Rise, My Little Souffle..and umm, TWOffle

Souffle. The word itself can be rather intimidating.  Of all things culinary, the mention of a souffle seems to strike fear in some, and it’s obvious why.  If you have one in the oven, time freezes; you don’t walk near it, you don’t talk near it, and for chrissake, don’t even attempt to take a peek at it because it will see you and deflate in protest.

Two of the best souffle recipes - Todd English's vanilla bean souffle, a foolproof chocolate mousse souffle. PLUS, a recipe for a unique marble souffle!

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

I’m not bragging when I say this because you know I’m the last one toot my own horn, but, I can rock a souffle.  For some reason, souffles behave like children vying for some kind of privilege from me, and it’s utterly baffling.  They rise like little soldiers of light and airy obedience, and even hold their position, tall and proud, until I say “at ease” once they’re presented with fancy fanfare.

People have told me I should open a souffle business.  Huh? You mean a place with gym mats on the floor, padded walls, and signs that read ‘TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES BEFORE ENTERING’ and ‘Shhhhhhhh — QUIET’ ? A shop that lives in fear of its egg white laden ramekins of rapture? Please try to keep your voice down, it/they might hear you!

Two of the best souffle recipes - Todd English's vanilla bean souffle, a foolproof chocolate mousse souffle. PLUS, a recipe for a unique marble souffle!

All that being said, is there a dish any less blog/photograph friendly? What are the chances of getting a photo of a souffle at its peak? I thought of all the Daring Cooks rushing these babies from oven to natural light.  I could already read the blogs

“It deflated before I could snap a photo!”

“I lost about 1/4 of an inch in height from oven to photo!”.

Unless the sun shines in your oven, the chances of getting a photo of a souffle at its peak height, once moved, are about as good as a meteor dropping on your car tomorrow.

Oh, I worked quick, but yes, I lost 1/4 inch or more off my souffles and this was just taking them out of the oven since I don’t have enough natural light to take photos in.

Two of the best souffle recipes - Todd English's vanilla bean souffle, a foolproof chocolate mousse souffle. PLUS, a recipe for a unique marble souffle!Two that somewhat survived the massacre (story coming up below).  Ice cream saved the day. What better way to add more vanilla into vanilla?  Vanilla bean ice cream spooned on top of warm vanilla bean souffle – hot and cold, melting, sweet vanilla center manna.

SO, I wanted to keep my souffles simple, simple as in vanilla and chocolate simple, and how about this..a marble souffle, folding some chocolate souffle in with the vanilla bean souffle so you get the best of both worlds in one ramekin? A TWOFFLE!

I decided to go with an old standby for the vanilla.  Okay, understatement – Todd English’s vanilla bean souffle needs a much more rousing intro than that.  A superb, spectacular and phenomenal (there are not enough adjectives to express how good these are!) standby is more apt.  They always turn out, so much so, that I even had the guts to add an extra egg white to make them rise even higher than they already do.

I’m such a rebel.

Two of the best souffle recipes - Todd English's vanilla bean souffle, a foolproof chocolate mousse souffle. PLUS, a recipe for a unique marble souffle!
I used a more mousse-like souffle for the chocolate souffle, a chocolate mousseline souffle recipe from BonAppetit.com that also always turns out great.  However, I used dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, even though I prefer milk chocolate, mostly due to the egg white dilution factor.  It needs a more intense chocolate flavor to counteract that egg white dilution.

Two of the best souffle recipes - Todd English's vanilla bean souffle a foolproof chocolate mousse souffle. PLUS, a recipe for a unique marble souffle!
Since I’m such a souffle goddesssss, of course I went into this challenge with the uttermost confidence, and of course, my vanilla bean souffles turned out gorgeous.  It was almost as if they knew it was a special occasion and stood taller than ever.  In fact, I would say they rose even higher than the height of the ramekin!  I was ECSTATIC, like a proud mama.  Now, I had to be careful carrying the baking sheet with these little hot mama’s to my little suburban Lowel Ego Light nook to photograph them.  With each baby step, I breathed a sigh of relief until I finally reached my destination.  My inner psyche was pleading desperately, over and over..

