. I also just have chocolate milk the thickness of buttermilk. An hour ago, I made the Hervé Theis One Ingredient Chocolate Mousse and it looks perfect. Why did your recipe fail me.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. April 8, 2019
Hi JP—so sorry to hear you had trouble with it! As I wrote to mkseniak below, our test kitchen never ran into this issue, so it's unfortunately hard for me to pinpoint what happened. On the recipe page for Hervé This's chocolate mousse, here are some notes about troubleshooting:

"Three things can go wrong. Here's how to fix them. If your chocolate doesn't contain enough fat, melt the mixture again, add some chocolate, and then whisk it again. If the mousse is not light enough, melt the mixture again, add some water, and whisk it once more. If you whisk it too much, so that it becomes grainy, this means that the foam has turned into an emulsion. In that case simply melt the mixture and whisk it again, adding nothing."
 
mkseniak April 6, 2019
After 7 minutes of whisking, I pulled out my hand mixer and still it's really just chocolate water. I feel like it was a waste of ingredients. I will not attempt it again.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. April 8, 2019
Hi mkseniak—so sorry to hear that. When we developed and tested this recipe, we often ran into it getting *too* thick...so I'm really puzzled what went wrong here. I wonder if it was the type of chocolate? What kind did you use?
 
Suzanne S. April 5, 2019
We can't have peanuts in our house. Would a natural cashew or almond butter work?
 
Author Comment
Emma L. April 5, 2019
Another nut butter could work, but try to find a sweetened variety if you can, since this recipe was developed for sweetened peanut butter. I know Jif makes a sweetened almond butter that's pretty good!
 
Ilyssa April 5, 2019
I am going to try this. Will this work with milk chocolate? And can you use natural peanut butters or do only the processed ones work? Thanks.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. April 5, 2019
Hi Ilyssa, I haven't tried this with milk chocolate, so can't say for sure. In the comment section of the chocolate mousse recipe this was inspired by (https://food52.com/recipes/16044-herve-this-chocolate-mousse), one commenter, Vivian, wrote: "Used a mix of milk and dark chocolate, and subbed 2% milk for water, and it came out great!" So that's promising! With respect to the peanut butters: Sweetened will work better here. Natural is more likely to separate.
 
Lindsay March 29, 2019
Question about what Peanut butter to use. Does it matter if it is an all natural type or not? I know the kind I now buy only has roasted peanuts in it and I have to stir upon opening everytime. Would that be an okay type to use? Or should I get a more traditional type like Jiff?
 
Author Comment
Emma L. April 5, 2019
Hi Lindsay! I prefer sweetened peanut butter here, since it gets along better with the water; unsweetened peanut butter is more likely to separate. (I just added the "sweetened" detail to the ingredient list, too.) I used Jif for my recipe development, but any sweetened peanut butter should act the same. Hope this helps!
 
Jill March 28, 2019
This is a godsend for diabetics who want to cut carbs but dislike sugar substitutes. Bonus: my diabetic husband adores dark chocolate.
 
THEToughCookie April 5, 2019
Great for vegans, too!
 
Lazyretirementgirl March 24, 2019
So, do you think this would work with using a food processor or electric mixer for a Lazy Way?
 
Author Comment
Emma L. March 24, 2019
Hi! If you check out the Hervé This chocolate mousse recipe, there are instructions for using an electric hand mixer, which is quicker: https://food52.com/recipes/16044-herve-this-chocolate-mousse.
 
Lazyretirementgirl March 25, 2019
Thanks!
 
Hari R. March 21, 2019
Oh my god. This is unreasonably good. Just don't get discouraged if you're whisking for what feels like an eternity to no avail. Your patience will be rewarded in the end.

Next time I will also plan to make way more of the peanut butter mousse (I totally eyeballed my ratios so this is not a recipe critique, just a personal failing). The chocolate is VERY decadent and you really need the peanut butter to cut through it. Personally I would probably aim for at least half peanut butter, if not more.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. March 22, 2019
Yay! Thanks, Hari!
 
CanDace J. March 21, 2019
Just made this dessert, made it Keto Friendly with unsweetened peanutbutter and Lillies Dark Chocolate chips. This was Amazing! Made 7 servings to keep the carbs down, and it tasted so good and was so satisfying!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. March 21, 2019
So glad you enjoyed!
 
Diana C. March 24, 2019
I am kto and I am dying to try this! I may have to run out and get a Lily's bar right now!
 
Rosalind P. March 20, 2019
I went to a lecture at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York -- a physicist and a chef -- on "The Physics of Foam". Yes, that's a thing. He gave a brilliant, accessible lesson and then demonstrated with the chocolate mousse in this recipe. Everyone had a taste; no legerdemain or conjuring. He also made marshmallows, which depend on foam for structure. The mousse is tricky but keep trying; it's worth it.