Friday, March 25, 2011

When the occassion demands chocolate....

Recently, the Dadster had a birthday.  The Hubster and I were invited to my parents' house for lasagna.  As always, I offered to bring dessert.  At first, since dinner was going to be kind of heavy, I thought I would bring something light and lemony (and, well, the parents had also just given me a dozen GIGANTIC lemons from their backyard).  However, the Dadster sort of had something else in mind.  You see, the Dadster is a first-class ice cream maker, and lately he'd been messing around with ice creams that contain booze.  He really wanted to make some Bailey's ice cream to share with us that night.  Since lemon and Bailey's don't really play well together, I decided to change my plans.

Now, I have a whiz-bang recipe for chocolate cake (found here), but I always want to try new things, and I didn't want to make a big cake for four people.  I thought about making brownies, or something else cake-like, but nothing was really calling to me.  Until I came across a recipe for chocolate souffle. 

I had only made souffle one other time (spinach and cheese, in case you were wondering), and I am totally in love with it.  So fluffy. So delicious. So impressive-looking.  And, since it would be served hot, it would be really great with cold, melty ice cream.  The bonus was that these can be assembled ahead and baked off when you want to eat them, since I would make them at home, and eat them elsewhere.

These were so good.  Slightly crunchy top, light and fluffy inside.  The original recipe came from Nestle, but I made a few alterations, which I have put in the recipe that I have here.  A few things to note:  I used 7 ounce ramekins, and it only made 5.  This worked out okay for us, since I only needed 4 for that night, and the last one we used as a tester.  When I baked my tester, I cooked it at the recommended temperature, and I found when I dug into it that the top was set (even a little over cooked) and the inside was still gooey in some parts.  So I recommend dropping the oven temp.  I baked the remaining ones at 375, for about the same amount of time and they were fantastic.  Also, I noticed that these didn't puff up as much as I would like.  They looked like the photo on the original website, and they were delightfully fluffy, so I probably shouldn't complain. 

Anyway, let's get on with the recipe!!

Make-Ahead Chocolate Souffles
Should make 8 servings.

Nonstick cooking spray
Granulated sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels (I used Ghirardelli)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup baking cocoa
4 large eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup granulated sugar

  1. Spray 8 (or 5, if you are like me) 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups with nonstick cooking spray; coat lightly with granulated sugar.
  2. In a double-boiler, melt the chocolate, butter and cocoa powder in a large bowl, stirring until smooth.  Stir in egg yolks and vanilla extract.
  3. Beat egg whites in a large mixer bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in 1/3 cup granulated sugar until still peaks form.  Stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg white mixture gently but thoroughly.  Spoon into prepared ramekins, filling about 3/4 full.  Cover souffles individually with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
  4. Preheat oven to 375. Remove plastic wrap from souffles.  Place souffles on baking sheet. Bake on center oven rack for 18 to 20 minutes or until puffed and center still moves slightly. Serve with a scoop of ice cream. Serve immediately. 
Note: if you want to bake them immediately, just reduce the baking time by a couple of minutes.

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