Go-To Chocolate Dessert for 2010

photo by Ward Thompson © 2010

We all need a go-to dessert that will be an automatic pleaser.  Especially if we can find one that is either

  • Easy
  • Fast
  • Delicious
  • Chocolate
  • Impressive

Of course, it’s best to combine as many of those as possible. This recipe is not easy if you don’t have a mixer, or if you have fear of folding egg whites in a mixture, but it fits all of these criteria for me.  The best thing about it is that you can make the souffles ahead, and keep them in the freezer for up to a month, and just put them straight from the freezer to hot oven, only pausing to unwrap the plastic wrap.

Individual Chocolate Souffles

from The Best Make-Ahead Recipe by Cooks Illustrated


  • 8 8oz ramekins (or more ramekins of your preferred size, say 4 or 6 oz)
  • rimmed sheet pan
  • medium heatproof bowl
  • stand mixer with bowl and whisk attachment
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • spatula/spoonula for folding ingredients together
  • dish for separating eggs


For ramekin prep:

  • 2 Tbs softened unsalted butter (nonstick spray works here, too)
  • 2 Tbs granulated sugar

For souffles:

  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 Tbs (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs Grand Marnier (orange liqueur)
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/3 oz (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 8 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 oz ( 2 Tbs) confectioners sugar


  1. Grease the inside of the ramekins with the softened butter, then coat the inside of each dish evenly with the sugar.  Place the ramekins on a  rimmed sheet pan, for ease of moving them around.
  2. Melt the chocolate and remaining butter in a heatproof bowl, either in the microwave, or over a pan of simmering water.  Stir until the chocolate is smooth.
  3. Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and stir in the salt, vanilla, and liqueur, and set aside to cool.
  4. Put the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl for an electric mixer, and whip at medium speed until the mixture is very light in color, and triple in volume.  If you are using a stand mixer, this could take as little as 3 minutes.  If you are using a hand-held mixer, this could take 8 minutes or so.
  5. Fold the yolk mixture into the cooled chocolate mixture.
  6. Thoroughly wash and dry the mixer bowl and beaters, so there is no possible trace of the egg yolk mixture remaining.
  7. Whip the egg whites with the cleaned bowl and beaters on medium-low speed until frothy (1 or 2 minutes).  Add the cream of tartar.
  8. At medium-high speed, continue whipping the whites until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted (1 to 2 more minutes).  At this point, add the confectioner’s sugar, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form (2 to 4 more minutes), but don’t over whip.
  9. Vigorously stir one quarter of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
  10. Gently fold the remaining whites into the chocolate mixture until just incorporated.
  11. Carefully spoon the mixture into the ramekins almost to the rim, wiping excess filling from the rim with a wet paper towel.
  12. Cover each ramekin tightly with plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and freeze for at least 3 hours, or up to 1 month.

Baking Procedure

  1. Put the oven rack at a lower-middle position, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
  2. When the oven is at temperature, remove the ramekins from the freezer, unwrap them, and put them on a rimmed baking sheet.  (DO NOT THAW THEM BEFORE BAKING.)
  3. Bake the souffles until fragrant, fully risen, and the exterior is set, while the interior is still a bit loose and creamy.  This will take about 25 minutes for 8 ounce ramekins, 20-22 minutes for 6 ounce ramekins,  18 minutes or so for 4 ounce ramekins.
  4. Serve immediately.

These are really tasty, and not overly sweet.  But as you can see from the first photo, they have appeal amongst the small set as much as the adult set. You’ll feel great about having a few of these in the freezer, ready for any chocolate emergency.  I expect ramekin sales to go through the roof.  Just don’t eat too many of these at once. You don’t want to experience chocolate overload:

photo by Ward Thompson © 2010
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3 Responses to Go-To Chocolate Dessert for 2010

  1. Connie Dretske says:

    Chocolate overload looks scary, but the souflles look so yummy I’m willing to endure the negative side effects.

  2. admin says:

    It’s definitely worth it. And I found 8oz. ramekins at Target, for $1.99 each, so this should be a possibility for many.

  3. TS Allard says:

    With the lengths that he will go to support your Cheffy and Quilty endeavors, Matthew continues to move to the top of the “Husband of the Year” category. Thankfully, I am sure that there was some pleasure in his chocolate overload.
    I can’t wait to make some!

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