Soufflés And Sweet Success

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! February 14th is also the anniversary of Oregon’s statehood in 1859. So if you’re an Oregonian, today is especially wonderful.

I wanted to make something extra special this year for Valentine’s Day. Something with a real “wow” factor. And I think soufflés are both romantic and impressive. It also turns out that they’re not terribly difficult. They are “a bit fussy”, as my daughter cautioned when I first mentioned making them, but it’s really a matter of just having your ingredients ready and going for it. Soufflés are best served immediately so take that into account when making them.

Basically you are making a sweetened meringue with a base component such as chocolate or fruit compote. The most difficult part is to not deflate the meringue when folding into your base mixture. The air whipped in the egg whites quickly loses volume when mixed too much. So use a very light touch in that. Also the soufflés will begin to deflate after a few minutes out of the oven which is why they’re best served right away.

I’m so excited to cross these off my baking bucket list. There’s something really exciting about making new things. If there’s one thing I hope you come away from my blog with, it’s to step out of your baking and cooking comfort zone. Dive into a new recipe or technique. And if it doesn’t turn out perfectly, don’t let it get you down. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

I made two different versions of soufflés and while I prefer the chocolate over the banana, they both turned out equally great. Hopefully you’ll give at least one of them a try.

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! And Happy Birthday to my beloved Oregon! ♥️

Chocolate Soufflé For Two

3 egg whites, room temperature

1 egg yolk, room temperature

6 oz dark chocolate

1 Tbsp granulated sugar, plus extra for coating ramekins

A pinch kosher salt

1/4 cup half and half cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees if baking right away. Lightly coat 2 – 8 oz ramekins with cooking spray and generously sprinkle with granulated sugar. Set aside. In a small microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate and cream. Melt at 30 second intervals in microwave until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Add egg yolk and salt to cooled chocolate mixture and stir to fully combine. Add 1/3 of beaten egg whites to chocolate mixture and carefully fold in. Then add rest of the egg whites and gently fold in until just combined. Do not overmix or it will cause the mixture to lose air and not rise as much. Divide mixture between both ramekins filling completely. Run your thumb around inner edge to create a small well between the ramekin and mixture. At this point filled ramekins can be held in the refrigerator until ready to bake, for a maximum of two hours. When ready to bake, place filled ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes. Do not open oven during baking as it may cause soufflés to deflate from the temperature change. Once they have risen considerably and are firm on top, remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar or other garnish and serve immediately.

Banana Soufflés

2 medium bananas

1/4 cup half and half cream

A pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

2 Tbsp sugar, divided, plus extra for coating ramekins

1 egg yolk

3 egg whites

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat 2 – 8 oz ramekins lightly with non stick spray and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mash bananas removing all lumps. Add egg yolk, salt, vanilla paste and 1 Tbsp sugar. Mix thoroughly. In another bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Lightly fold 1/3 of egg whites into banana mixture and fully incorporate. Then add rest of egg whites and gently fold into mix. Pour into ramekins filling completely and smooth tops. Place on baking sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes. Remove when tops are sufficiently raised, lightly browned and firm. Garnish as desired and serve immediately.

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