Thursday, June 7, 2012

Nutella Chocolate Souffle

I've been wanting to make a chocolate souffle, but I was a little gun shy since my experience with making Strawberry Souffle. Well, I am pleased to announce that this experience was much better! The only thing I would do differently is use a larger souffle dish - or do 3 small ones instead. It was very easy, and it only used a few ingredients that are fridge/pantry staples (at least in my house). It's also gluten free - if you're in to that sort of thing. :)
  The flavor was light and chocolaty. The texture was set, and not runny at all. Crunchy around the edges and soft in the center. The melting chocolate whipped cream on top set this dessert over the edge. It's not the prettiest souffle that anyone has ever made, but it is the prettiest one that I have made. :) It stayed puffed up for a good while too, instead of falling quickly out of the oven. I don't know how long it would have held up, since I couldn't help but dive right in when it was still pipping hot (as you can see by my photo above.)
There is no reason to be intimidated by this souffle. It's only a couple ingredients and it is very impressive both in flavor and in ease. I do wish the Nutella flavor was more pronounced; but I wouldn't make this dessert without it. I think it gives the chocolate a more depth of flavor. Very nice if I do say so myself. (Not to toot my own horn or anything.) Let's get started.

Here's all you need:
Nutella, 3 eggs, vanilla, *salt, chocolate, and a buttered and sugared souffle dish
First, rub the entire inside of your souffle dish with butter - all the way to the rim. Then coat the butter with sugar and put the dish into the refrigerator to get cold.

Melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (the best quality you can find) in a bowl. It goes into the microwave for 30 seconds.

Take it out and stir. I know what you're thinking. It doesn't look like it's getting very melted. Why should I even bother stirring at this point? Well, trust me. You need to stir it. Because even if it doesn't look like the chocolate is getting hot, it is. Some of the chocolate chips are hotter than others, and if you were to just put it back in the microwave for another 30 seconds without stirring first you run the risk of burning your chocolate. Once it's burned it's done for. There is no recovering from burnt chocolate. Just take my advice and stir the chocolate chips.

Back into the microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir again. It looks a little scary at this point, but it will all be o.k.

After the final 30 seconds, you have a beautiful bowl of melted chocolate. Stir it lovingly to make sure all the chips are melted and the heat is evenly distributed. Now, resist the urge to dunk large marshmallows (or graham crackers, or just your fingers) into it, and turn your attention to the eggs.

Separate 3 eggs. Put the whites in a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer). NO YOLKS! - not even a drop, or the whites won't whip properly.

Put 2 of the yolks in a mixing bowl (or soup bowl if you must) and 1 can be covered, refrigerated and saved for another recipe.

To the 2 egg yolks, add 1 Tbsp Nutella and 1/8 tsp salt.

Whisk them together until smooth. Set aside.

Now it's time for the egg whites. Beat them with an electric mixer, or your stand mixer on high.

Add 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar,

1 tsp vanilla extract,

and 1/4 cup sugar. Just add it slowly as the mixer runs.

When the egg whites have at least doubled in size, and they are shiny and fluffy they are probably done. Raise the beaters (or whisk attachment of your stand mixer) up and look at the bottom. If you have peaks of egg whites that don't fall you are done! These are called stiff peaks. Congratulations. You have just made a meringue. You can not top a pie, make pavlova, or floating islands. Let's just finish the souffle right now.

Once the melted chocolate is room temperature (not set up, but definitely not hot anymore), add the melted chocolate to the Nutella and egg yolks. Whisk vigorously to get everything well combined. It will be thick, but don't be scared!

Add a spoonful of the egg whites and whisk in to lighten the chocolate base.

Add the lightened chocolate base to the large bowl with the egg whites . . .

and gently fold them together.

You want to combine the egg whites and the chocolate base without loosing all the air you whipped into the egg whites. Take you time and gently fold. Bottom to top, bottom to top, bottom to top. You're almost there.

When it is all folded together, pour the batter into your prepared, and cold, souffle dish.

