The word souffle intimidates me.  It reminds me of a smoking oven with a beeping fire detector or an uppity french restaurant with no crumbs on perfect white linens.  Sigh, but I really love souffles, especially chocolate…what’s a girl to do?  For Valentine’s weekend I decided to tackle the chocolate souffle – the Effortless and Exquisite way!  I decided to experiment a little and maybe cut a few corners, but the final result was relatively simple and delicious and not all that pricey.  It took about 10 minutes to prepare the ingredients and another 10 or so for baking. The cost for 6 servings is roughly $5 so a perfectly affordable treat to impress guests or that special someone.


Chocolate Souffle with Melted Chocolate Center
The ingredients for six servings:

6 Ramekins (I only have 4 so I added a small baking dish)
6 Large Egg Whites
2/3 Cup Butter (this may be decreased to 1/2 Cup)
Pinch of Salt
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
10 oz Chopped Chocolate or Chocolate Chips (about 3/4 of 12 oz bag)
Remainder of Chocolate Chips for baking
Powdered Sugar, Berries, Whipped Cream, or Chocolate Sauce for Topping

Chocolate Souffle Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Grease ramekins with butter from ingredient list, make sure the dishes are well coated.

Grease Ramekins very well

Melt chocolate using a modified double boiler or a real double boiler.  I used a small pot filled with an inch or so of water with a bowl on top.  Heat the water to medium hot and place the bowl on the pot.

Homemade Double Boiler

 Pour the chocolate into the bowl and allow to slowly melt.

Melt Chocolate Gradually
Constantly stir the chocolate as it melts so that it won’t burn.  Once melting starts, it will melt very quickly.
Stir, stir, stir
As chocolate is melting, crack egg whites into bowl and set pre-measured sugar beside the bowl.

Egg whites ready to beat

Begin beating egg whites.  An electric mixer is easiest to use.  Gradually add sugar a bit at a time as they are beating.

Add sugar a bit at a time

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  This will seem like an eternity.

Egg whites with soft peaks

 After chocolate melts, whisk in the butter, cocoa, and a pinch of salt.

Ingredients ready to whisk

 Whisk ingredients into chocolate until the mixture is completely smooth with no lumps.

Smooth chocolate

 Gently fold beaten egg whites into chocolate 1/3 at a time and blend well.

Fold egg whites into chocolate

Once batter is complete, refrigerate for about 15 to  20 minutes to firmly set.  I think this makes it easier to handle but you don’t have to do this.  Conversely, you can make up the recipe a few days ahead, leave in the refrigerator, and bake just before eating.

Cover bowl before refrigerating

 Remove the bowl from the refrigerator when ready to bake.  The batter will be just set on the top.

Batter ready to bake

Spoon into ramekins so they are about half full.  Do not overfill past 2/3 of dish or you will have a mess.  Using the remainder of the chocolate chips bag, take a pinch from bag and press into the center of each ramekin.

Chocolate chips into dish

 Press gently into batter – but not all the way through to the bottom.

Ramekin ready for the oven
Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet or metal pan and place into the oven.  Bake for 8-12 minutes depending on your oven heat.  I needed 12 minutes for mine.
Souffles!

 The ramekins will be incredibly hot.  Allow to sit on the counter to cool for about 5 minutes.  Invert a plate on top of the ramekin and flip.  The pre-greased dish should release the souffle very easily.  Be very careful as you can burn your skin.

Flip the ramekin onto plate

 You may dust the top of the souffle with powdered sugar.  Also berries, ice cream, creme fraiche, or chocolate sauce would make a delicious garnish.

Powdered sugar garnish

Serve warm so the melted chocolate center oozes out.  So Good!!

Effortless Souffle

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