1 (12-ounce) package chocolate chips, (2 cups) dark, semisweet or mini semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons shortening (do not use butter, margarine, spread or oil)
Optional toppings: whipped cream lightly sweetened with honey and a light dusting unsweetened cocoa powder, for garnish
Chill a medium mixing bowl in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, place the cold water in a small bowl, sprinkle with gelatin and let stand 1 minute. Add boiling water and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Set aside. In the chilled bowl, combine the cocoa powder, salt, whipping cream and vanilla until roughly mixed. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream mixture until it becomes stiff. Do not over-beat or you will end up with chocolate butter. Beat in the gelatin mixture just until combined. Spoon chocolate mousse into decorative molds, dessert dishes or martini glasses. Refrigerate the molds for 1 to 2 hours.
Cover a sheet pan with waxed paper. Place chocolate chips and shortening in medium heat-proof bowl. In separate large heat-proof bowl, add very warm water (100 to 110 degrees F) to 1-inch depth. Carefully place bowl with chocolate into bowl of water. The water should come halfway up side of chocolate bowl. Stir chocolate and shortening constantly with dry rubber scraper until chocolate and shortening are melted and mixture is smooth. Do not get water into the bowl with chocolate. (If water cools, replace it with very warm water as directed above; water temperature is important to success). Remove chocolate bowl from inside water bowl. Remove the filling from molds and place on the waxed paper lined sheet pan. Pour chocolate mixture over the filling, and remove excess chocolate from around the filling. Refrigerate coated bombs for 1 to 2 hours before serving. Garnish, as desired.