Chocolate Souffle and Rediscovering a Cookbook

A few night ago, I was flipping through some of my pastry books and I decided to pick up “Chocolate Obsession” by Michael Recchiuti and Fran Gage. I have had this book for years but I don’t remember ever baking any recipes from it.

I have to admit I have a cookbook addiction, but after I get them, I tend to leave them on the shelf and never really bake from them. I do enjoy photographs and they do bring much inspiration, but I don’t usually copy a recipe from a book. However, this time, I was drawn to a chocolate souffle photo. It was beautiful, full of texture, dark, rich. I said, “I have to try this”.

I flipped to the recipe page and started reading through it to see what method the authors used. I am very particular about souffle and its consistency. I despise meringue based souffles and most chocolate souffle recipes I see are meringue based. I feel cheated with these… I want a souffle that has a thick, creamy interior and that is why I like my roux or pastry cream base recipes.

I went back to the chocolate souffle photo and saw that this souffle had an incredible texture inside. I had to give it a shot. Marvellous, indeed. The amount of chocolate in the recipe makes it almost like a molten cake but without egg yolks. Of course, no need to say that you must use the best available chocolate because that is what makes this souffle. If the chocolate is poor, then the souffle will be poor.

Just a little note about the book though. The recipe in the book fails to mention one of the steps. It lists the grated chocolate in the ingredient list, but then, it does not mention when or how this chocolate is supposed to be added. No big deal. It was pretty easy to figure out, but I did find that error. I haven’t tried any other recipes from it, but I think it is well worth it just for the photography and the food styling.

Chocolate Souffle

130 grams cocoa powder
350 ml water
1 vanilla bean, split
40 grams 70% chocolate, grated
70 grams egg whites
pinch of salt
75 grams sugar

10 grams sugar
20 grams 70% chocolate, grated
softened butter

Brush softened butter over all sides of the ramekins you are going to use. Make sure you brush applying vertical strokes. This will allow the souffle to rise straight up nicely. Mix the grated chocolate and sugar and pour into one ramekin. Turn so all sides are coated with this mixture and dump the excess into the next ramekin. Once they are all coated, refrigerate them until ready to use.

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and the vanilla to a boil. Turn heat off and let it steep for 5 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and reserve it for another use. Return the pan to the heat and bring to another boil. Add half of the cocoa powder into the boiling water and whisk constantly until all the cocoa has been absorbed. Add the rest and whisk constantly for about 3 minutes or until it thickens. Remove from heat and transfer the cocoa paste into a large bowl.

In the meantime, whip the egg whites with the pinch of salt. When they are almost fully whipped, add the sugar slowly, in batches. Let the meringue whip to semi stiff peaks.

Add the meringue into the warm cocoa paste and fold gently until no more white streaks are showing. Fold in the grated chocolate.

Spoon the souffle batter into the ramekins. Fill to the top. Bake in a preheated 350F degree oven until they rise. The time will depend on the size of your ramekins. Serve immediately.

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81 Responses to “Chocolate Souffle and Rediscovering a Cookbook”

  1. cookemila says:

    Felicidades de nuevo Aran….me apasiona el chocolate,creo que en mi casa lo que no lleva chocolate no se gusta…pero como consigues esa textura tan humeda en envase tan pequeño?a mi me tiende a resecar,sera demasiada coccion,pero solo me queda asi si lo hago en pasteles grandes…algun truco?felicidades de nuevo, me sorprenden tus fotos tanto como tus

  2. nadia says:

    these photographs are gorgeous, very beautiful in texture and light….okay I just want to devour them-so rich and moist!

  3. Christy says:

    Your souffle photos are phenomenal!! And to think that they are not meringue-based souffles!! How did you keep them up long enough to take the photos? The last roux-based ones I made did not survive very long outside the oven before collapsing into an unrecognizable slump. And I totally understand your cookbook addiction!! It’s funny..I kind of just read it for a bit and look at the pretty photos, then relegate them to the back of my heaving bookshelf just to buy more the next day!! Oh, and my obsession extends to magazines too, so that makes it worse..

  4. marion says:

    No No No ! I didn’t see that …
    It’s 10.21 AM and I didn’t see that
    Must be a dream
    Oh God I’M HUNGRYYYYYY !!!!