Pleeeease don’t deflate, just give me one photo!

Two of the best souffle recipes - Todd English's vanilla bean souffle, a foolproof chocolate mousse souffle. PLUS, a recipe for a unique marble souffle!                                                   Lowel Ego Light Massacre

I made it.  Yes! I’m ready to snap away, and they’re still standing tall!

Then I watched in horror through the viewfinder as one of the Lowel Ego Lights keeled over and smashed my perfect, tall vanilla soldiers to smithereens.  Surprise attack by the Lowel outfit.  I uttered a barely audible “No” and sat down in shock for a minute.  I could almost hear the sad strains of Taps.

Two of the best souffle recipes - Todd English's vanilla bean souffle, a foolproof chocolate mousse souffle. PLUS, a recipe for a unique marble souffle!BALLOONffles

Alright, I’m not going to bore you all with some souffle eulogy; it was time to put this disaster aside. Do. Over.

Remember how I bragged on and on about my souffle expertise, above? I almost deleted that part because guess what happens when you do toot your own horn?  Yep, you guessed it, my do overs were just, well..mediocre.  First off, the souffles didn’t brown very well.  It was really no big deal, since they rose nice and high.  However, they shot up and ballooned out.  They weren’t my usual straight and tall soldiers; they resembled Dizzy Gillespie’s trumpet cheeks.  My ramekins runneth over.

Most of them also keeled over a bit, so much so that they resembled slinkys.  But, there was actually one plus to this new souffle girth, they deflated in width before deflating in height, so I was happy to have a little more hang time vertically, as you can see below. Souffle liposuction!

Two of the best souffle recipes - Todd English's vanilla bean souffle, a foolproof chocolate mousse souffle. PLUS, a recipe for a unique marble souffle!                                                       Starts out like this….

Unfortunately, I also had a few chocolate slinkys.  They rose beautifully, but deflated faster than usual.  Again, not a big deal since both the chubby vanilla bean and chocolate carpenter’s dream souffles tasted fantastic; perfectly moist, intense in flavor, and feathery light.

Two of the best souffle recipes - Todd English's vanilla bean souffle, a foolproof chocolate mousse souffle. PLUS, a recipe for a unique marble souffle!…ends up like this.  

No, I’m not finished kvetching because I could not wait to see how my ‘experimental’ marble twouffles would turn out.  I carefully poured alternating layers of leftover chocolate and vanilla bean souffle into two buttered and sugared ramekins.  I gave the tops a gentle swirl and popped them in the oven.

Visions of chocolate and vanilla swirl harmony and tall, marbled perfection danced through my head.  What I was greeted with upon my dainty tiptoe to the oven was ummm..I don’t know.  One looked like a poofy doughnut, and the other had a hump on one side, the top facing me instead of the ceiling.

The Hunchback of Souffle Dame.

Regardless, they tasted great and also had that firm vanilla ice cream with swirls of ‘moussey’ hot fudge texture I so coveted.

Chocolate and Vanilla Bean Marble Souffle Experiment         The Marble Experiment…ummmm

For aesthetic purposes, I will continue to experiment with this TWOffle.  It was obvious that the chocolate needed some flour or a roux, like the vanilla bean souffle, so it could rise with it evenly -or- the density of the chocolate weighed down the vanilla, morphing them into weird, albeit delicious, souffle oddities.  Stay tuned for ‘the marble experiment’ part deux…one day.

UPDATE: By adding melted chocolate and cocoa to half the vanilla bean souffle prior to folding in the egg whites, I achieved Marble Souffle success.  Instructions in recipe.

