This white chocolate mousse with cream cheese layered with cranberries is the perfect winter dessert. The smooth and creamy white chocolate is the best balance for the tart cranberry-orange sauce. While this dessert looks and sounds kind of complicated, it is much more simple than you think!
I love fancy-looking desserts that are actually quite easy to make! This easy white chocolate mousse takes just twenty minutes to mix up and the sweet cranberry sauce with hints of orange really takes it over the top.
Why Make This Dessert
Cranberry white chocolate mousse cups is such a great seasonal dessert. It is the perfect blend of creamy white chocolate, cream cheese, and cranberries.
Stunning colors! It is a really beautiful dessert with the vibrant layers of red, white, and sugared cranberries are just beautiful!
Perfect mousse cups to make ahead of time. If you have a party or dinner in the evening, make these in the morning and they are ready to go when you are!
This mousse is much easier than the classic version. It is made with cream cheese, heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Pretty simple, right?
No eggs, no gelatin. Just a quick mix of a few ingredients and it's done!
Let's look at the highlights of what goes into making this white chocolate cream cheese mousse with sweet cranberry sauce.
- Heavy Cream: Don't skip here, it is high calorie, but so worth it!
- White Chocolate: You can use chocolate chips or white chocolate baking bars.
- Cream Cheese: If you have not used cream cheese in a mousse, let this recipe change your mind! It makes it ultra creamy and gives it a nice tang!
- Powdered sugar: This is the best sweetener for making a silky, creamy mousse.
- Vanilla: It only takes a touch, but it is worth it. Make sure you're using pure vanilla for the best flavor.
- Cranberries: You can use fresh cranberries or frozen if they aren't available fresh.
- Granulated Sugar: Used to sweeten the sauce and coat the sugared cranberries.
How To Make This Easy Mousse Cups Recipe
This recipe contains three different components, the mousse, cranberry sauce, and sugared cranberries.
Step 1: Make the Cranberry Sauce
I like to start with it since it will need to cool. It's really similar to this other cranberry orange sauce recipe on the site.
- Add the cranberries, orange zest, orange juice, and sugar to a pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Once the sugar has dissolved and the cranberries have cracked open, it is ready to be blended. You can always leave this whole, but I prefer a smoother sauce for the dessert. Set it aside to cool or place it in the fridge to speed up the process.
Step 2: Sugared Cranberries
These are great to make ahead or you can make them while the mousse is chilling.
- Add the water and sugar to a pan and heat it over medium heat, mixing occasionally. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove it from the heat.
- Stir in the cranberries and mix to coat. Then spread them over a cooling rack to let the excess drain off. This will take about an hour. Once they are ready, sprinkle and coat with the extra granulated sugar.
Step 3: Make the Mousse
- In one bowl, whip your heavy cream to stiff peaks. I used this new hand mixer I got last month. I needed a new mixer but didn't want to spend a fortune. It's been great for me so far.
- In another bowl, mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until they are light and fluffy.
- Then pour in your melted white chocolate. Mix again until they are combined.
- Add the cream cheese mix to the whipped heavy cream, then fold to combine. Cover with saran wrap and place in the fridge.
Step 4: Assemble the Mousse Cups
Then it is time to assemble the white chocolate mousse cups. I find it much easier to fill the cups by using a pastry bag and tip for the mousse.
- Start with a layer of the mousse.
- Then a layer of cranberry sauce.
- Finally another layer of mousse and finish with the sugared cranberries.
How to Store
If you won't be eating these right away, you can always store the mousse cups in the fridge for 24 hours. They will hold for up to 48 hours but may get a touch watery with the cranberry sauce.
If you plan to hold for longer, wait to assemble the mousse and cranberry sauce in the cups until right before serving.
Just know if you are topping with the candied cranberries, don't add them until right before serving.
- Make sure to give your cranberry sauce time to chill before assembling. It will turn into a mess if you don't! It will make the mousse melt and it won't hold up.
- The sugared cranberries are completely optional. I just think they are really pretty. They hold well for at least 48 hours, so you can make them well ahead of time.
- This can also be made as a single dessert similar to a trifle. You will just need to use a 1-quart dish if you plan to serve it this way.
More Orange Cranberry Recipes
Is cranberry-orange your thing? I have a few other recipes I can suggest, as I love this flavor combo so much!
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For more inspiration
Easy White Chocolate Mousse with Cream Cheese and Cranberries
Cranberry Orange Sauce
- 3 cups cranberries
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 8 ounces softened cream cheese
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup granulated sugar You will use ½ cup for the simple syrup, then ½ cup for coating the cranberries.
- ½ cup water
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
Cranberry Orange Sauce
- Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the cranberries have burst and the sauce is thickened just slightly.
- Add them to a food processor or blender and blend until it is smooth.
- Allow it to cool before using it in the dessert. This can be made up to 7 days in advance!
Make the Mousse
- In a medium-sized bowl, whip whipping cream to stiff peaks. I like to use a hand mixer, but you can also use a whisk and whip it by hand as well. Once it is whipped well, place in fridge while you mix the rest.
- In another bowl, but using the same beaters and hand mixer, mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
- Now, place white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 second intervals until the chocolate is melted. Mine took about 1 minute and 15 seconds, remember to mix every 30 seconds, it will burn easily. If you have a microwave that runs really hot, make sure and check every 20 seconds. Mix carefully until smooth.
- Pour the white chocolate into the cream cheese mix. On medium speed, mix until smooth.
- Pull your whipped cream from the fridge and add in half to the cream cheese mix. Blend until smooth. Add in the rest of the whipped cream, but this time use a spatula and fold in. If this doesn't get it as smooth as you would like, you can always blend on low speed with the hand mixers for just a minute.
- Cover and place in fridge. I like to let it sit about an hour.
- Add ½ cup sugar and the ½ cup water to a small saucepan. Cook it over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. This is your simple sugar.
- Place the cranberries in a bowl and pour the simple sugar over the berries and mix them well.
- You will need to let the cranberries sit for a time, I like to Pour them over a cooling rack, spread them apart, and let them sit for 30-45 minutes.
- Now, add them to a bowl and sprinkle them with the remaining sugar. Mix until they are coated and spread them back out on the cooling rack. They are ready to go at this point!
Assemble the Cups
- Now, pipe into small serving dishes. I like to fill it about halfway, then add 2 tablespoons of cranberry orange sauce. Then pipe the remaining mousse on top.
- I also topped mine with some candied cranberries. These aren't necessary, but are really pretty! That recipe is also included in the post.