Ok, truth be told, I’m not super into Valentine’s Day. While I completely miss the throwback days of dropping branded paper valentines into decorated lunch bags, I hated the pressure of celebrating (or not celebrating) as an adult… until I met the one man perfect for me in every quirky way. On our first Valentine’s Day, we were traveling through Detroit. Forgetting it was a holiday, we spent the day urban exploring and grabbed a bite at SLOWS (one of my favorite barbecue places) where they spoiled us for being adorable and in love, triggering our abrupt realization of the date.
Thus we began a tradition (admittedly, a weird one) called Anti Valentine’s Day. On February 14 we make a point to be together and take time to do things we like, especially if it’s unromantic in every way. In the past, this has consisted of eating ourselves sick at Popeye’s or watching action movies, but this year since I’m heading to LA, I thought it might be nice for me to sweeten it up a bit.
We love to cook together, so we deep dove into one of the more intimidating desserts I’ve ever made: a chocolate souffle. For me, it was the process that made it daunting: unique from everything else I’ve made, I had to lay down some of my prior knowledge and learn a lot of new technique, but the result made it worth it to follow each step carefully.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 tbs melted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 pinch salt
1 vanilla bean
3 egg yolks
5 egg whites
¼ cup sugar, plus 1 tbs, plus 2 tbs
¼ cup flour
7 oz melted chocolate, milk or dark, whichever you like
Step 1. Brush melted butter on inside of the ramekin and dust with sugar, then refrigerate.
Step 2. Add milk, vanilla bean, and a pinch of salt to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, remove from heat and take out vanilla bean.
Step 3. In a mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, flour, and ¼ cup sugar.
Step 4. Temper the eggs by adding half of the warm milk to the egg mixture and whisk together until smooth. Whisk quickly and make sure your milk isn’t too hot so you get a smooth mixture, not scrambled eggs. Then add this tempered egg mixture back to the saucepan and mix with the milk.
Step 5. Bring mixture to a boil and boil until thick, then remove from heat and mix in melted chocolate.
Step 6. Put in bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap is directly touching the mixture. Allow mixture to cool completely in the fridge, about one hour.
Step 7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. With a mixer, mix egg whites on medium speed. When the egg whites become opaque, add 2 tbs of sugar and mix on high to stiff peaks.
Step 8. Stir ⅓ of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Then gently fold the remaining ⅔ of the eggs whites until mixed together. Be careful not to overmix in this step.
Step 9. Fill ramekin and put in lower 3rd of the oven. Make sure that the edges of the ramekin are clean from any drips so the souffle rises straight.
Step 10. Don’t open the door of the oven for the first 20 minutes (the cool air coming in may cause it to fall). Bake until souffle has risen, but is only slightly jiggly, about 25-35 minutes. (Note: We used a larger ramekin to share, but you can absolutely use smaller ones and bake them for approximately 16-18 minutes.)
Final Step: Garnish and dig in! Happy Valentine's Day! 💕
Written by Joelle McNamara
Photos by Josh Woodall
Joelle McNamara is the Founder and CEO of Badala. A free spirit, if she's not working or spending time with her sweet family, she'll be found traveling, guzzling coffee, making something, or worshipping her heart out at her church. Her adventures can be followed at @joellemcnamara.