Chocolate and Vanilla Bean Marble Souffle Experiment  Didn’t quite rise like a tall, proud soldier.  “You call that a souffle, you stupid cow?” kept echoing through my head a la Gordon Ramsay.

For some souffle recipes from the challenge, click HERE.

Vanilla Bean and Chocolate Souffle Recipes

FAILproof Chocolate Souffle Recipe

Ultimate Vanilla Bean Souffles
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 8 servings
Recipe created by Todd English
Watch Todd English make these souffles!
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar, plus more for dishes
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped (I used a whole vanilla bean)
  • ¾ cup flour, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
    confectioners' sugar, for dusting
    vanilla ice cream
  1. Butter and sugar eight 6-ounce souffle dishes, including the rim of each dish.
  2. In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine milk and vanilla bean with scrapings. Bring to a boil, and remove from heat. Cover, and let steep for 1 hour.
  3. Remove bean from milk, and reserve for another use.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, ⅓ cup granulated sugar, and salt. Add ½ cup steeped milk, whisking to combine and form a paste.
  5. Transfer paste to saucepan with milk, and cook over medium heat while whisking constantly until thickened and smooth, about 5 to 8 minutes. If the mixture begins to get lumpy - remove from heat, and whisk until smooth.
  6. Remove saucepan from heat.
  7. Prepare an ice-water bath: Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract to milk mixture, and whisk to combine. Transfer souffle base mixture to a shallow 1-quart container. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Set saucepan in the ice-water bath to cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  8. Remove souffle base from refrigerator, and bring to room temperature, about 1 hour.
  9. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F with rack in center.
  10. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 5 egg whites on low speed with cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add remaining ¼ cup sugar while slowly increasing the speed of the mixer until it is on high. Whip until egg whites are stiff and shiny.
  11. Gently fold egg whites into the souffle base in three additions.
  12. Divide between prepared dishes, gently tap on each dish on the work surface, and place on a baking sheet.
  13. Transfer to oven, and bake until dark golden and the sides appear spongelike, 16 to 20 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven, and dust with confectioners sugar. Serve immediately with vanilla bean ice cream.
For Marble Souffles
  1. Butter each ramekin and coat with sugar.
  2. Before folding in the egg whites, split the vanilla bean souffle mixture into two bowls. Vigorously whisk 2 oz of melted and cooled dark chocolate plus 1 heaping teaspoon cocoa powder (preferable dark) into one bowl. Fold half the beaten egg whites into each bowl. In each buttered and sugared ramekin, pour equal amounts of the vanilla bean souffle batter and chocolate batter until you reach ¼ inch from the top. Carefully marble the two batters together using a skewer. Bake at 375 F for 16-20 minutes.

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69 Responses to Rise, My Little Souffle..and umm, TWOffle

  1. Sue says:

    I think all of your souffles look beautiful(except maybe the smashed ones)!:( I have never even attempted souffles, but I’m sure I would be ecstatic if they turned out even half as lovely as yours!

  2. climbhighak says:

    Ah hell, damn light. You need to fire your Grip. “Who set this light stand?”

    You definitely rock the souffle.

  3. Rosa says:

    Wow, your soufflés are fabulous and so puffy! Great job.



  4. Suz says:

    :O :O :O :O


    Your soufflés are incredible! So tall, so proud & I’m in love with the sound of that vanilla one with the ice cream. *feels faint*

    Beautiful job!

  5. outoftheoven says:

    You weren’t kidding about rocking the soufflés! They look outstanding! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post – hilarious stuff. Fantastic job on the challenge!

