20090528oetkermousse.jpgJulia Child's recipe for perfect chocolate mousse calls for two kinds of chocolate, freshly brewed coffee, 4 separated eggs, a splash of dark rum, vanilla extract, plenty of sugar, a pinch of salt, and a garnishing dollop of whipped cream, if desired. The whole heavenly production takes quite a while to prepare, not to mention the minimum 4 hours of chilling time, or the sink full of dirty bowls, spoons, and whisks.

Julia's recipe is worth it, of course, on special occasions when you've planned ahead, but what about those random Tuesday afternoons at work, when you find yourself fantasizing about digging in to a dish of creamy, lighter-than-air mousse after dinner? Is it possible to prepare luscious chocolate mousse in less than two hours, including chilling time?

That's what Dr. Oetker promises with their Double Chocolate Mousse Suprème mix. I put it to the test for this week's Mixed Review.

Dr. Oetker's mousse mixes are available in myriad flavors including pistachio, mocha, and strawberry, each of which is "easy to prepare—simply whip and chill." Simply is right. In order to make my mousse, all I had to do was empty the contents of the box into a bowl, add a cup of milk (I used low-fat, but the instructions didn't specify), and beat them together with an electric mixer for three to five minutes.

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The mix packet was filled with a generous amount of powder that resembled instant hot chocolate, and for the first minute or two of beating that's what it looked like: a bowlful of chocolate milk. But after three minutes the mixture had stiffened and gained volume, and after five minutes it had reached the consistency of whipped cream.

I divided my mousse evenly between three small teacups, filling each one generously but not to the point of overflowing. While the back of the box claims the mix serves four, if you're planning on feeding that many I would definitely suggest that you double up. The mousse looked good enough to eat right then, but I resisted and put my teacups in the fridge to chill for an hour (as opposed to Julia's four hours!).

Later, I garnished one serving with a strawberry and dug in. The mousse was light, cool, and creamy, with a gentle sweetness that wasn't overpowering. I did find the chocolate flavor a bit lacking. It certainly wasn't "double" as the name suggested—more like "mild." I would have preferred a deeper, darker cocoa flavor.

Still, in a pinch, on a weekday night, it wasn't half bad.

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