  5. Aran says:

    Cookemila- a mi tambien me encanta el chocolate! LO de como evitar que se reseque… pues en este caso no hay mas truco que no cocerlo demasiado tiempo. Una vez que el souffle ha subido, lo saco seguido para que el centro siga jugoso como a mi me gusta. Y nada mas! Pruebalo que es muy facil!

    Nadia- Coming from you that’s a HUGE compliment!

    Christy- This is a meringue based souffle, that’s why I was so surprised of the rich texture. The trick is the large amount of chocolate it contains and not just cocoa powder like the ones I cannot stand. This is rich, rich, rich!

    Marion- Anytime is good for chocolate!

  6. Gorgeous Aran, have never made a souffle but am always looking at them, I think this might just have inspired me!!!

  7. Christy says:

    It is a meringue-based souffle!! I misunderstood what you wrote and did not look at the recipe properly..sorry about that!! But I wouldn’t have guessed that this is a meringue-based souffle in a million years anyway!! So rich and dark!!

  8. Kim says:

    Aran- The chocolate souffles, look absolutely wonderful, rich and creamy. My mom just sent me her favorite recipe, I will compare them. I so understand your cookbook addiction as I just received eight new books this past week! I can’t resist them.

  9. C.L. says:

    This looks amazing! I really need major dessert lovers in my house. It is hard to love something so much when no one else is obsessed as you are and you end up eating 60% of it….poor poor me. I will still try it anyways…so there! Amazing as usual :)

  10. Madam Chow says:

    I really appreciate all the helpful tips and lovely photos!

  11. Rina says:

    Hola Aran, como siempre en tu blog cosas exquisitas…
    Hace poco entré en una dieta por temas de salud y extraño mucho al chocolate, a penas me dejen comer un poco me encantaría comer y saborear un souflé de nuevo!

  12. Tartelette says:

    I thought I could not do chocolate with this heat…until now! or is it pms…in any case, the souffles look like rich and wonderful!

  13. nicisme says:

    I’m so impressed with these photos Aran. Totally droolworthy, you must have been ready and waiting with the camera for this one!

  14. Cakespy says:

    Wow, you captured the perfect moment with this cake–that gorgeous gooey first-bite moment. I wish I could dig in!

  15. Anonymous says:

    WOW, Que rico se ve ese Souffle.
    Eres EXCELENTE!!!
    Gracias por contestarme anteriormente, ya encontre el nombre del libro: Mes Tartes…..
    Que chocolates usaste para esta receta (Marca, lo compras on-line)?
    Si puedes me respondes?
    Tu vecina Ana

  16. Aran says:

    Gracias Ana! Me encanta ese libro Mes tartes… uno de mis favoritos. El chocolate es 70% El Rey. Lo compre en Whole Foods. Tambien me gusta valrhona y otros muchos.

  17. Hoy es mi dia de suerte, que buen descubrimiento! YO tb soy una expat en Suiza, y me encanta la cocina! Las fotos son de primera. Felicidades!

  18. Oh…I am totally drooling all over the place. Your photographs are stunning.

  19. Your pictures are gorgeous! With the soft lighting makes them looks so yummy!! Can I have one, please :)

  20. Vera says:

    Aran, it’s so decadent and seductive!

  21. Lina says:

    I have never made a souffle before it is on my to try making list.

  22. Aran – your photographs are absolutely stunning. I share your love of cookbooks, too. I love them so much! This post makes me want to tackle souffle!

  23. Mrs.French says:

    Do you think one of these could handle the trip out to Portland? My mouth is watering. I have been stepping away from my daily dessert habit…however, for this, I may be willing to make an exception.

  24. Qué bueno tu blog, las recetas y las fotos! Me lo comía todo! Gracias por pasarte por mi casa, ahora que se donde vives también te haré más de una visita.
    Besos y enhorabuena

  25. such phenomenal photos—i can almost smell and taste the chocolatey deliciousness! If you ever need a recipe tester–you know, so there are no mistakes like in this cookbook, I am here for you Aran…

  26. Lori says:

    WOW…..i just have to make those asap. i think those are the most gorgeous chocolate souffles i’ve ever seen.

