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Dark Chocolate Soufflé - By Z

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.

The main course. Plain old chocolate bars weren't going to satisfy after this meal.

The main course. Plain old chocolate bars weren't going to satisfy after this meal.

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 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

Mmm... butter, cream, and chocolate.

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.

I nearly decided to eat it plain at this stage. Well, I did eat a decent amount of it.

Here's where I went wrong. I added eggs while it was still on the double boiler, which started to cook them too quickly.

I used small pictures to hide my shame. But you can still see the texture is all lumpy.

Luckily on the other side of the kitchen, my dinner companion/sous chef was being competent and created perfect stiff peaks with fresh egg whites and cream of tartar.

Even more luckily, the texture wasn't terribly compromised when I folded in the egg whites.

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.

For science!

And deliciousness. There’s something about seeing a soufflé ooze over the top of a ramekin that makes it seem that much more toothsome.

Soufflés, ice cream, and port. Wonderful end to a great meal.


  1. Z wrote:

    I feel compelled to note that the bottom picture is the most accurate depiction of how the soufflés turned out. We wanted to eat them warm, so I just snapped a quick picture before digging in.

    The picture at the top, however, is of the third soufflé, and as you can see, it has reduced in size and pulled away from the edges of the ramekin.

    Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 10:14 am | Permalink
  2. Holy Batman, that looks good! I generally prefer cooking to baking for a similar reason. I don’t really like following exact measurements or directions. Problem is, I think I like dessert more than dinner.

    Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Permalink
  3. Z wrote:

    I definitely don’t like dessert more than dinner so I, more often than not, forgo it altogether.

    Saturday, July 10, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

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