Jan 11, 2013

Mocha Souffles with Sweetened Espresso Sour Cream

Souffles have always been on my 'there is no way I could make that' list.  I've only ever heard bad things about them.  You know, don't over-whip the eggs or they shrink in revenge.  Or, don't make a peep in the kitchen or the souffle will drop like a drunken Snooki after too many B-52's.  I've always stayed away from recipes that had too much stigma attached.  But really, these pretty-lil' pots are easy-peasy, period.

This recipe is supposed to make eight 6-ounce individual souffles. My ramekins must have been much larger than 6 ounces because I only had enough egg mixture for four. Also, as you can see in the photo they didn't over-flow and puff up because I didn't fill them to the tippy-top. If you want them to blast off over the ramekin edge be sure to fill to the very top.

A successful souffle is all about the nature in which you nurture you egg whites (say that 5 times fast, phew!)  Be sure to keep in mind the following when whipping:

Copper bowls are best as the copper metal reduces the amount of whipping time (so you don't run the risk of over beating).

or for a more scientific explanation:

When you whisk egg whites in a copper bowl, copper ions migrate from the bowl into the egg whites. They then ions form a yellow complex with one of the proteins in eggs, conalbumin. The conalbumin-copper complex is more stable than the conalbumin alone, so egg whites whipped in a copper bowl are less likely to denature (unfold). 

Stainless Steel is also a good choice (what I used and probably the most common for any home baker) especially when using cream of tartar or sugar as a stabilizer.

Stay away from aluminum bowls as they can cause your egg whites to discolor.

Plastic and glass are also not an optimal choice as the eggs tend to slip down the sides.

Another very important thing to note here is this recipe calls for room temperature egg whites.  Having egg whites at room temperature will ensure they'll triple their volume when whipped, so this step is crucial for a successful, fluffy souffle.  If you're like me and always forget to leave your eggs out (even with this recipe I forgot) place them in a bowl of warm (not boiling!) water for about ten minutes and you're good to go.

Lastly, I was not thinking ahead when I made these souffles.  They are best eaten directly from the oven, hot hot hot.  Not only are the best hot, they deflate almost immediately.  So if you want to wow your guests (or anyone) make sure somebody is around.  I was home alone.  Heck, even my son Mateo was sleeping when these were ready.  They are still fine to eat even after they've cooled, but all their volume and super-star power is gone.  Don't be late, or they de-flate.  I just made that up.

Mocha Souffles with Sweetened Espresso Sour Cream

makes eight 6-ounce individual souffles
printable version

For the Souffles:
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably 64% cacao, chopped
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder (not instant coffee granules)

For the Sweetened Espresso Sour Cream:
8 ounces sour cream
4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, (not instant coffee granules) *For a stronger coffee taste, add 1/2 teaspoon at a time until desired strength is achieved


Grease eight 6-ounce straight-sided ramekins with the butter.  I use a plastic sandwich baggie as a glove to make this step easy.

Coat evenly the ramekins with the 2 tablespoons of the sugar, tapping out the excess. Set aside.

In a 2- to 3-quart saucepan, heat the milk over medium-high heat until steaming hot. Add the chocolate and stir with a rubber spatula until melted.

Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the whites on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.

With the mixer running, slowly pour the sugar down the side of the bowl into the whites. Increase the speed to high and beat until the whites hold medium peaks, about 1-1/2 minutes.

Mix the egg yolks into the melted chocolate until combined.

Add the instant espresso and mix to combine.

Fold one-third of the whites into the chocolate mixture until totally combined.

Add the remaining two-thirds of the whites and fold until no streaks remain.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared ramekins. Freeze until solid, at least 8 hours ahead, then wrap tightly with plastic wrap. (The souffles may be made to this point up to 1 week ahead.)

When ready to serve, position a rack in the top third of the oven and heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the ramekins from the freezer place on a large baking sheet so they're easier to transfer in/out of the oven. 

Bake until the tops are puffed and cracked (either at the edges or on top) and the soufflés are barely set in the middle, 18 to 20 minutes.

While the souffles are in the oven, prepare the sweetened espresso sour cream.  Sift the powdered sugar into a medium sized bowl.  Add the espresso powder and whisk to combine.  Add sour cream and stir until thoroughly combined and no streaks remain.

Immediately spoon a generous dollop of the sweetened cream onto the souffles and serve.


Souffle recipe adapted from Fine Cooking
Sour cream topping courtesy of Epicurious

Egg references courtesy of Joy of Baking & about.com/chemistry

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