I like experimentation. I rarely make a dish the same way twice. I recently described my cooking to someone as frenetic and while I originally meant that I generally flail about the kitchen, I think it describes my approach to recipes as well. If there’s a flavor I want or a texture I’m after, I’m gonna try to get there a bunch of different ways… no, not to see what’s best, just because I’d get bored otherwise.
This approach does not work well in the realm of baking. As the T-shirt says, “Baking is science for hungry people” and, unfortunately, science requires proper measurements and correct temperatures and the like. I don’t pretend that I know how to bake, so when I bake, I defer entirely to others’ expertise.
That said, even though I made a few rookie mistakes, I was not embarrassed of the soufflés, especially when topped with rich vanilla bean ice cream and served with port.
Though, to be fair, how could any combination of sugar, fat, chocolate, vanilla, and booze taste bad?
I needed something to pair with the port and that’s how I came up with the idea of dark chocolate soufflés. I was originally going to just have dark chocolate and ice cream with it, but then I decided I needed a dessert that would measure up against the wonderful Thomas Keller chicken.
As I said, I defer entirely to others’ expertise when baking, so for the soufflés, I simply googled “chocolate soufflé” and sure enough, three links down, there was a recipe. The domain was cookingforengineers.com and you can’t go wrong with a domain name like that. So, I’m not even going to pretend like I had anything to do with this recipe. Basically, this post is just a bunch of bigger versions of the pictures on their site. Oh, except for I screwed a step or two up. Despite my mistakes, the soufflés weren’t half bad. Sure, there’s room for improvement, but then again, I always think there is.
But, if you take away one thing from reading this post, other than becoming hungry*, you should know that despite the soufflé’s reputation of being a very sensitive dessert and falling if you look at it wrong, even my bumbling approach to baking didn’t screw it up. So, please, by all means, give it a try yourself. If you’re just here for the recipe, head over to Cooking for Engineers’ dark chocolate soufflé page.
*this is the secret depraved intention of every food blogger… to make his/her audience hungry and jealous
This was done in a double boiler. In my case, it was a stainless steel mixing bowl set on top of a pot of boiling water. Be careful to make sure the water level isn’t too high. You don’t want it touching the bowl.
Then, put them in the oven to bake. I didn’t fill the ramekins up high enough. I thought I had enough for three. The recipe says to fill them 3/4 of the way up, but I only filled them 2/3 of the way up. However, I don’t think even 3/4 is enough. Next time I will fill them 4/5 of the way up.
And deliciousness. There’s something about seeing a soufflé ooze over the top of a ramekin that makes it seem that much more toothsome.