Celebrate the spirits of spring with an ode to chocolate

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February has come around and the ghost of Saint Valentine is lingering in the air. Snowflakes are falling as hope for the first signs of spring start rolling in. Friends and lovers alike seem to still be cuddling from the past season, but little by little the layers start to shed and the spring spirits awaken. This time of year doesn’t let us forget that it’s the season for love. From the hopeless romantics to the ones who walk around carrying cupid repellent, we should all agree that what everybody deserves this Valentine’s day is everybody’s ultimate love: chocolate.

For lots of us, one of the most awaited days this month is (not surprisingly) February 15th: the day all the Valentine’s Day candy goes on sale. There’s nothing more beautiful than eating heart-shaped chocolate for half the original price.

It is overwhelming to think about all the possible ways to eat chocolate: baked into a decadent cake, covering fresh strawberries, melted into fountains of fondue, or just plainly eaten by the bar. If you know me at all, you surely know that I live for chocolate. As an Ecuadorian, I was born and raised to love the golden bean with all my heart. Ecuador is the primary producer of fine cocoa in the world, which is why this Valentine’s Day away from home, I’ve decided to publicly declare my love for chocolate. This declaration goes hand in hand with sharing my family’s all-time favorite recipe: chocolate soufflé. This recipe is simple, and besides the bittersweet chocolate, it can be assembled using ingredients taken straight from the Deece. It has been adapted over the years from Epicurious.com.

This is an ode to the one thing that will never fail to love us back; chocolate, this is for you.

To begin, preheat the oven to 375F. Butter two to four soufflé dishes and sprinkle them with dark cocoa powder to coat them.

Melt the bittersweet chocolate in a metal bowl in a double boiler. Do not let the water boil, it should be simmering throughout the melting process. Stir occasionally. Remove bowl from heat and mix in the egg yolks. Beat rigorously, otherwise eggs will scramble. Egg yolks are mixture thickeners; therefore the mixture will quickly stiffen.

Separately in a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. If you do not own an electric mixer, utilize a whisk; it should not take much longer but the process will require a little more physical work.

Gradually add the sugar to the egg white mixture while continuing beating at medium speed. Switch to high speed until whites hold stiff peaks. Stir half of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture and combine with folding movements. Once the mixture is homogeneous, pout the chocolate mixture over the remaining egg white mixture and fold gently.

Distribute mixture evenly in ceramic soufflé dishes and put in the middle of the oven. The trick with chocolate soufflé lies in taking it out of the oven right before it fully cooks, which will cause the center of each ramekin to remain molten. The time required for this vastly varies with differing ovens, but it should take anytime between 15 and 25 minutes. The soufflés should be puffed on top but still jiggly in the center. Serve immediately. A good accompaniment for chocolate soufflé is vanilla ice cream, but let your imagination fly and experiment with different garnishes and toppings; your friends, family, and even the anti-cupid people in your life will fall for this dessert over and over again!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 5 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dark cocoa powder to coat ceramic soufflé dish (optional)

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