Layered mousse and cookies imitate the rich layers of soil, sand, stone, and rock that are the foundation for this beautiful planet!
Heat 1-inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium heat. Break chocolate into pieces and place in the top half of the double boiler.
Cover the top of the double boiler with a tight fitting lid or plastic wrap. Allow the chocolate to melt slowly, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or so.
Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Keep at room temperature until needed.
In small sauce pan, heat 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream until hot (but not boiling), add coffee crystals and stir until dissolved. Cover and place in the refrigerator until needed.
In a medium mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form (3-4 minutes). Continue to whisk on high speed, while gradually adding 2 tablespoons of sugar. Whisk egg white mixture until stiff, about 30-60 seconds.
In a well chilled stainless steel bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the pint of heavy cream until peaks form. Add the vanilla extract and continute to whip until fully incorporated.
Fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the melted chocolate mixture, then fold in the whipped cream, and then fold in the remaining egg whites. Divide the mousse into 2 bowls (one will remain chocolate, the other will be transformed into mocha mousse).
Cover the chocolate mousse with wrap and hold at room temperature until assembly.
For mocha mousse:
Pour well chilled coffee/cream mixture into the"mocha-to-be"mousse portion, whip until fully incorporated and light. Cover and hold at room temperature until assembly.
Use crushed organic cookies, graham crackers, cereal, granola, etc. (your favorite crunchy earth look-alike treats) to create and define the earthen (rock and sand) layers in between the layers of mousse. Top parfait with a fresh layer of "snow" (homemade whipped cream) and a sprig of fresh mint.
Cover parfaits and keep chilled until presentation. Ode to spring and hopefully the last time we shovel snow for the season!
If mocha isn't your favorite flavor, try adding your choice of flavoring or extract to half of the mousse recipe: almond, peppermint, hazelnut, or even raspberry!
Play with the assembly: perhaps start with a fresh strawberry in the bottom of the glass, for a molten layer. ) Kids may even enjoy finding a gummy worm surprise squirming through the muddy mass!
This is a rich dessert, so use narrow parfait glasses or champagne flutes. (A pastry bag may be useful for filling extra narrow flutes.)