A chocolate soufflé is a luxurious, light, and fluffy chocolate dessert that will wow your family or guests. What makes a soufflé special is that as the soufflé bakes, it dramatically rises right up right out of the ramekin it is in. In French soufflé actually mean to “puff up”.
Soufflés are not anywhere near as difficult to prepare as their reputation lends them to be. If you want to learn how to make a chocolate soufflé just follow our soufflé making tips and instructions and you will become a pro at making this ultimate chocolate dessert.
Also, If you are looking for the best Valentine’s Day dessert, this is it.
- 6 eggs - You need all the whites, but only 3 yolks. Use older eggs, not fresh.
- 1 cup whole milk
- 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate - 62% - 70% cacao. Use your favorite brand of high quality chocolate! This is incredibly important!
- 3 tablespoons butter - For buttering the ramekins. Melted.
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder - natural unsweetened (not dutch-processed)
- 6 tablespoons superfine sugar - plus more for coating ramekins
- powdered sugar - for dusting
- whipped cream - (Optional) to top the Soufflé.
Preheat your oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
For this recipe you will need 6 six-ounce ramekins.
Using a pastry brush or your finger, brush the melted butter on the bottom and sides of the ramekins until thinly coated.
Soufflé Making Tip: Use upward brush strokes on the sides of the ramekins. This will create groves in the butter to help the soufflé rise straight up.
Place the ramekins into the refrigerator for a couple of minutes to allow the butter to harden. Remove the ramekins from the refrigerator, dip your brush into the melted butter butter, and go over the sides of the ramekins again using upward strokes. As soon as the butter touches the cold ramekin it will stick to it. The reason for brushing the sides twice is insure that the chocolate soufflé doesn't stick to the side of ramekin. If it does, it won't rise.
Pour a hefty amount of the superfine sugar into one of the buttered ramekins. Holding it over another buttered ramekin, turn the ramekin every which way until a light layer of the sugar sticks to the bottom and sides. It's ok if some of the sugar spills out into the other ramekin. Once it looks like the image on the left, pour the excess sugar into the other ramekin. You can even give the ramekin some light taps to make sure the excess sugar comes out. Repeat until all of the ramekins are coated in sugar. What the sugar does is act as little wheels to help the soufflé rise.
Place the ramekins into the refrigerator.
For this step we are using vanilla to flavor the chocolate soufflé. However, you could easily change up the flavors by adding anything else. For instance, maybe the peel of an orange.
Add the milk to a saucepan. Slice open the vanilla bean lengthwise.
Scrape out the seeds and add them to the pot along with the split open vanilla bean. Bring the milk to a boil on your stove. Remove from the heat and let the milk and vanilla steep. This will help the vanilla flavor permeate throughout the milk. After a couple of minutes, remove the split open vanilla bean and discard it.
For this chocolate soufflé recipe, we need only 3 egg yolks, and 6 egg whites. Extremely important: You can not get ANY, not even a drop, of broken egg yolk mixed with your egg whites. Otherwise, when you make the meringue later on, the fat in the egg yolk will prevent the egg whites from whipping up. Also, try not to touch the egg whites with your fingers, as your skin naturally has oil in it.
Tip: Use cold eggs if you want the whites to separate easier from the yolks.
Best Way to Separate EggsGet out 2 small bowls and one medium-sized bowl. One small bowl will be just for safety (preventing cracked yolk from mixing with the whites), the medium-sized bowl will be for only the yolks, and the final small bowl will be for only the whites. Crack an egg on a small bowl. Cup your other hand, and allow the egg white to flow through the cracks between your fingers. Fling your hand a bit if you need to until you are left with just the yoke. Place the yolk in the medium-sized bowl. Now, whichever bowl is empty will be your safety bowl in case a yolk breaks. Crack the next egg over the safety bowl. This way if you accidentally break open a yolk, it falls into the safety bowl and doesn't ruin the bowl holding your egg whites. Should you split a yolk in the safety bowl, throw out or cook up that egg and wash out the safety bowl, and try again with a new egg. Again, place the yolk in the bowl with the yolks, and dump the egg white in the safety bowl into the bowl with the egg whites. Once you have 3 egg yolks in the medium-sized bowl, do whatever you want with the other 3 egg yolks — cook them up, stick them in the fridge to make pasta with later, etc.
Add 3 tablespoons of superfine sugar to the medium-sized bowl containing the 3 egg yolks.
Using an electric hand mixer on the high-speed setting, beat the sugar and yolks together until the mixture becomes pale yellow in color. This should take about 3 minutes.
Add the flour and salt and beat in until combined.
Add half of the vanilla flavored milk.
