Individual Chocolate Souffles

Slightly Adapted From The New Best Recipe from the Editor's of Cooks Illustrated 2004


For ramekins:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
For souffles:
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate - chopped or broken into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon, plus 1/2 teaspoon Grand Marnier, you can sub Kahlua, Frangelico, or Amaretto
  • 3 extra large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 extra large egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
Prepare the ramekins: grease with the softened butter, then sprinkle the inside of each greased ramekin with sugar, coating both the bottom and the sides.  Refrigerate while preparing the souffle mixture.

  1. Melt chocolate with butter - what ever method you like to use : use a heatproof bowl over simmering water, carefully microwave it or if you are like me, use a heavy le creuset pot over a low flame. Stir until smooth
  2. Remove chocolate from heat, add a pinch of salt, vanilla, and Grand Marnier. Stir to combine.  At this point I transferred the mixture to another mixing bowl which facilitates a faster cool down.
  3. Carefully separate the eggs into 2 bowls.  Note:  You will not use all 4 egg yolks.  You only need 3 of them. Save the 4th yolk for another use or discard.
  4. Using a stand mixer and paddle attachment, place the 3 egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar.
  5. On medium-high speed, mix the yolk and sugar until the color lightens and the mixture is triple in volume.
  6. Fold the egg- sugar mixture into the cooled chocolate mixture. It should look uniform in color.
  7. Wash and dry the mixing bowl thoroughly or else your egg whites will not whip up properly.
  8. Put the egg whites in the clean bowl. With the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on medium-low speed about 2 minutes until frothy.  Add the cream of tartar.
  9. Turn up the mixer speed to medium-high and continue to whip until soft white peaks are beginning to form about 1-2 minutes.  At this point add the confectioner's sugar and continue to whip another 2-4 minutes until stiff peaks form.  The confectioner's sugar helps to stabilize the egg whites which allows them to go from freezer to oven without deflating.
  10. Take 1/4th of the egg whites and stir them into the chocolate mixture.  Don't worry, you don't have to be gentle, they will deflate some and that's OK.  You want it to look homogeneous.
  11. Now GENTLY fold in the rest of the egg whites until incorporated. Fold, do not mix!
  12. Take ramekins out of the refrigerator.  Spoon mixture in to prepared ramekins, at least 3/4 full.  Wipe off any excess mixture from the rim of the ramekins with a damp paper towel.  
  13. Cover individual souffles with plastic wrap, then cover with aluminum foil.  Freeze for at least 3 hours or keep frozen for up to a week.  
Baking:
  • Place rack in lower middle position of oven.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • After the oven is holding at 400 degrees, remove souffles from the freezer, unwrap them and place them on a baking sheet. Remember: DO NOT THAW!
  • Bake souffles on the baking sheet for 18-20 minutes.  They should be risen, set, and the middle should look moist.  They will also be very fragrant.  If you use 4 ounce ramekins, I would check them at 14-15 minutes. They will take longer than half the time of the larger ones; remember, they are cooking from a frozen state.  Be careful not to dry them out.
  • Serve immediately 
I added a confectioners sugar heart by making a stencil on an index card, place the card over the souffle and sprinkled the sugar over the heart!  Why not make a personalized stencil?