Chef Curtis Stone makes his souffles with melted chocolate in addition to the usual cocoa powder, resulting in a deep, rich flavor. Since he uses just a tiny bit of butter and six egg whites, the souffles are also delightfully light and fluffy.
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for coating the ramekins
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cold water
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter six 1-cup ramekins and coat with granulated sugar, tapping out the excess. Place the ramekins on a sturdy baking sheet.
In a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate. Off the heat, whisk in the water and cocoa until smooth. In another bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the 1/3 cup of granulated sugar and beat at high speed until the whites are firm and glossy, about 1 minute. Fold one-fourth of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the rest until no streaks of white remain.
Spoon the soufflé mixture into the ramekins and smooth the tops. Run the tip of your thumb around the inside rim of each ramekin to clean off any spills and to help the soufflés rise evenly.
Bake in the center of the oven for 16 minutes, or until very puffy and set around the edges. Dust the tops with confectioners' sugar and serve.
The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 and kept at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.