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Sinful Chocolate Soufflés

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Did your jealous side rear its ugly head? Trying to make amends? Timing is everything with these chocolate soufflés, so make sure that the make-up session occurs after this blissful treat comes out of the oven. This recipe is from my alma mater, the French Pastry School. This is a great recipe to make for your beau, but it’s not so great for a big dinner party, because it requires a lot of last-minute preparation. If you really want to wow a bunch of your friends the next time you entertain, you can make the base ahead of time and then whip and fold in your egg-white mixture a la minute (that’s French for “at the last minute”). If you’re making this recipe just for two, you should cut the recipe in half; this recipe will make 5 individual soufflés. The consistency of the egg whites in this recipe is crucial. If the whites are overmixed, your soufflé will probably crack: But if don’t whip your whites enough, they’ll lack strength, and your soufflé won’t rise. Also, don’t get impatient and open the oven door. Soufflés are quite finicky, and a drop in the oven temperature could ruin a perfectly good soufflé. The sugar in the ramekins will caramelize during baking and give a crispy outside texture to the soufflés.

NotesUnfortunately, the shelf life for these delicious delights is just 10 short minutes. Soufflés must be eaten immediately, as the egg whites start to deflate and the soufflé begins to fall almost immediately after it is removed from the oven.

Vanilla bean paste is available at Sur La Table and other fine culinary stores. I really love Nielsen-Massey’s vanilla bean paste. You can find it online at Pastry Chef Central.

Folding is the process of incorporating two different ingredients by gently “folding” part of the mixture into the other part. Start in the center of the mixture and lift the batter up and over itself, turning the bowl as you continue.

Based on the Classic French Soufflé recipe from the French Pastry School

5 (3-inch diameter) soufflés

Preparation Time45 min

Preparation Time - Text45 minutes

Cooking Methodbaking

CostModerate

Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionCooking for a date, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturechocolatey, light, sweet

Type of Dishcake, chocolate cake, chocolate dessert, dessert

Ingredients

  • 3½ tablespoons unsalted butter, warmed to room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup bread flour, sifted
  • 1½ teaspoons unsalted butter, warmed to room temperature
  • ¼ cup (roughly) granulated sugar, for sprinkling
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or the seeds of ¼ of a vanilla bean, or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 recipe Soufflé Base
  • 2 large egg yolks, warmed to room temperature
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 4 large egg whites, warmed to room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt 
  • Sifter
  • Stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer
  • Pastry brush
  • Whisk
  • Ramekins for the individual soufflés

Instructions

  1. Prep: Take your eggs and butter out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before you plan to prepare the soufflés.

  2. To Prepare the Soufflé Base:

  3. Sift the bread flour.

  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a mixing bowl (if using a hand mixer), mix together the butter and sugar.

  5. Add in the sifted flour, stirring until it is barely mixed together. The mixture should have a coarse, clumpy appearance. Transfer this mixture to a clean mixing bowl and set aside.

  6. To Make the Soufflés:

  7. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  8. Using a pastry brush, line the ramekins with softened butter and then sprinkle them with the ¼ cup granulated sugar for sprinkling. Pour out any excess sugar that doesn’t stick to the butter.

  9. In a saucepan, bring the milk and vanilla paste to a boil. Add the soufflé base to the pan, and whisk the mixture together rapidly for about 20 seconds.

  10. Remove the mixture from heat and transfer to a medium mixing bowl.

  11. Gently stir in the egg yolks. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and set aside.

  12. Combine the remaining granulated sugar, corn starch, and cocoa powder.

  13. In a clean mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and salt together until the mixture forms stiff peaks. Fold* the granulated sugar-cocoa powder mixture into the whipped egg whites. Then, fold the soufflé mixture into the combined egg white-cocoa powder mixture.

  14. Pour the mixture into the ramekins until each is ¾ of the way full. Bake at 400°F for about 15 minutes, and the soufflés have risen high beyond the ramekins’ rims.

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