Saturday, August 7, 2010

Chocolate Soufflé by Sarah Duncan

One dessert many people would love to try, but are too afraid to attempt making at home is the soufflé. This is because people become riddled with worry about the soufflé not rising, not tasting right, falling, etc. (maybe it's because they've seen Sabrina one too many times).  I am an avid baker and a huge fan of most anything chocolate, so part of me has always wanted to try making a chocolate soufflé, despite those fears. A few evenings ago, I finally decided to bite the bullet and make an attempt at this dessert.

So, how did my chocolate soufflés turn out? Well...pretty darn good! The recipe I used makes 4 serving sized soufflés, and they rose beautifully. The soufflés were airy, not too sweet, and had a rich chocolate flavor.  A basic chocolate soufflé calls for surprisingly few ingredients and can be made in a relatively short period of time (both pluses when making dessert). The recipe I used was one that combined and slightly tweaked two similar “fool-proof” soufflé recipes (sorry, like a lot of folks, I have a habit of tweaking recipes). The original recipes can be found at these websites:

Jennifer Sanborn go-to chocolate dessert for 2010
NY Times recipe with instructional video

So here is my combined version of these two recipes:


• 3 oz bittersweet chocolate (use a good quality bar chocolate, such as Ghirardelli, not chocolate chips)

• 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter

• Pinch of salt

• 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

• 3 large egg yolks

• 1/3 cup granulated sugar (plus 1-2 Tbsp for dusting ramekins)

• 4 large egg whites

• 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (this can be omitted if you don’t have any or substituted with ¼ tsp white vinegar)

• 1 Tbsp granulated sugar (for egg whites)


• Preheat oven to 350°F.

• Grease the inside of four 8oz ramekins with butter, then coat the inside of each evenly with sugar. Tap out excess sugar and place the ramekins on a rimmed sheet pan.

• Melt the chocolate and remaining butter and stir until the chocolate is smooth. Stir in the salt & vanilla, then set aside to cool.

• In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar until the mixture is very light in color and thick. The mixture will fall in a ribbon from the beaters when ready. Mix the chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture until well combined.

• Thoroughly wash and dry the beaters, so there is no possible trace of the egg yolk mixture remaining.

• In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites with the cleaned beaters until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. At medium-high speed, continue whipping the whites until soft peaks form. At this point, add the 1 Tbsp granulated sugar, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy.

• Stir one fourth of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture until well combined.

• Gently fold the remaining whites into the chocolate mixture until just incorporated.

• Carefully spoon the mixture into the ramekins almost to the rim, wiping excess filling from the rim with a wet paper towel.

• Bake until the centers are nearly set, about 18-20 minutes.

The soufflés should be served immediately after being removed from the oven. They can be eaten plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or garnished with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, fresh berries, or whatever floats your boat. So, it’s time to dust off those ramekins, set your fears aside (along with concerns about your waistline), and enjoy this classic dessert. Happy baking!

Contributed by Sarah Duncan

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