Individual Bittersweet Souffles
- Place egg yolks in a small bowl and egg whites in a large bowl; allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter eight 6-ounce ramekins, souffle dishes, or custard cups; sprinkle with sugar.*
- In a large heatproof bowl or a heavy small saucepan, combine chocolate, the 1 tablespoon butter, and the milk. Place bowl in a large skillet of barely simmering water or heat saucepan over low heat. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the water bath or the saucepan from heat. Whisk in egg yolks. (Don't worry if the mixture stiffens slightly or is less than perfectly smooth at this point.) Set aside.
- Add cream of tartar to egg whites; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually sprinkle in the 1/3 cup sugar, beating on high speed until the whites are stiff but not dry. Fold one-quarter of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold into the remaining egg whites.
- Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins, filling each three-quarters full.
- Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake for 14 to 17 minutes or until souffles rise and crack on tops and a wooden skewer inserted into centers comes out slightly moist and gooey (the centers should not be completely liquid).
- Remove the souffles from the oven. Serve immediately. Serve with Chocolate Whipped Cream. If desired, top each serving with chopped cacao beans.
From the Test Kitchen
This is a remarkably versatile recipe. If you prefer a sweeter, less intense chocolate flavor, you can substitute a lower percentage bittersweet or semisweet chocolate; if desired, reduce the sugar to 1/4 cup to partially compensate for the sweeter chocolate. There is no need to make other changes in the recipe.
Look for caramel- and cocoa-coated cocoa beans at a specialty chocolate shop. Or call Chocolaterie Stam (1-877-782-6246) and request roasted cocoa beans dipped in caramelized sugar and rolled in cocoa.
Butter eight 4- to 5-ounce oven-going coffee mugs and sprinkle with sugar. For collars, cut eight 1x4-inch pieces of foil. Fold each foil piece in half lengthwise. Lightly coat one side of each foil piece with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle each with sugar. Wrap pieces of foil around cups (sugared side facing in), overlapping ends. Make sure foil rises 1-1/2 inches above rim of each mug. Use clean kitchen string or a piece of tape to secure the foil to the mugs. Prepare and bake souffles as directed in steps 2 through 6. Remove collars before serving. Warn guests that coffee mug handles will be hot.
Chocolate Whipped Cream
- In a chilled small bowl, combine whipping cream, sugar, and cocoa powder. Beat with chilled beaters of an electric mixer (or a rotary beater) on medium speed until soft peaks form. Fold in cacao beans.