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The Best Dessert to Bring to a New Year’s Potluck

Oh the potluck party! The holiday season continues among us and you still may need to conjure up a dish for a party. When asked to bring an appetizer, soup, salad or side dish I immediately start rifling through the recipe rolodex in my head looking for a fan favorite. If you’ve been following my food blog this year you will know that I love to get things done early and then dip into the festivities stress free, with the comforting knowledge my job is done. But then there is dessert. When asked for dessert I get a cold chill up my spine. Not because I’m thinking of ice cream, oh no. It’s due to my pure and utter lack of culinary skill in the sweets department. Mercury must have been in retrograde or something like that this year because every single solitary party in 2017 we’ve been invited to I’ve been asked for dessert. Really.

Luckily I know where to purchase a good one. My favorite go-to in season is to take a leisurely drive to Springridge Farm in Milton. Their pies, bar none, are spectacular. The pastry is totally divine and I have served it up to many a rave review. Two thumbs up and One Michelin star (if it was mine to give!) Sadly they close after Christmas until the spring. But I have a few other great spots to purchase lovely desserts so I’m covered when sweet is my destination. Until this Christmas.

It certainly is a delight when the kids take over and you are no longer responsible for the feasts over the holidays isn’t it? My beautiful youngest step-daughter was hosting Christmas Day for the first time this year. When I asked what I could bring she texted “Dessert!” “Okay” I texted. How about “mincemeat tarts or cherry pie or fruitcake or trifle or Belgian chocolate cookies or festive cupcakes and/or a fruit platter?” All items I know where to shop for. Her reply. “How about chocolate mousse?!”

Since the debut of the Food Network I have been watching a lot of cooking shows for well over a decade. If there is one thing I know, it’s that chocolate mousse is not so easy. It needs to be light and airy – the air bubbles are the thing. But I was not to be defeated. My husband Wayne and I would go into the “Battle of the Mousse” together and decided we would do a test run the weekend before Christmas. Off we went to shop for the ingredients and while picking through the aisles I decided to check out the cake mix section. You know, just in case my test mousse turned into mud. There it was! Dr. Oetker chocolate mousse mix. My back-up, whew. But my mistake? I texted Emma that I indeed had an alternative and I mentioned what it was. I was half joking and three quarters serious. Her reply? “Then how about a sticky toffee pudding instead? My friend has a great recipe that I’m sure I can get from her!” Oh dear lord. If the mousse was a debacle in my “undessert” hands, then sticky toffee pudding was certainly going to be another nemesis. The mousse it would be then.

To make this long story (not so) short, the end result was a happy family gobbling up the chocolate mousse with delight. So why do I think this is the perfect dessert to bring to a potluck for New Year’s? I went to my tried and true, always foolproof, the guru of gourmet, the Queen “B” of delicious, yes you guessed it (if you know me) The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. I followed every step with knifelike precision and the result was a light and airy and oh so yum chocolate mousse. New Year’s celebrations deserve a little decadence, but by the time the end of 2017 rolls around most people will likely be stuffed to the gills. This dessert fits the bill to top off the year with a breath of richness that lightly tickles the fancy. Happy 2018!!!

Homemade Dark Chocolate Mousse

Click here to view the recipe on the Food Network website

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