These dark-chocolate soufflés will make you and your Valentine swoon! Light as air, yet dense with chocolate decadence and a hint of coffee, these impressive gems will make you look like an accomplished, undauntedly passionate pastry chef.
What’s the key to a successful soufflé? Beaten egg whites, which aerate the souffle batter and give it that must-have rise in the oven.
The best way to beat eggs to their full stature is to make sure the mixing bowl and beater are impeccably clean. Any oil residue will prevent the egg whites from beating up properly, which will hinder the height of your chocolate souffles.
Before beating the egg whites, rub your mixing bowl with lemon and salt to remove any grease, then thoroughly wipe it clean with paper towels. We recommend metal or glass mixing bowls, as plastic bowls can harbor fat particles even after a good cleansing.
Soufflés are best eaten immediately out of the oven, with just a quick dusting of powdered sugar. That first knee-weakening spoonful should be savored when the chocolatey goodness is at its peak height. If you wait, you’ll end up serving a fallen dessert. Sure, it’ll taste amazing, but it won’t deliver the high-rise satisfaction of a warm, perfectly-baked soufflé.
Worried about timing your Valentine’s Day dessert for after that romantic dinner? Good news: You can make the soufflé batter up to three hours in advance. Simply preheat your oven and slide the soufflés into the oven as you’re finishing up your meal. In less than 15 minutes, you’ll be diving into a divine dessert.
Individual chocolate soufflés
Serves 4 soufflés
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (for ramekins)
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1 tablespoon plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5-1/2 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate (70 percent cacao), cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 lemon
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- Garnish: powdered sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Place ramekins on parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Brush four 7-ounce ramekins generously with butter, then coat with granulated sugar.
- In saucepan, whisk milk with cornstarch.
- Add salt and bring mixture to simmer. Cook, stirring, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add chocolate and instant coffee. Whisk until well blended (mixture will separate).
- Whisk in yolks one at time, then add sour cream. Allow mixture to cool slightly.
- Place ingredients in large mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly.
- Coat clean mixing bowl with lemon juice and kosher salt. Rub lemon around bowl to remove all grease. Wipe thoroughly with paper towels.
- Using hand mixer, whisk whites in mixing bowl until frothy, about 2 minutes.
- Add cream of tartar; whisk until soft peaks form.
- Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar; whisk until medium peaks form, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Gently fold half of whipped egg whites into chocolate mixture.
- Repeat process with other half of egg whites.
- Pour batter into prepared ramekins.
- Bake 12–14 minutes until soufflés rise but centers are still slightly liquid.
- Dust lightly with powdered sugar.
- Serve immediately.
Batter can be prepared and held for up to 3 hours before baking.
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