Don’t be surprised if this dessert gets you a few extra smooches. While the chocolate mousse is delicious on its own, the extra flourishes make it truly special. Feel free to substitute any type of bean aquafaba if you don’t have a can of black beans on hand.
Don’t discard scraped-out vanilla pods—they still contain a lot of flavour. In airtight container, place the pod and 1/2 cup (125 mL) coconut sugar. Shake, and set aside for a week, shaking occasionally. Your patience will be rewarded with the loveliest vanilla-scented sugar to use however your heart desires.
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped dark vegan chocolate
3/4 cup (180 mL) black bean aquafaba (liquid from a 19 oz/562 mL can of black beans)*
1 tsp (5 mL) lemon juice
1 Tbsp (15 mL) loose hibiscus tea
3/4 cup (180 mL) water
2 blood oranges
1/2 vanilla bean, cut in half and seeds scraped out
1 Tbsp (15 mL) maple syrup
Caramelized Cacao Nibs
2 Tbsp (30 mL) coconut sugar, divided
1/2 tsp (2 mL) water
2 Tbsp (30 mL) cacao nibs
*Feel free to use chickpea aquafaba in place of black bean aquafaba.
Start by making chocolate mousse. Set heatproof bowl over saucepan of simmering water. Make sure bowl does not touch surface of water. Add chocolate to bowl and melt, stirring often, until smooth. Remove bowl from saucepan and set aside to allow chocolate to come to room temperature but still be liquid. This is important because warm chocolate will result in a grainy mousse.
Place aquafaba in bowl of stand mixer along with lemon juice. Whip on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes. Using spatula, fold melted chocolate into whipped aquafaba until well incorporated. Divide among 4 serving glasses or ramekins and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
While mousse is chilling, make Hibiscus Oranges. In small saucepan, bring water almost to boil. Remove saucepan from heat, stir in tea, and steep for 10 minutes. Strain brewed tea into medium bowl and set aside to cool.
Using paring knife, peel oranges, removing skin and white pith. Chop oranges into bite-sized pieces. Add to cooled tea along with vanilla bean seeds and maple syrup. Stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To make Caramelized Cacao Nibs, place 1 Tbsp (15 mL) coconut sugar and water in small frying pan. Place over medium low heat and, stirring continuously, allow sugar to melt and become sticky. Once sugar has melted, remove frying pan from heat and stir in cacao nibs and remaining sugar until well combined. Transfer caramelized cacao nibs to sheet of parchment paper and allow cool completely. Break apart any cacao nibs that are stuck together and store in airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.
Spoon some marinated oranges and a little syrup over chocolate mousse. Garnish with a sprinkle of caramelized cacao nibs. Serve immediately.