  6. Shelley C says:

    Wow, you really are a souffle goddess! I had to laugh, because I, too, was totally imagining Daring Cooks all over the world fretting over not only making these, but figuring out how to photograph them without dropping or collapsing them… I will definitely be trying those vanilla bean souffles – they look AMAZING, especially with ice cream. You, as always, are awesome. 🙂

  7. Rick says:

    You rock more than souffles lol. They look better than any I’ve seen. Sweet and beautiful 😉

  8. blepharisma says:

    Yup, those were pretty wicked. I love the humour with which you wrote your post, too. 🙂

  9. LOL! You are the supreme souffle goddess! Poor vanilla, always prefaces with ‘just plain’ or ‘standby’ when it is the most sublime flavor in the world. We’ll definitely be trying your vanilla souffle recipe. And staying tuned for the perfection of your twouffle!

  10. theveggie says:

    All your souffles look amazing. I’m partial to the chocolate and wish I could have been there to eat it!!

  11. Charley says:

    Lisa, thanks for your comment on my Blue Cheese Souffles. The varieties you created are the perfect cool afternoon treat, especially the marble Twoffle – as you call it. First time visiting your blog and your style is a lot of fun.

  12. Ah your soufflés all look phenomenal too me. I do proclaim thee Soufflé Goddess too. Love the way you wrote your post too hehe.

  13. S says:

    Wow those look great! Well done!

  14. Jenni says:

    Well aren’t you a souffle goddess?! You must have slipped some viagra into your creme patisserie because DANG girl, they ROSE! 🙂 You must teach me your amazing powers! Awesome job, as always!

  15. Jenn says:

    Gorgeous soufflés, they look absolutely textbook perfect!! Love the marbling too!

  16. Mary says:

    I can’t stop giggling–sorry!
    They all look amazing, but I love the shape of the balloonfles, and the way they deflated. I had a few weird ones too, and made a third batch that I didn’t get on my post. That’s probably a good thing, because the phone rang 3 times while I was trying to photograph them. As a substitute teacher, I always have to answer the damn phone.
    Good luck perfecting the twouffles, but I am definitely bookmarking the vanilla, as it’s my favourite flavour–nothing plain about it.

  17. Erushi says:

    You definitely rock the souffle – these are gorgeous. (Well, except for the smashed one, but it does look rather cute in its smashed-ish state.) I love the marbling effect you did too. Fantastic job!

  18. Ruth H. says:

    These souffles are great. That marbled one is calling to me. I try to look away, but it is like a siren singing!! You totally rocked this challenge… you can come and make souffles with me anytime you want!!!!!!

  19. stacy says:

    Oh my goodness, I love all your souffles and twoffles! I agree with the other commenters, you totally rock the souffle. It was such a delight to read your blog entry – the only problem is that now I’m going to spend way too much time on your blog, reading all your other posts… 🙂

  20. ingrid says:

    Gorgeous photos! You totally rocked these Lisa!

    Okay so now I know what I’m going to beg you to make me when I come to NY. Souffle!

  21. Thomas says:

    Hi there. Your food looks great, but I have to say, your writing style is amazing. Been a lurker for awhile now. Please don’t ever stop writing this amazing blog :>)

  22. Lindsay says:

    Haha, I pre-empted the issue by taking photos of them still in the oven!!! Deflating problem solved! 😀

    Yours are GORGEOUS! Beautifully done!

  23. Dan says:

    Love the rise you got from the souffles. Your pictures are great and funny story too – best to keep things inflated if you can lol. Well done again!

  24. FOODESSA says:

    Ohhh…Lisa…I’ll keep this short since my mouth is still opened with awe!

    If there’s one very particular thing I got from your post is that you finally came to terms with the fact that you really do have a ton of talent. Yes baby…toot that horn…you’re fabulous at baking…and of course these souffles have brought you to the top.

    Alright, confession time…I’ve never made souffle. LOL
    One day, I’ll certainly get to it…and guess who’ll be knocking at your door?

    You’ve brightened my day ;o)

  25. Yep, you sure do rock the souffles (when they work ;p). But it seems obvious your successes far outnumber the not so muches. If we ever get one (and we admit the attempts will be far and few between) to rise so straight and tall as yours we’ll probably have to retire our souffle recipes for ever…

    And you spin a grand tale too – thanks for that.

