While the French did not discover chocolate, they certainly figured out how to make it as decadent as possible. A rich soufflé, a luscious cake, and some irresistible cookies show just how innovative the French can be with their chocolate. The most difficult part about making any of these recipes will be choosing which one you want to try first!
This recipe makes six 3-ounce ramekins. Serve these soufflés with a small amount of Crème Anglaise on the side.
- 1 1/2 ounces bread flour
- 1 1/2 ounces butter, plus extra to grease the ramekins
- 8 ounces milk
- 3 ounces of sugar, divided, plus extra to dust the ramekins
- 4 egg yolks
- 5 egg whites at room temperature
- 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 ounce sugar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat.
- Add the flour and cook until the flour is pasty but does not have any color; about two minutes should be long enough. This mixture should be pale.
- In another pan, heat the milk and two ounces of the sugar and bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat.
- Add the flour mixture to the milk.
- Return the milk to the burner and bring to a boil again, stirring constantly, until smooth and slightly thick.
- Whisk in the egg yolks.
- Add the chocolate chips to the mixture and stir until completely melted and incorporated.
- Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Lightly butter the ramekins, and then lightly dust them with some sugar.
- Whip the egg whites and the remaining one ounce of sugar to stiff peaks.
- Gently fold the egg white mixture into the cooled chocolate mixture until just combined (there may be streaks of white and chocolate in the final batter), taking care to keep the mixture light and fluffy.
- Pour the mixture into the ramekins, almost to the top, leaving about a 1/4 inch of room.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove carefully from the oven and let cool slightly.
- Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving if desired.
There are several different ways to make and fill this cake. Some chefs prefer to fill it with whipped ganache and then pour ganache over the top of it, making each slice euphorically chocolaty.
- 1 1/2 sticks butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 egg whites at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup finely ground, blanched almonds (You can just get blanched almond slivers and run them through the food processor.)
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips or bars chopped into small bits
- 12 ounces semi- or bitter-sweet chocolate
- 12 ounces cream
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter, or spray with non-stick spray, two 8-inch round cake pans.
- Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
- Spray again with non-stick spray.
- Using a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat, and let it cook until it is light brown.
- Remove from the heat.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a bowl.
- In a large, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar to a medium peak.
- Whisk in the corn syrup and vanilla.
- Slowly add the flour mixture, whisking very gently.
- Add the almonds, whisking them in gently.
- Fold in the brown butter and chocolate bits.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans evenly, using an offset spatula to make sure the tops are smooth and the batter is evened out.
- Bake the cakes for 20 to 25 minutes until they test done.
- Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the pans.
- Remove the cakes from the pans, remove the paper from the bottoms, and let them cool completely before frosting.
- Using a bain-marie, or water bath, gently heat the chocolate and cream for the ganache, stirring occasionally.
- Once the ganache is smooth, turn off the flame. Pour half of it into a bowl and leave the rest over the warm water so it stays warm.
- As the ganache in the bowl starts to cool, whisk it occasionally so it has a mousse-like texture as it comes to room temperature.
- Once the whisked ganache is completely cooled, spread it over the top of one of the cakes.
- Place the second cake on the first cake. Make sure they are aligned.
- Place a cooling rack in a half sheet pan or cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.
- Place the cake in the center of the rack.
- Carefully pour the melted ganache over the cake, letting it flow over all the sides.
- Let the cake cool in the refrigerator until the ganache is set.
Chocolate Sablé Cookies
Sablé means "sand," which describes the texture of these delicate cookies. Sablés go great with coffee or tea. You can also serve these cookies alongside another dessert, like chocolate mousse, to add a textural counterpoint to the dessert.
- 6 ounces butter
- 2 1/2 ounces confectioners' sugar
- 6 1/2 ounces cake flour
- 1 1/2 ounces cocoa powder
- Using your stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix all the ingredients together until smooth.
- Place the dough on a smooth surface and roll into a tube shape about 1 inch thick.
- Wrap with parchment paper and seal the ends.
- Let the dough rest in your refrigerator for at least one hour.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Unwrap the dough and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Let cool on a rack.
Chocolate Goes with Everything
Chocolate is delicious in croissants, folded into crêpes, and served up in a loaf like a Marquise. It's spread over cakes as a ganache, rolled into balls to make truffles, and snuck into every recipe imaginable. With French chocolate dessert recipes like Financier cake, sablés, and chocolate soufflé, you can enjoy the taste of a Paris café in your own kitchen any time you like.