Celebrate Earth Day with edible mousse gardens made by covering rich chocolate mousse with crushed cookies and novelty candies.
I have to say that I had the coolest first grade teacher ever. She came equipped with a wealth of knowledge, the biggest heart and the notion that every day was Earth Day. Twenty-something years later, among many fond memories of that year, I still remember painting Earth Day T-Shirts, planting edible pudding gardens and singing “What a Wonderful World” at our class picnic. I wouldn’t even be surprised if there was also some tree hugging thrown in, lots of tree hugging.
The first grade version of this delicious snack included watering our soil (instant chocolate pudding mix), topping it with fertilizer (crushed oreos) and planting our seeds (raw peanuts); and boy were we surprised when we got to eat our gardens after lunch! My I-refuse-to-grow-up adult version includes a sophisticated chocolate mousse topped with crushed oreos, chocolate rocks and a gummy snake for good measure. The concept is the same and, however you decide to sow your edible garden, kids and adults alike will enjoy this fun dessert.
Happy Earth Day!
- 1¾ cups heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1 teaspoon flavorless, granulated gelatin
- 12 ounces high-quality chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli milk-chocolate)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon dark rum
- 8 Oreo cookies
- Novelty candies such as gummy worms and rock-shaped chocolate pieces
- Place the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer in the freezer to chill before beginning.
- In a medium heat-proof bowl, sprinkle gelatin over ¼ cup of whipping cream. Set aside and allow gelatin to bloom for ten minutes.
- In a second heat-proof bowl, melt chocolate chips and butter over a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and and stir in vanilla extract and rum. Set aside to cool.
- Once bloomed, gently heat bowl of whipping cream and gelatin over the double boiler until just warmed, not boiling. Remove from heat and gently stir into melted chocolate.
- Beat remaining 1½ cups heavy whipping cream in the chilled bowl of an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
- Fold approximately one-third of the whipped cream into your chocolate mixture to lighten it. Gently fold together the chocolate and remaining whipped cream until just incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Divide mousse into desired number of servings and chill, uncovered, for at least an hour.
- Place Oreos in a freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin until a soil-like consistency is achieved.
- Top chilled mousse with crushed cookies and candies, cover, and return to the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Mason Jars are an ideal container as they show off the layers while also providing a lid for sealing.
- Sprigs of mint can also add an element of edible plants to your garden.