Valentine’s Day can be kitschy overkill. Still, there are some things that just never go out of style. Like chocolate. Sure, a box of chocolates is great, but you’re looking to impress, right? Step it up with Homemade Nutella Soufflés and bask in the adoration.
Soufflés are one of those dishes that sound fancy and intimidating, but they’re actually not too difficult. Best of all, they can be made ahead of time, so come dessert, it won’t matter if you’re a bottle of wine in, all you have to do is turn on the oven and pop them in (and set a timer…you know, in case you get carried away with your wooing).
This particular soufflé recipe goes the extra mile with homemade Nutella as the main ingredient. I made my first batch of this heavenly chocolate-hazelnut spread this past Christmas, and I must say, it has changed my life. No melting chocolate, no heating milk, or double boilers. Literally, this recipe is just six ingredients blended to smooth, creamy decadence.
I’m always looking for an excuse to put my homemade Nutella to use, and this was a good occasion as any. I melted it together with a bit of cream and stirred in an egg yolk to make the base for the soufflé. To that, simply fold in egg whites that have been beaten to a firm peaks.
Then fill your prepared ramekins to the brim. I like to make little parchment paper collars to give the soufflés more support as they rise. I find that this also lets me fill the cups up to the very top without worrying about overflow. A tip on the collars — be sure to use kitchen twine to tie them closed, tape won’t work.
While we’re on tips, here are a few more to ensure a beautiful, dramatic soufflé:
- Don’t over-beat your egg whites. This is easy to do, especially if you’re using an electric mixer. You’ll know you’ve gone too far if you see the egg whites starting to look a little curdled and watery looking. Your egg whites should be like smooth airy clouds with a nice sheen to them.
- A spoonful of sugar. Don’t skip the sugar in the egg whites. It helps stabilize the whites, helping to prevent that pesky over-beating factor. Besides, now is not the time to be thinking about sugar intake. Live a little.
- Fold gently. You don’t want to deflate all those air bubbles you worked so hard to create. Also, as you’re folding, be sure you’re scraping the bottom of the bowl too, not just the sides.
- No peeking. One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to soufflés is opening the oven door too often to check on them. Every time you open the oven, the temperature in there drops, and soufflés don’t like that. Try to check just once, when you think they’re close to done, and make it fast.
- Don’t use convection setting. The air flow is too disruptive and you may end up with the leaning tower of soufflé.
- Don’t dawdle. Soufflés wait for no one. Have your plates and garnishes ready and serve quickly because your dramatic soufflé will start to deflate as it cools.
CrÃ¨me anglaise is a classic soufflé topping, but want to know my favorite way to eat these? Split open the top and pop a little scoop of vanilla bean ice cream in there. You’re welcome.
Looking to impress someone? Make them a soufflÃ©. Looking to seriously impress someone? Make that a soufflÃ© of homemade Nutella. It's easier than you would think”¦don't worry though, that's our little secret. Make-Ahead Note: The soufflÃ© mixture can be made up to 2 days ahead. Just fill the ramekins and refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled until you're ready to bake them. Alternately, you can pop them in the freezer and keep for longer. Just move them into the refrigerator the day before you plan on baking them off.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400Â°F.
- Brush 3/4-cup soufflÃ© dishes with melted butter, using upward strokes up the sides; sprinkle with sugar (about Â½ teaspoon in each cup), tilting cups to coat completely and tapping out any excess. Using strips of parchment paper and kitchen twine, make a collar around each dish. The collar should extend about 2 inches above the rim of the ramekin. Arrange prepared soufflÃ© dishes on large baking sheet.
- Combine the Nutella and cream in large metal or Pyrex bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water and stir until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water. Stir egg yolk and salt into the mixture.
- Beat egg whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1 tablespoon sugar, beating until semi-firm peaks form. Using rubber spatula, fold 1/4 of beaten egg whites into Nutella mixture to lighten. Fold remaining egg whites into Nutella mixture in 2 additions. Divide soufflÃ© mixture among prepared soufflÃ© dishes, filling dishes completely.
- Bake soufflÃ©s on baking sheet until puffed and tops feel firm, about 16 minutes if at room temperature and about 18 minutes if chilled. Serve soufflÃ©s IMMEDIATELY (they will start to fall as soon as they cool). I like to serve with crÃ¨me anglais or vanilla ice cream (have guests split their soufflÃ©, and spoon a scoop of ice cream inside).
Make-Ahead Note: The soufflé mixture can be made up to 2 days ahead. Just fill the ramekins and refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled until you’re ready to bake them. Alternately, you can pop them in the freezer and keep for longer. Just move them into the refrigerator the day before you plan on baking them off.
Homemade Nutella (Vegan + Gluten-Free)
This decadent hazelnut chocolate spread is absurdly good, easy to make, and surprisingly not that bad for you! (Adapted from The Kitchn.)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: about 2 cups
- Blend the hazelnuts and coconut oil until they form a paste. Add the remaining ingredients and continue blending, scraping down the sides as necessary, until it is as smooth as possible.
- Transfer your homemade bliss into a jar or resealable container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Note on equipment: If you have a high powered blender like a Vitamix, now is the time to use it. Otherwise, a food processor will work just fine, you may just have to scrape down the sides and process a bit longer to get the smooth consistency you want.
This post was published on KQED’s Bay Area Bites on February 11, 2013.