Mini Chocolate Souffles

  • Serves: Makes 7
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Baked chocolate souffles are so decadent! To make them even more sinful, I serve the baked souffles with my Chocolate Fudge Sauce and decorate them with Espresso Whipped Cream. It is very important to use the best quality chocolate for this recipe. I like to use Callebaut from Belgium, but Ghirardelli can be used, as well. Half of the batch can be prepared and then frozen for up to 2 weeks, thawed and then, baked as a last minute treat!
CHOCOLATE RECIPE HELP

Sarah's
Secrets

"Soufflé" by its very definition mean "to blow up", suggesting a delicate and fragile structure. There are many styles of soufflés - sweet, savory, and frozen dessert ones, but not matter what type, they should always have a light airy texture and creamy center. This one is especially fudgy!
 

STEP I: MAKE THE CHOCOLATE FUDGE SAUCE FOR THE GARNISH 
CHOCOLATE FUDGE SAUCE
This rich sauce is delicious with ice cream. Spoon it over your favorite scoop and watch the warmed sauce slowly slide its way over the mound of ice cream, covering it perfectly in a layer of dark chocolate. If you use bittersweet chocolate, it has less cocoa butter and sugar than semisweet, causing the sauce to be less fluid, so add a little extra butter and corn syrup to the recipe, is desired.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-processed or Natural): spoon into measuring cup and level to rim
1/2 cup powdered sugar, more if desired

1 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped into 1/4-inch pieces

1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or or 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur, such as Tia Maria or Kahlua

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Sift the cocoa powder and powdered sugar together in a bowl.

2. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together the water, sifted cocoa powder/powdered sugar mixture, corn syrup and salt.
Cook under low heat until warmed.

3. Increase the heat to medium-low and bring the mixture just to a boil.

4. Immediately, remove from heat. Add the chopped chocolate. Whisk together in one direction until melted and well combined.

5. Add in the butter and vanilla extract. Stir until combined.

Let stand to thicken before serving.

STORAGE
Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Rewarm, stirring it in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of already simmered water - do not subject it to direct heat. 

STEP II: PREPARE THE MINI CHOCOLATE SOUFFLES
MINI CHOCOLATE SOUFFLES

INGREDIENTS
9 tablespoons (1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon or 1 stick + 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra softened butter for souffle molds
9 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped; good quality. I prefer bittersweet for this recipe
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed or Natural cocoa powder; I prefer Dutch-processed for this recipe
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder, optional
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch cinnamon

4 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar, optional

1/4 cup superfine or sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
A. Prepare the oven and the baking pans:
1. Position an oven shelf to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Use a pastry brush to evenly coat the inside of 7 individual 3-ounce molds (I use disposable aluminum molds) with softened butter. Fill each mold with granulated sugar; then pour out the excess, making sure the sugar sticks to the sides and the bottoms of each. Set aside.
SARAH SAYS: The butter and sugar will keep the souffles from sticking to the sides of the molds and allow them to rise evenly. The sugar will also give them a crunchy crust, making a great contrast to the soft interior.

B. Prepare the chocolate base:
1. Melt 9 tablespoons butter in 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until all of the chocolate has melted. Sift the cocoa powder, instant espresso powder, salt and cinnamon togther, and stir into the melted chocolate mixture, a little at a time. Set aside.

C. Make the egg white meringue:
1. Using an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, place the egg whites in a mixer bowl; make sure both the whisk and bowl are clean and grease-free.

2. Beat on medium-low speed until foamy and cloudy, about 2 minutes.

Add the cream of tartar. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high.

3. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high. Add the sugar mixture, or the sugar, slowly at the side of the bowl and whipping the egg whites to stiff and glossy but not dry peaks. Then, STOP!
SARAH SAYS: If egg whites are beaten to dry and dull, they are overbeaten -- Watch carefully, because egg whites can go from stiff to dry and overbeaten in as little as 30 seconds.

D. Fold the eggs whites and chocolate base together and fill the prepared pans:
1. Fold 1/4 of whites into the warm chocolate mixture base to lighten. Fold in the remaining whites in 2 additions.
SARAH SAYS: Be careful not to deflate the egg white mixture, or the baked souffles will be flat and heavy. The mixture should be homogenous in color. However, a few thin visible streaks of meringue are okay.

2. Fill the pastry bag, with a large opening (no tip) half full with batter; you will probably need to refill the bag two or three times to use all of the batter.
Pipe the molds three quarters full with batter.
SARAH SAYS: Or, with a large mixing spoon, gently spoon the souffle mixture into the prepared cups.

STORAGE
At this stage, the molded souffles can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 weeks, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and then placed in an airtight container. Thaw in the refrigerator for 2 hours before baking.

E. Bake:
1. Bake the souffles 7 to 10 minutes or until they have risen about 1/2 inch over the top of the mold. Immediately serve from the oven on the pre-garnished plates, Step III.

STEP III: GARNISH THE PLATES WITH WHIPPED CREAM. IMMEDIATELY SERVE THE SOUFFLES FROM THE OVEN.
ESPRESSO WHIPPED CREAM

Makes 1 1/2 cups
 
INGREDIENTS
3/4 cups chilled heavy (whipping) cream
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar or powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
generous pinch salt

Chocolate Fudge Sauce, See Step I, above

A. Whip the heavy cream:
1.Meanwhile, while the souffles bake, whip the cream to stiff peaks.

B. Garnish the plates and serve:
1. Place the whipped cream in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe rosettes onto each serving plate.

2. Remove the souffles from the oven, Step II, above, and immediately invert each one over the center of a plate. Lightly tap the bottom and shake slightly to allow the souffle to gently drop from its mold.

3. Serve the souffles with warmed chocolate sauce. When you cut into it, the center should still be somewhat molten.

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