Soufflés are always a decadent treat. Simple, delicious, and impressive, something about them just says luxury. And while they are certainly not expensive or difficult to prepare, they have always been something that you need to make at the very last minute, which has always made them an unappealing choice for entertaining. There is also always a little bit of uncertainty as to whether or not they will rise or fall, and I am never in the market for surprises when I have a table full of guests waiting. But not any more. I stumbled across this absolutely ingenious recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for their make ahead chocolate soufflés. I swapped out the Grand Marnier for hazelnut liqueur, doubled the vanilla, and added a little bit of instant espresso powder to really round out the rich chocolate flavor. These soufflés are light, custardy, and full of great flavor. They are surprisingly almost cake like even though they contain no flour. And they add the wow factor to the end of any meal. Make ahead soufflés. Who knew?
Make-Ahead Chocolate Soufflés
(adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 tablespoon softened, remaining butter cut into 1/4-inch chunks)
1/3 cup granulated sugar , plus 1 tablespoon for coating the dishes
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarse
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (dissolved in the vanilla extract)
1 tablespoon Amarretto or coffee flavored liqueur
6 large egg yolks
8 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1.Coat eight 1-cup ramekins with 1 tablespoon butter, then coat inside of dish evenly with the 1 tablespoon sugar; refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Melt chocolate and remaining butter in medium bowl set over pan of simmering water. Turn off heat, stir in salt, vanilla/espresso mixture, and liqueur; set aside.
3. Bring the 1/3 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons water to boil in small saucepan, then simmer until sugar dissolves. With mixer running, slowly add this sugar syrup to egg yolks; beat until mixture triples in volume, about 3 minutes. Fold into chocolate mixture. Clean beaters.
4. Beat egg whites until frothy; add cream of tartar and beat to soft peaks; add confectioners’ sugar; continue beating to stiff peaks. (Mixture should just hold the weight of a raw egg in the shell when the egg is placed on top.)
5. Vigorously stir one-quarter of whipped whites into chocolate mixture. Gently fold remaining whites into mixture until just incorporated. Fill each ramekin almost to rim, wiping excess filling from rim with wet paper towel. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours, but for up to 2 days (you can freeze them longer than two days but may not achieve the same lift upon baking).
6. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake until fully risen, about 16 to 18 minutes. (Soufflé is done when fragrant and fully risen. Use two large spoons to pull open the top and peek inside. If not yet done, place back in oven.) Serve immediately.