February 11, 2012

Chocolate Grand Marnier soufflé

A few nights ago, my husband and I had one of our fairly regular at-home date nights, which I really savor.  We had spaghetti carbonara along with salad (aren't we good to include the salad) and for dessert, I decided to make a chocolate Grand Marnier soufflé.  It is almost Valentine's Day, afterall, so a chocolate dessert is practically a must. 
I just noticed that I've been posting a few of these spoonable custard type chocolate desserts lately but I think we can definitely make room for this one.  There's something special about a piping hot soufflé straight out of the oven; it says "special occasion" but you can make it any night of the week.  For this one, I took the base chocolate soufflé recipe I've used before and tweaked it - mainly adding a good splash of Grand Marnier.  Instead of crème anglaise, I topped this one with some cold freshly whipped cream. 
I can't emphasize enough how perfect the combination of something cold is against a steaming hot soufflé.  And as I've said before, it is a real treat but not difficult to make.  My husband and I don't drink very much but he really enjoys things like chocolate with liqueur or something alcoholic in it (like champagne truffles).  I loved watching him enjoy his soufflé even more than eating it myself.

This chocolate Grand Marnier soufflé is very similar to the chocolate one I posted about here if you would like to see more step-by-step photos.  I tweaked the recipe just a bit, mainly adding a bit more chocolate and the grand marnier. 

The base for the soufflé includes dark chocolate, a touch of espresso powder (optional) to amp up the chocolate flavor, and some whole milk melted together.  Then, whisk in sugar and egg yolks.  Finally, I add the Grand Marnier and just a little bit of pure vanilla extract.
The other component of the soufflé is the egg whites.  Whip with a little bit of sugar until it just reaches stiff peaks (the peak you get when you lift the whisk droops over slightly).  Avoid overwhipping (it's very easy to over do it - and I tend to do it often) because it could become too dry and be difficult to fold together with the chocolate mixture.  Moreover, I've read that over-whipping egg whites will eliminate the elasticity they need to rise.
Once you've carefully and gently (since you're trying not to deflate the mixture much) folded the two parts together, fill your prepared ramekins just about up to the top.  I like to smooth the top with a small offset spatula or knife and then do the trick of running my thumb around the inner rim of the ramekin to help it rise a bit more neatly.
Depending upon the size of your ramekins, the soufflé bakes for about 12-15 minutes until it's puffed but still a bit jiggly when moved.  Take it out of the oven and dust it with some confectioners' sugar or cocoa powder, like I used in this instance.  Serve immediately since you want to eat it hot and they will begin to deflate once out of the hot oven.  A cold sauce of some kind is a great accompaniment to any dessert soufflé.  Lightly sweetened whipped cream, crème anglaise, or ice cream are all good options.


Chocolate Grand Marnier Souff

- For four 6-ounce ramekins, approximately -

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
1/4 cup whole milk
5 1/2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for ramekins
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
4 large egg whites, at room temperature

Butter 4 approximately 6-ounce ramekins and coat each with a teaspoon or so of sugar, shaking out any excess.  Set ramekins on top of a baking sheet.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt chocolate, espresso powder, and milk in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Remove from the pan and whisk in 2 1/2 tablespoons of sugar and egg yolks.  Stir in the grand marnier and vanilla extract.  Set aside.

Place egg whites into bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip on medium speed until the whites turn foamy.  Slowly add the remaining sugar and whip until it just reaches stiff peaks.

Gently fold the whites into the chocolate base using a rubber spatula.  Fill the ramekins almost to the top.  Smooth the tops and run your thumb around the ramekin (this is supposed to help the soufflé rise evenly).  You can leave the filled ramekins at room temperature for a few hours before baking when you are ready. 

Bake for about 12 minutes or so.  They are done when they've puffed up and are firm though still wiggle when moved.  Serve immediately.

Optional: Dust top of soufflé lightly with unsweetened cocoa powder or confectioners' sugar.  Serve with something cold like lightly sweetened whipped creamed, vanilla ice cream, or crème anglaise.


  1. Whip with a little bit of sugar until it just reaches stiff peaks (the peak you get when you lift the whisk droops over slightly"

    One of the problems is there is no consistency with the use of baking terms. However, what you describe is not "just stiff peaks" but a soft peak. And you may want to go longer because your souffle barely rose.

  2. Ironically, I think I over-whipped the whites in this instance and that is why the souffle didn't rise as much as it normally does. Plus, it's pretty hard to capture a picture of a souffle right out of the oven at its loftiest (for me, anyway...)

    Being just a home-cook amateur trying different things for the fun of it, I have loads to learn but luckily, most things - however imperfect - taste pretty good to us.



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