  27. Casey says:

    another souffle-lover (and sometimes souffle snob) here–this looks fantastic; can’t wait to try it. For a while I had a category on my blog called Souffle Tuesday, but I couldn’t maintain the weekly pace.
    Your photos are sublime. Delighted to find your blog.

  28. giz says:

    I simply cannot imagine anyone saying “no thank you” to this souffle. It’s gorgeous and the empty container says it’s delicious too.

  29. redmenace says:

    You sound like me. Looking at cookbooks for fun!

    This treat is beautiful.

  30. Y says:

    That souffle looks seriously chocolatey, in a good way. I’d been thinking about making this one too, as I loved the photo of it in the book.

  31. Tammy says:

    Wow, that looks so good! I really want to try these!

  32. Becky says:

    your photos are so beautiful! i don’t like meringue-based souffles either, and this one looks so rich and delicious. i want a mini one!

  33. Camille says:

    Oh, so rich, so decadent. I’ve gained ten pounds and I’ve only looked at the souffle!

  34. Anonymous says:

    i have just stumbled on your blog and am going to take my time going through the archives. It’s like going to a cake shop and feeling your head spin bcos everything is awe-inspiring! well done for such a beautifully photographed blog! nothing like a pastry chef to put the rest of us to shame.

    I’m hijacking this post abt choc souffle to ask if you could give us the recipe for the olive oil and lemon madeleines. (correct me if i’m wrong that the recipe was not posted?) It’s the first time i’ve seen madeleines made without butter (in my mind, madeleine=buttery goodness) and they look so marvellously fluffy! I would like to bake it for my family.

    Thanks in advance, and i’m still wondering how a blog like yours could have escaped my attention up till now…

  35. Elra says:

    OHHHHHHH Aran,
    How DIVINE!!!!!!

  36. This looks absolutely divine! I was just in San Francisco last month and picked up a box of chocolates from Michael Recchiuti. I’m sorry to say they are nearly gone and I’m desperate for more. Perhaps this souffle will satisfy the need!

  37. Aimée says:

    I know what you mean about longing for a cookbook and then once you get it, it just sits on the shelf. Love to see more from this one, though. Beautiful photos!

  38. Eileen says:

    Hi Aran,
    Yes, it was worth it for the photography and the food styling. Beautiful! And, it also looks like it was delicious.

    Eileen (passions to pastry)

  39. Veron says:

    Oh …my…God…!!! That looks amazingingly chocolatey! You just reminded me of that same book and i have never baked from it. He..hee… the hubby calls my bookshelf – the bookstore.

  40. Candace says:

    I LOVE chocolate souffles! I’ve been making souffles alot lately, but have yet to get pics and blog about it. Yours looks lovely!

  41. I love it how detailed and clearly you explain the recipe, Aran. And the result is amazing!

  42. What a BEAUTIFUL post Aran!!!
    Where have I been?

  43. Jeremy says:

    Beautiful pictures and I can’t wait to try the recipe, but you’re comment about the problem with the recipe in the book set my technical writer/editor side into overdrive and I noticed a small problem in your post.

    After steeping the vanilla bean you never say when you’re supposed to remove it. Nit picky, I know, but I can’t help that it’s the first thing I noticed.

    It’s easy to figure out what to do, and I will definitely be cooking this soon.

  44. Aran says:

    Hi jeremy!

    yes, you are right!! I apologize. The vanilla bean is supposed to be removed before adding the cocoa powder into the boiling water. Please allow me to add that correction. Thanks for pointing it out.

  45. Aran says:

    by the way Jeremy… were you the editor for this book? it sounded like you didn’t like my correction. I wasn’t trying to be elitistic about it, just a minor correction. The book is excellent.

  46. Hola de nuevo, muchas gracias por pasarte por mi blog. Si ser expat se ven las cosas muy distintas! Para lo bueno y para lo malo, no? Te pongo como favorita asi seguro que vuelvo, pq realmente todo tiene una pinta….. conoces el libro de Trish Deseine, el del chocolate?

  47. Dédalus says:

    Txokolatea asko gustatzen zait eta zuk egindako souffleak… a ze itxura ona daukan!

    Zorionak, Aran. Ikusgarria dela ta.

    Muxu bat eta ikusi arte.

