Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chocolate Mocha Souffles

Souffle. This word literally means "breath" and that is a very fitting word for this dessert. Light and airy, beautiful and elegant, this recipe is so easy to make and the "Wow!" factor is huge. I love that these souffles were meant to be made ahead of time, you can refrigerate it up to 24 hours for immediate baking or they can be frozen for up to 2 weeks. This means that all you have to do is pop them in the oven whenever you're close to serving dessert, and voila!, you've got yourself a gorgeous dessert that makes it look as though you've slaved all day.

- 3 ozs. (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, more for the ramekins
- Sugar for dusting
- 3 tablespoons dark rum, brandy, Grand Marnier, or water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
- 6 ozs. dark chocolate (at least 70%)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
- 3 ozs. (3/4 cup) powdered sugar

- whipping cream for garnish

*Serves 6.

Lightly butter six 6oz. ramekins and dust with sugar, tapping out excess.

Stir together the liquor or water and instant coffee. Set aside and stir occasionally until the coffee is dissolved. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bain marie (in a large bowl over a pot of simmering water). Remove from heat and whisk. Stir in coffee mixture and salt. Whisk in egg yolks, one at a time. *Note: the mixture at one point might begin to coagulate, don't panic, just keep whisking throwing some elbow grease into it and soon enough, the mixture should become smooth and glossy. Add about 1/3 of the powdered sugar and whisk. Set aside.

Beat egg whites in a mixer with a whisk attachment (or hand-held) on medium-high until soft peaks form. Gradually add the rest of the powdered sugar and whisk until firm peaks form. Spoon about a quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and whisk until blended. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold in until just blended. Pour batter into prepared ramekins. If you want to bake the souffles within 24 hours then refrigerate them. Put them in the fridge for 30 minutes to let firm up then cover with plastic wrap. If you'll be saving them for a later time then put the souffles in the freezer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Then wrap each ramekin in plastic and freeze for up to 2 weeks. If you're going to bake them right away, then let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes first.

To bake from fridge: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until they're puffed and risen about 1 inch above the ramekin, about 15 minutes. To bake from freezer: place frozen souffles on a baking sheet and bake for about 18 minutes. Serve immediately, with plenty of fresh whipped cream.

This is a must have in the kitchen. I love my Kitchen Aid mixer!

This is what a stiff peak should look like for the egg whites

Use a gentle hand when folding in the egg whites. Folding means a scooping under and lifting up when mixing, this ensures keeping the mixture aerated, which is key to having your souffles rise.

People always eat first with their eyes, so have fun in playing with the presentation

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