    Well done, and all the best with your next batch of TWOffles!

    Stay JOLLY!

  26. Richard says:

    I’m blown away by what you have here! I can’t even imagine getting egg whites “and other stuff —- depending on the recipe” to rise like that! Magic, Lis? 😛

  27. Megan says:

    Wow! I think the souffles are gorgeous. I have a feeling I would have had a fit had a light come crashing down on such a beautiful creation. I’ve been eating more souffles lately and am inspired to make my own now… I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Your post and pictures are definitely inspiring.

  28. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Oh, your souffles look spectacular! They are so hard to take pictures, but many of yours came up just perfect! Those chocolate souffles look just like the ones we had at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in London!

  29. Holy smokes! Your souffles look like they’re on steroids! Very Cool! The results look terrific!

  30. Enjoyed reading about your souffle episodes, there were smiles and laughters here …

    All souffles look wonderful, especially the stand tall chocolate souffles and the marble experiment. Thumbs up! I confirm your title as the “Souffle Queen” 🙂

    Sawadee from Bangkok,

  31. Well it is about time you realised and told other people you are a very very talented bakers (in fact an excellent baker) they is no need to be immodest about your wonderful skills, lovely work and superb photos. I really love the chocolate ones a lot astounding results. Stunning recipe. YES you are souffle goddess. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  32. Valérie says:

    Lisa, you DO rock soufflés! I’m jealous… I’ve never completely messed up a soufflé, but I can never get them to rise quite that high. Yours are simply amazing, and the marbled version is so pretty! As for the little “disaster”… trust me, it’s happened to all of us.

  33. They’re so tall! These are amazing. They look lovely, and I like the plump ones. I’m sure you’ll perfect the TWOffle in no time!

  34. Laura says:

    Wow, really fantastic looking souffles. I can’t believe how the souffles rose so high. You really are the souffle queen. Great idea to make the marble souffle.

  35. Your soufflé look great! Even the ones that didn’t quite make it.

    I haven’t attempted them yet, but look I forward to the day where I to can share my probably soufflé disaster LOL 🙂

  36. Renata says:

    Hey Lisa! Your soufflés are AWESOME!!! You made me laugh with your story! 😛
    Thanks for visiting my “not yet” DC soufflé. Now I have to try a sweet version, definitely your suggestion vanilla/chocolate. Sounds wonderful!

  37. marcellina says:

    Wow, these souffles are wonderful! The chocolate souffles are calling me!

  38. Carine says:

    Oh Man! This looks SOOO good! They rised perfectly tall! I want this immediately!

  39. Alex G says:

    Your slouchy souff is my favourite! He’s got character, not to mention double the flavour 🙂

  40. They are so pretty! Even the TWOffles, I think they look charming in a slouchy, bad-ass kind of way. I don’t even own ramekins and I’m afraid to even think about souffle (I can’t even make bread rise at this point, failure baker that I am).

    • lisamichele says:

      I highly doubt you’re a failure baker. Baking is a science, and once you get the hang, it’s a piece of cake, and I DO mean ‘cake’, as in the cake you will bake one day that everyone will oooh and ahhh over 🙂

  41. Nice souffles!

    Can you put things in the souffle, for instance candied fruit? I’ve never made one but recently i had a chocolate one with candied orange i’d like to make that!

    • lisamichele says:

      Thank you, and yes, you can put lots of things in a souffle. However, if you stay with lighter ingredients, like orange zest, you should still get a good rise. Heavier ingredients might weigh it down so it doesn’t rise as high. Some like to put chopped up veggies and/or meat, for a savory souffle, at the bottom of a ramekin, then fill with souffle batter, to preserve the rise. One of the Daring Cooks put a poached egg smack in the middle, and it still rose pretty well. Regardless, it always tastes good! Definitely experiment, but make sure you fold it in gently!

