Author: Luisa Perkins
•8:23 AM
'Brown' as in chocolate, of course. Ahhh, Valentine's Day: another excellent reason to eat chocolate. Today, my Valentine to you is the fantastic recipe that follows. Here's why I love it, my trifecta of recipe requirements:

1) It's delicious.
2) It's impressive to serve.
3) It's easy. Really.

I cut the recipe out of The New York Times Magazine at least 12 years ago; I say that because I believe Christian was a baby the first time I made it. I've made it many times since then--sometimes for Epiphany, with a clean coin hidden in one of the servings, sometimes at this time of year, or anytime I need something quick, elegant, and scrumptious (come to think of it, that should be nearly every day). It is adapted from a famous dessert served at Manhattan's Gramercy Tavern.

First of all, you need 8 small (3 to 4 oz.) heat-proof ramekins. Those tiny Pyrex bowls with the fluted edges work well, and you can usually get those in a package of 4 at the supermarket. Or splurge at Williams-Sonoma, or some such spot, and get the classic French white soufflé molds.

Chocolate Soufflés with Melted Chocolate Centers

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon, sugar
2-1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2-1/2 oz. semisweet chocolate, plus 8 additional chunks, approximately 1 inch long, 1/2 inch wide, and 1/2 inch thick
(don't use chocolate chips; use something good, like Green & Black's)
1/3 cup warm heavy cream
2 egg yolks
5 egg whites

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Butter the 8 ramekins, then dust the insides thoroughly with the tablespoon of sugar (this step is key; your soufflés will not climb up the sides of the ramekins without the traction the sugar crystals provide). Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet and set aside.

2) Melt all the chocolate except the chunks in a heavy saucepan over low heat; watch it carefully and stir it well. Add the warm cream and stir until completely combined. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the egg yolks and half of the 1/3 cup of sugar. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

3) In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the remaining sugar and beat until the egg whites form soft peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the next 1/3, and when the mixture is well combined, gently fold in the remaining 1/3.

4) Fill the ramekins to the rim with the chocolate mixture, dividing it evenly. Place a chunk of chocolate in the center of each and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until puffy. Serve immediately with whipped cream or really good vanilla ice cream.

Here's the fabulous news about this recipe. You can make it up through step 2, then let it sit (put the chocolate mixture in a warmish spot and put the egg whites in the fridge). Assemble the remaining ingredients and equipment, then have the rest of your fabulous dinner party. Once your main course, salad, and cheese have all been consumed and your guests are regaling one another with witty repartée, slip into the kitchen and complete steps 3 and 4. It won't take you more than 5 minutes to do it.

Have a wonderful day! As always, if you try the recipe, let me know how it works for you.
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On 14/2/08 , Lilacspecs said...

Ooh, sounds good. I usually try hard-to-screw-up stuff like stew, but I'll bookmark this post just in case.

On 14/2/08 , Radioactive Jam said...

In my mind's I see one of these. And it's speaking to me; it's saying, "put the cat out... pu-u-ut the cat out..."

On 14/2/08 , Kateastrophe said...

Just reading this recipe is making me drool. I'm totally making them tonight.

On 14/2/08 , meleah rebeccah said...

Happy Valentines Day!

On 14/2/08 , Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I've made something similar. It's absolutely divine. Happy Valentine's Day!

On 15/2/08 , dawn said...

I love chocolate, and those look decadent. And not to difficult. Nice with the make ahead steps too.

On 15/2/08 , Jenna Consolo said...

Love these pretty colors over here! And I also LOVE this recipe. I've had it several times and it was the perfect suggestion for today! YUM-O!

On 15/2/08 , Kimberly said...

Come March? I am so making these....mmmm....

On 15/2/08 , Goofball said...

pfff why always chocolate?

On 15/2/08 , Annette Lyon said...

I'm SOOOO trying these.

On 16/2/08 , painted maypole said...

oh you are making my mouth water....