Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse

This recipe is great if you don't want to use a traditional raw-eggs recipe, which Brian tends to be a bit weirded out by.  Gelatin binds everything together instead, and it does a pretty decent job!  It's simple, chocolately and delicioso!  And it's totally simple to make.

Serves about 8.

two cups of hazelnuts, toasted and smashed into tiny peices
1 3/4 cups of heavy cream
12 oz of good quality semi-sweet chocolate, broken into small bits
4 tablespoons salted butter
one tsp granulated plain gelatin

optional:  one tablespoon of dark rum or amaretto

Stash a mixing bowl and 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream in the freezer to chill down thoroughly..  

Combine the chocolate, the butter and the optional booze in a double boiler (or jury rig one with a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water).  Melt it all together, stirring constantly, until there's only a few small unmelted chocolate chunks left.  Set aside to cool.

Take the remaining 1/4 cup of heavy cream in the smallest saucepan you have, or a large metal measuring cup and sprinkle the gelatin on its surface.  Let it sit undisturbed for about 10 minutes.  Then, on the absolute lowest setting of your smallest burner, warm the mixture over gentle heat, swirling it constantly. Do NOT let it simmer or boil-- just warm it up for a minute or two.  Stir the gelatin/cream mixture into your chocolate mixture.

Take your chilled mixing bowl and the rest of the heavy cream out of the freezer, and whip the cream until medium peaks form.  Take about 1/4 of this and stir it into your chocolate mixture.  Then, fold the now-lightened chocolate mixture into your whipped cream in a couple of doses.  Just fold it in, and don't over mix--this will make your mousse lose all it's lightness!  Mix until almost uniform in color--some streaks are OK.

Spoon into pretty cups or parfait glasses, alternating mousse with hazelnut pieces.  Top with additional whipped cream for extra goodness!