    P.S. Nire Alfeizarretik asko gustatuko litzaidake zu ikustea. Nahiz eta agertu eta agurtu besterik ez egin.

  48. Great pick for a recipe try out! I love this book too, but find I stare at the pictures more than baking from it! Glad you tried one out!

  49. Cheryl says:

    Funny, I have this same book on my shelf and haven’t used it either. The palette matches my kitchen decor so I have it prominently displayed, too. (This isn’t why I bought it,but still.) Thanks for the incentive to try the recipe.

    By the way, I literally have your arroz con leche bubbling softly on my stovetop as we speak…

  50. ana dane says:

    Have you seen Chocolate American Style by Laura Brody? The photographs alone will bring you to your knees…and the recipes themselves are outstanding. Take a look next time you’re in the bookstore, and just see if you can walk away without buying it.

  51. Yamile says:

    Hola Aran , hace unos días descubrí tu blog y ya se ha vuelto uno de mis favoritos. Realmente tienes recetas muy buenas y las fotografías son espectaculares. Especialmente este souffle se ve estupendo y muy provocativo.
    Saludos desde Perú. :)

  52. Ivy says:

    Wow! I have to make this sometime becasue when I make this cho.souffle cupcake recipe I have-people go wild. With this-I have no idea what they would do-especially the ultimate chocolate lovers. Just looking at your pictures make me gain weight. :) haha.

  53. Claire says:

    I could come here just to stare…your photos are phenomenal.

  54. sorry to come back twice but my husband just took a look at this and we are going to try to make it tonight! i wish i had little charlotte pans to put them in though…

  55. Sew Bettie says:

    OMG! I want to reach through the computer and eat that chocolate.

  56. chefectomy says:

    Hello Aran,

    I am new to the food blog scene and just found you. Your blog is simply beautiful. Although I am well traveled and have been to Spain many times, I went to the Basque country last year for my first visit. What a beautiful homeland you have. I have not had much of chance to read your entire site but I will. I am hoping you have Basque influenced recipes to share as the cuisine is marvelous. I am glad to have found you.


  57. Aran porque habia perdido este post? Yo soy como tu! Compro libros y más libros pero es muy raro que haga algo de ellos. Pero me encanta cojer 3 o 4 y irme al sofa con ellos, solo mirarlos y inspirarme.
    Ese libro de que hablas no lo tengo pero lo vi ya y es precioso!
    Y precioso es también el souflé, se ve super “rich”! Un besito!

  58. i have this book, too. it is indeed beautiful–just like your souffle. i agree that it looks like a molten cake. delicious!

  59. Anonymous says:

    hi, your pictures on life are an inspiration to all….i have a question though… i am having trouble finding 70% percent is 100% okay to use….also is it unsweetened cocoa powder?
    thank you

  60. Aran says:

    Anonymous- If you cannot find 70% chocolate, try for 58% or 64% or in that range. Make sure to use good quality chocolate. I don’t recommend using 100% because it ill be very bitter and the texture slightly different. 100% chocolate is the same as unsweetened chocolate but it’s not cocoa powder. Unsweetened chocolate comes as a bar.
    Did I answer your questions?

  61. Anonymous says:

    thank you so much…so the cocoa powder and the 70% chocolate is both semisweet?

  62. Aran says:

    hi- i on’t think i explained myself correctly. cocoa powder is not semisweet chocolate. it’s cacao in a powder form, no cocoa butter, no sugar, just cacao. semisweet and bittersweet chocolate are generic terms to refer to chocolate that has some sugar in it. depending on the amount of cacao in the chocolate in question, they are identified with percentages. so in this case, use a chocolate that has 70% cacao content. so yes, 70% chocolate is semisweet chocolate but not all semisweet chocolate is 70%. does this make sense? what kind of chocolate do you have available to you? is it chocolate chips?

  63. Anonymous says:

    i want to purchase the best quality online….i am having problems finding a good brand with 70%… you use a specific brand that you can recommend?

  64. Anonymous says:

    great!! i took your suggestion and just placed my order….thank you so much for your kind help…you have so many wonderful recipes i can’t decide what to do first

  65. Anonymous says:

    I just tried your recipe, however it did not come out right, converting them into cups and tablespoons, as well as the egg yolk, any suggestions?

