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These individual soufflés are handy for dinner parties because they can be made ahead and kept in the freezer and baked when needed. Cook’s Illustrated suggests a Mocha alternative by adding one tablespoon of instant coffee powder dissolved in one tablespoon of hot water and add to the chocolate mixture with the vanilla. Valrhona or Callebaut chocolate is best, but Ghirardelli will work as well.
Individual Valrhona Chocolate Souffles
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pieces, plus more for coating ramekins
8 ounces Valrhona bittersweet chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped coarse
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur , preferably Grand Marnier
6 large egg yolks
8 large egg whites
1/3 cup granulated sugar , plus 1 tablespoon for coating the dishes
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1. Coat eight 1-cup ramekins with some softened butter, then coat inside of dish evenly with the 1 tablespoon sugar; refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Melt butter and chocolate in a large bowl set over pan of simmering water. Turn off heat, stir in salt, vanilla, 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 at medium low speed until frothy, 1-2 minutes; add cream of tartar and increase speed to medium-high and beat to soft peaks, 1-2 minutes; add confectioners’ sugar; continue beating to stiff peaks, 2-4 minutes. (Mixture should just hold the weight of a raw egg in the shell when the egg is placed on top.)
5. Beat in one-quarter of whipped whites into chocolate mixture by hand with whisk. With large rubber spatula, gently fold remaining whites into mixture until just incorporated. Fill each ramekin almost to rim, wiping excess filling from rim with wet paper towel.
6. To Store: Cover each ramekin tightly with plastic wrap and then foil and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours (or up to 1 month)
7. To Serve: Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Unwrap ramekins and spread them out over a baking sheet. Bake until fully risen, about 20-25 minutes. (if baking without freezing, reduce baking time to 12-15 minutes. (Soufflé is done when fragrant and fully risen. Use two spoons to pull open the top and peek inside. If not yet done, place back in oven.) Serve immediately.
8. Optional: Placing a “collar” around the ramekin, gives the souffle a much higher rise. Simply make a foil collar by securing a strip of foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray around each ramekin so that it extends about 2 inches above the rim. Tape the foil with Scotch tape to hold it in place.
Beating egg whites...
Folding egg whites into chocolate mixture...