For Chocolate Lovers only  

Individual Chocolate Souffles (for Two)

Tips: A nice dessert for a Valentine’s Day meal, these are simultaneously very rich, not too sweet, very chocolatey, and very light. They’re no big deal to make, but souffles are not patient; for maximum volume, they must be served immediately after they’re baked. The perfect accompaniment is lightly sweetened whipped cream, and perhaps a good cup of coffee. Make sure you use good-quality chocolate here, and remember if it isn’t smooth in the bar, it won’t be smooth in the end product. I use Callebaut chips, but you can use any good brand. If you’d like your souffles less bittersweet, use a lesser amount of unsweetened cocoa powder.

I’ve seen a lot of negative opinions of alkalized (Dutch process) cocoa powder in the past few years. Personally, I think there are good brands and brands that are less good, the same situation you’ll find with any other product. I like Dutch process cocoa powder, so I continue to use it. But for such a small quantity, I think you can get away with using non-alkalized unsweetened cocoa powder, although I haven’t tried making the souffles that way.

You’ll need a whisk, an electric mixer (a handheld is ideal here), and two ten-ounce ramekins, preferably made of white porcelain, which will show off the dark chocolate color of the souffle. My ramekins measure 4-1/4 inches top diameter by just under 2 inches tall.   

Yield: 2 servings


  • 2 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped or as chips
  • Few grains of salt
  • 3 Tbsp. boiling water
  • 1 to 2 tsp. unsweetened alkalized (Dutch process) cocoa powder
  • 1 egg yolk, from an egg graded “large”, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla (see Note)
  • 2 egg whites, from eggs graded “large”, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

For Serving:

  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream
Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two ten-ounce heatproof ramekins, then coat the inside of each with sugar, tapping out any excess. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place the prepared ramekins on the lined sheet, and set all aside near your work area.

In medium heatproof bowl, combine bittersweet chocolate and salt. Pour boiling water on top. Allow to stand for a minute or two, then whisk until smooth. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula. Whisk in cocoa powder briskly until smooth. Allow to cool until at room temperature (this shouldn’t take long, even if you use a metal bowl), then whisk in egg yolk (the yolk will dramatically thicken the chocolate mixture---OK). Whisk in vanilla.

In small, nonplastic bowl with clean, dry beater(s), beat egg whites at high speed until frothy and increased in volume. Add sugar in three additions and beat until just before whites hold a stiff peak.

Add a large spoonful of the beaten whites to the chocolate mixture and whisk in well to loosen. Add remaining beaten whites in two additions. Fold in the first addition (not too thoroughly), then fold in the second just until batter is of an even color. Do not overmix.

Divide evenly among prepared ramekins, which will be a bit over three quarters full. Immediately place into preheated oven. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes. During baking, souffles will rise over edge of dish, especially in center. The lesser baking time will yield a souffle still “saucy” in the center, so your consistency preferences determine baking time here.

As soon as souffles are done, CAREFULLY remove baking sheet from oven. Using a broad-bladed metal spatula, immediately transfer each souffle onto a dessert plate. BE CAREFUL! SOUFFLES ARE HOT! Serve at once, preferably with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Note: If you’d like to use a liqueur in place of the vanilla, feel free to do so. Use a flavor that goes well with chocolate, such as orange or coffee. Make sure your liqueur is not so strong that it overwhelms the chocolate flavor!

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...Published: February 2005