  66. Aran says:

    Anonymous- I’m sorry the recipe didn’t come out. I didn’t really understand your question. Did you convert the recipe to cups and tablespoons? That might be where the problem lies. And what about the egg yolks? There are no egg yolks in the recipe so I’m not sure what you are referring to. Can you please give me more details so I can try and see where things went wrong?

  67. Anonymous says:

    yes it didn’t come out good
    would you be able to post a version of the recipe with cups and tablespoons
    thank you

  68. Aran says:

    The recipe as it is in the book is:

    2 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
    3 cups water
    2 vanilla beans
    3 oz 70% choc grated
    4 egg whites
    pinch salt
    3/4 cups sugar

    the procedure the same

  69. Mary says:

    just found your website. great pictures. can’t wait to try some desserts. what camera do you use

  70. Aran says:

    Mary- thank you for your kind words. i shoot with a canon rebel xt and i use a sigma macro 50mm f2.8 lens most of the time. happy new year!

  71. mary says:

    thank you so much for your help. your very kind, happy new year as well

  72. Laura says:

    Hi Aran,

    Where did you get your individual pans? They look like mini Charlotte pans – I’ve been searching for those for years (ever since I had the most delicious chocolate souffle in one at Snake River Grill in Jackson, WY) and haven’t been able to find individual sized ones…

    As always, your photography is brilliant!


  73. claudia says:

    Hi Aran,
    I had a chance to take a class with Michael a few years ago. He was fun, kind, and informative. Try making the burnt sugar caramel. You cook the sugar until it smokes, which I told him was something pastry chefs try to avoid. But the flavors are very nuanced and delicious when used in different products, like ice cream or truffles. Thank you for your beautiful photos. Claudia

  74. Hi Aran, big fan of your pictures and your blog. I tried this recipe for chocolate souffle, and it didn´t come out like I expected.It was toungue scaldingly bitter…it seemed wrong since the begining, ridiculous amounts of cocoa powder. looks good on the pics, but completely unedible, maybe you got the amounts wrong passing the recipe to the blog, can you double check for me , please?

  75. Aran says:

    Fiamma Culinaria- I just double checked the recipe and it seems ok. The recipe indicated here is half of the recipe in the book (converted to grams). All chocolate used here is bitter, unsweetened cocoa and 70% so it’s bitter but I don’t remember it being extra bitter. Maybe just a preference? I am sure you can use a semisweet chocolate like a 58% and it’d turn out too.

  76. Colette says:

    Hi Aran, I absolutely love your blog! All…photos, recipes and stories. Actually you’ve been one of my motivations to take the decision to start a blog myself. So, congratulations and thank you! I, like Fiamma Culinaria had the same problem when I tried it a while ago, but I thought it might be the cocoa I used. The soufflé rose beautifully, smooth sides, even surface (in fact better than any other chocolate soufflé I’ve tried…if you have a roux-based recipe to recommend, I’d appreciate it)but when I tried it, it was really bitter. I’m in Spain, so I used valor. I could try with valrhona, though. My question is that I was just reading a David Lebovitz post on cocoa powder (that’s what reminded me to recheck your recipe) making a difference between natural and dutch-processed. Do you think that might be the cause? Can you tell me which one you use? Thank you!!

  77. Colette says:

    Aran, I just double-checked the conversion of the recipe you gave out from the book with a converter I recently discovered that seems to be really precise…I obtained exact the same amounts you give in grams for all (well, double the recipe) except for the cocoa powder. I got that 2 1/4 cups are equivalent to 193,50g. So that would make it about 97g for the halved recipe. I don’t know if you actually weigh in grams your recipes or in cups, so do you think this might be right?…because I am a bit obsessed on getting a chocolate souflé right! (that is, taste and rise…that it rises straight and doesn’t collapse):-)Thanks again and sorry to bother you on a post that you published such a long time ago.

  78. Claire says:

    Hi Aran,

    Just tried making these souffles and they were nearly perfect- yum! But when I put the paste of cocoa and water into the bowl, it seized completely meaning that I ended up with lumps of cocoa powder all through the souffles… Do you have any tips on how I might avoid this next time?
    Thanks so much- LOVE your blog!

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