Fill it just to the top, and run your thumb along the edge to help it rise straight in the oven. Don't do what I did. I filled mine too full. I had extra batter left over, and I tried to make it all fit. I'm going to make this again tomorrow (because it was just that good) and I'll cook it in a larger dish (or three small dishes) and see how that works. I'll let you know.
***Update: it didn't work as well with the larger dish. It didn't rise as well and got over cooked, so it fell in the oven. I think I'll just stay with making it in the 16 oz souffle dish, and having left-over batter. Or, I might try using a collar made of tin foil or parchment paper, so that I can use all the batter, and it won't spill over the sides of the 16 oz souffle dish. . . end of update. :)
Put the dish onto a baking sheet and put it into a preheated 375F oven. Once it's in, turn the heat to 400F and set the timer for 25 minutes.

While the souffle cooks, put some powdered sugar and some unsweetened dark cocoa powder into a small sifter, for decorating later.

After 25 minutes, take the souffle out. It will be a little jiggly but set on top and around the edges.
See what a mess I made, because I didn't want to leave any batter in the bowl? Oh well, it all still tasted good.

Dust the top with powdered sugar and unsweetened dark cocoa powder and it's done!

I think it's pretty. My husband said it looks like it's wearing a hat.

Take your spoon and break a hole in your beautiful masterpiece. It should be set all the way through. If you listen closely, you will hear a breath of air escaping the souffle when you break it open. (That is why it's called a souffle after all.)

Now you can eat it plain, but I think it needs a little something extra. I whipped up a little whipped cream and added the remaining cocoa powder and powdered sugar, from dusting the top of the souffle and now I have chocolate whipped cream. Delicious!
The whipped cream just slides down the hot souffle into the hole you made and creates a decadent sauce inside. Mmm.

It will continue to melt as you eat it. The hot souffle and the cold chocolate whipped cream are just dreamy together.

The edges are crunchy and the center is soft and fluffy.

Before you know it, the ethereal experience will be over and the dish will be empty. You will be satisfied, satiated and a little sad now that it's gone. But then you dry your single tear, and remember how easy it was, and how few ingredients it takes and you perk up as you plot and plan to make again the next day . . . at least that is what I did.
Here's the recipe:

Nutella Chocolate Souffle

butter (to grease the souffle dish)
sugar (to coat the souffle dish)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 
2 egg yolks, room temperature
1 Tbsp Nutella
1/8 tsp salt
3 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
powdered sugar (for dusting on top)
unsweetened dark cocoa powder (for dusting on top)
chocolate whipped cream (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 375F. Rub the entire inside of the souffle dish with butter. (I used a 16 oz dish and had batter left over. 3 small 8 oz ramekins would probably work too, but I would reduce the cooking time to 18 minutes. ) Then pour some sugar into the dish and tilt and turn it to get the sugar coated all over the butter. Put the dish into the refrigerator to get cold.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler, or in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Set it aside and let it cool. Whisk the egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla and sugar with an electric mixer, or a stand mixer, on high until stiff peaks form.
While the egg whites are whipping, whisk together the egg yolks, Nutella and salt until smooth. When the melted chocolate is just warm (not set, but definitely not hot anymore) pour the chocolate into the egg yolk mixture and whisk until smooth. It will be thick.
When the egg whites are at stiff peaks, stop whipping them and add a spoonful of the whites to the chocolate base mixture. Whisk until smooth to lighten the base. When combined, add the chocolate base to the egg whites and gently fold together until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared, cold souffle dish and fill just below the top - no higher. Place on a cookie sheet and onto an oven rack positioned in the bottom third of the preheated 375F oven.
Set the timer for 25 minutes, and turn the heat up to 400F. Do not open the door! After 25 minutes it will be set, but jiggle slightly as you remove it from the oven. Immediately dust the top with powdered sugar and cocoa powder, and top with a scoop of chocolate whipped cream. Serve hot!

Chocolate Whipped Cream

1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
1 1/2 tsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder
2 1/2 tsp powdered sugar (or to taste)

Whip with a whisk or electric mixer until medium peaks form. Spoon over Nutella Chocolate Souffle, or any other dessert you want to lend a hint of creamy chocolate flavor to.

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