Chocolate Soufflé Ingredients
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, for preparing soufflé dishes/ramekins
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, for preparing soufflé dishes/ramekins
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
6 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (more concentrated than vanilla extract)
Preheat oven to 350°F and place a rack in the center. Butter and sugar soufflé dish or ramekins. Set on a rimmed baking sheet.
Place chocolate in a double boiler or in a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Melt chocolate, stirring until smooth.
Place yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire whip attachment. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar, the salt, and whisk on medium-high speed until very light,fluffy and thick, about 3 minutes. The mixture should be thick enough that when the wire whip is lifted, an egg yolk “ribbon” falls that takes 3 to 4 seconds to dissolve. Set aside. If whipping by hand, approximately 6 minutes.
Stir cream or milk and vanilla into the melted chocolate. Stir 1/3 of the egg yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture. Stir the remaining egg yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture. Thoroughly wash and dry the stand mixer bowl.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a wire whip attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until fluffy but not stiff, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle in remaining sugar. Beat 1 minute longer on medium speed until whites are shiny and firm but not stiff. Beaten whites should form a soft peak when wire whip is lifted. Stir 1/3 of the egg whites into chocolate mixture. Gently fold in remaining egg whites in 2 additions. Divide mixture evenly among prepared soufflé dishes. Can be chilled at this point* for baking later.
Place soufflé dishes on the rimmed baking sheet and bake until the soufflés are puffed and cracked on the top, 15 to 17 minutes. Test doneness by gently shaking the baking sheet, soufflés should jiggle only slightly. If centers are too soft, quickly close oven and bake an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with whipped cream.
*For many this is the ultimate chocolate dessert. You can prepare the soufflé mixture, fill the ramekins and refrigerate up to 2 hours before baking which makes this a convenient and impressive finish to any meal. If you do make the soufflés ahead, bring them to room temperature before baking.