And immediately beat together using the hand mixer.
Transfer everything from the medium-sized bowl back into the saucepan. If you are wondering why we poured half the milk in the other bowl, it was to temper the eggs, meaning bring their temperature up slowly, so as to not scramble them.
Bring the saucepan up to a simmer, stirring CONSTANTLY with a whisk for 2-3 minutes or until it thickens.
Once the soufflé base has thickened, transfer it from the saucepan into a large bowl.
Now you need to melt your chocolate. What I did was place all the chocolate and cocoa powder into a microwave safe bowl and microwaved it for 30 seconds at a time, being sure to stir after each 30 seconds.
Once only small clumps of chocolate remained, I stirred it until the clumps melted and the chocolate became smooth. If you don't have a microwave, you can use a double boiler to melt the chocolate.
Gradually whisk the chocolate into the soufflé base.
Here is the chocolate soufflé base. Now we just need to whip up the egg whites to create a meringue to add to the chocolate soufflé base.
You may have wondered how a soufflé rises. When you beat egg whites their proteins unfold (denature) and stretch. This creates an elastic skin that traps air bubbles. When the meringue is mixed with the soufflé batter and heated, this trapped air expands, causing the soufflé to rise.
How to Make a MeringueImportant Meringue Making Tips: Thoroughly wash and dry the beaters for your electric hand mixer. If there is any amount of fat from the egg yolks on the beaters, the elastic skin won't be able to form and thus air can't be trapped. Also, it's best not to make a soufflé on a humid or rainy day as it's harder for the eggs to whip up.
Add the 6 egg whites into a large glass, stainless-steel, or copper bowl. By this point the eggs should be about room temperature. Feel the bottom of the bowl the bowl to test the temperature, don't use your finger. If not, leave them out a bit longer. Attach the beaters to your hand mixer. If you don't have an electric hand mixer you can use a regular whisk.
Beat the egg whites on high until they become frothy. If you have any cream of tartar in your spice cabinet add a small pinch — like 1/16 of a tsp. This acid will help denature the proteins quicker, helping the meringue to form quicker. This should take about 1 minute. With the mixer still going, gradually add in the final 3 tablespoons of superfine sugar. You want to beat the egg whites and sugar for a bit after each tablespoon has been added. Once all the sugar has been added, keep the mixer going for another 6 to 7 minutes or until stiff peaks form. To test for stiff peaks, turn off the mixer, and hold up the beaters so they are upside down. If the egg whites hold a stiff peak (peak doesn't flop over) then they are ready. See photo on the left for how the meringue holds a stiff peak.
Tip: As your are beating the egg whites, look for the point right when the whites start to lose their shine. This is the best point to test for stiff peaks.
Using a spatula, add 1/4 of the meringue into the chocolate and mix together until the chocolate lightens in color.
Scoop 1/2 of the remaining meringue into the bowl with the chocolate and FOLD it in gently. The whole point is to lose the least amount of air as possible. Fold from the outside towards the center, rotating the bowl a quarter turn as you do it.
Add the remaining half of the meringue and again, fold it in gently. It's ok if some white streaks remain.
Spoon the chocolate soufflé batter into the ramekins being very careful not to touch the sides of the ramekins with the spoon. You don't want to scrape off any of the sugar, otherwise the chocolate soufflés won't rise.
Now, you can either fill them up a little over 3/4 of the way full like I did or you can fill them up completely. If you fill them 3/4 of the way, rub your finger all around the top lip of the ramekin to remove the sugar. If you don't do this the outside top edges of the chocolate soufflé will have sugar crystals stuck to them. If you want to fill them up completely for the largest rise, just level off the soufflé batter using the flat side of a knife. This way you a level top.
If you are wondering if you can refrigerate the chocolate soufflés at this stage, I wouldn't suggest it. If anything, refrigerate the soufflé base if you need to but always make the meringue fresh right before baking.
Bake the soufflés for 15-18 minutes. The tops will be a tad darker and the soufflé should be rise about 1-2 inches.
Carefully remove the chocolate soufflés from the oven. You will need either tongs with a rubber grip or oven mitts as they will be very hot. Before serving, dust with powdered sugar. You can then top your chocolate soufflés with fresh whipped cream or a single raspberry.
You only have about 5 minutes before the air inside the soufflé deflates, so serve them immediately if you want the best presentation.
Should the soufflés deflate before you are able to present them, you could always run a knife around the sides of the ramekin so they fall out when held upside down over a plate. Then just heat the soufflés up a bit in the microwave. The air should expand a bit again, although not as much as before.
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Now that you have learned how to make chocolate soufflé, please be sure to view these other souffle recipes and these chocolate recipes.
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