Mmmm...chocolate mousse. For my money, a much more satisfying (and crowd-pleasing) dessert than cookies and brownies. Two can share a ramekin, this stuff is rich.
3 oz best-quality bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
3 large eggs, separated
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons confectionary sugar, sifted
Combine chocolate and water in large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. When the chocolate is melted, whisk it until smooth, then add the butter, continuing to whisk until the mixture is a silky cream with no lumps. Remove from the heat and whisk in egg yolks one at a time. Whisk the egg whites with the salt until they are white and foamy and hold soft peaks. Continuing to whisk vigorously, sprinkle in confectionary sugar until the whites hold stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, and turn into a bowl or individual ramekins. Refrigerate at least two hours.
Cost: depends on the quality of the chocolate, the other ingredients will set you back less than a dollar. I recommend splurging for Scharffen Berger. Just think: for a few dollars, you can have 6-8 ramekins of restaurant-quality chocolate mousse. Mmmm...chocolate mousse...