Salted Chocolate 'Soufflettes'

Good bittersweet chocolate balanced by a hint of sea salt makes these little souffles utterly addictive. It's good they're served in small portions. To up the decadence factor, serve with a bit of whipped cream and sliced fruit. Or simply devour immediately after taking them from the oven. I've halved this recipe to no ill effect (I used 4 egg whites to 2 egg yolks) and baked the batter in a variety of small ramekin dishes to mix things up a little.

Salted Chocolate 'Soufflettes' i
Nicole Spiridakis for NPR
Salted Chocolate 'Soufflettes'
Nicole Spiridakis for NPR

Makes 6 servings

8 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large egg yolks

7 large egg whites

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Butter six 1-cup ramekins (4 by 2 inches).

Finely chop chocolate. In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add cream and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and stir in yolks.

In another large bowl with an electric mixer, beat whites with a pinch of salt until they just hold stiff peaks. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, beating until just combined. Stir a fourth of the egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten and then fold in remaining whites gently. Fold and stir to combine.

Divide souffle mixture among ramekins and smooth tops with a knife. Gently scatter the coarse sea salt across the tops.

Bake souffles on a baking sheet until puffed, set and surfaces are cracked, about 25 minutes.

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