  42. Babygirl says:

    I’ve never made a Souffle before but you’ve definitely given me the courage to do so..

  43. lisamichele says:

    Wow..I’m flattered that my post has given you the courage to tackle the scary souffle! It’s SO worth the fear and effort. Please post it on your blog when you do so!

  44. janemaynard says:

    hi there! just wanted to let you know we featured this post on the FoodPress.com homepage today. loved all the great info, the experimenting, the recipes…and the photos! thanks! jane

  45. rsmacaalay says:

    Your souffle’s are fabulous, they look really good. I will try this one out I hope it turns out as perfect as yours


  46. Jen says:

    Hey you..I passed you driving up on 9W Wednesday, I beeped but was in a rush! Did you get my text and message? Anyway, these souffles look dynmtite!! Give me a call or throw me a text, girly!

  47. Leslie says:

    I’m mot surprised that you rock souffles since you rock everything else! I’m in love with the marbled ones…so elegant. Do you use two Lowel Ego lights? My photos suck in general but may be if I got Egos they’d be well-lit photos that suck.

    • lisamichele says:

      Yes, Leslie, two, but it’s still not enough, doesn’t cover enough area in my dungeon of an abode lol However, two might work really well for you – my place is just dark all over – bushels of trees and lamps..no overhead lighting really. BTW, your photos never suck! 🙂

  48. Kellypea says:

    I have really missed your sense of humor! it’s what I get for not being around much, right? I bow to your soufflé making goddessness, slinky or otherwise. You really went all out and they’re amazing!

  49. Jamie says:

    Can you hear me screaming with delight? I mean really screaming? I’m bowled over by your beauties, stunning, puffed up royalty!!! Wow you are the soufflé queen! And the deflated ones? OMG how I can relate, how I empathize with you and cry over the fallen and mishapen, the ones that got away – or flew away on their way to the Ego Light massacre…. trench warefare, I say! But baby, I’d eat them anyway. And the marble one is stunningly gorgeous! Oh now I must soufflé myself….

  50. marcellina says:

    I have an award for you on my blog. I hope you will accept as you so deserve it!

  51. Woah! Spectacular!!!! You got a great rise out of these, I totally want to try making a souffle now. So what if not all of them came out (you can eat the evidence).
    *kisses* HH

  52. Soon Gockerell says:

    Couldn’t be written any better. Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  53. bet365 says:

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  54. Aparna says:

    I love reading your posts only a little more than your souffles. As for twoffles, so they had a bit of a hump. So what? Never judge by appearances, didn’t you know? 🙂
    As for Gordon Ramsay, he doesn’t necessarily know everything! 😉

  55. linda says:

    ahhh…those look awesome! Makes me want to try, well attempt them 😛

  56. Wow. These. Look. Absolutely. Amazing.

  57. protogere says:

    I love the save with ice cream in the middle – I don’t know that my husband would still get goodies though if I found a way to salvage mistakes.
    I’ll have to remember that though!

  58. Hello! Long time!!!

    Like always, your posts make me laugh. So funny! I love your little story. I have had a similar experience where I’ve been too overconfident in the kitchen and it’s all come crashing down around me – not literally as in your case. But great that you are really a souffle master. I’ve had mixed results as my oven is terrible.

    Didn’t know you shot with lights. How do you like them? I’ve hardly focused on my photography since pregnancy/baby. I’ve been taking what limited natural light I can get. Lights may be good to consider in the future???

  59. Gali says:

    The top of the marbled souffle is awesome! And who cares if they’re a tad squished or ugly, as long as they taste good.

  60. I am inspired! Have never done a souffle. For some reason (maybe the ‘diluteness’ that you talk about) I am not such a fan. But this I am going to have to do!!

  61. Liz says:

    Gorgeous souffles!!! Love the marbled one, especially~

  62. Pingback: Salted Pretzel Macarons, 3 Years Blogging, and 3 GIVEAWAYS! « Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives

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