"I love the simple elegance of chocolate soufflés," Grace Parisi says. She uses top-quality chocolate from brands like Valrhona or Callebaut, which lends a deep, almost smoky flavor to the airy dessert. Tahitian vanilla beans—some of the world's best—add a floral sweetness to the crème anglaise.
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Preheat the oven to 400°. In a bowl, stir the crushed cookies with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Brush eight 4-ounce ramekins with butter and coat with the cookie mixture, pouring out the excess. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and refrigerate.
In a double boiler, melt the 3 tablespoons of butter with the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolates. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with 6 tablespoons of the sugar at medium speed until pale and thickened, about 4 minutes. Gradually beat in the cooled chocolate.
In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until the whites are glossy. Beat one-fourth of the egg whites into the chocolate, then fold in the rest with a rubber spatula. Spoon the batter into the ramekins, filling them almost to the top. Sprinkle each soufflé with 1/2 teaspoon of the cookie mixture. Run your thumb inside the rim of each ramekin to smooth the sides and help the soufflés rise evenly.
Bake the soufflés in the center of the oven for 15 minutes, or until risen and set around the edges but still soft in the centers. Set the ramekins on heatproof plates and serve right away with the Vanilla Bean Crème Anglaise.
The soufflés can be made through Step 4 and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.
The bittersweet chocolate matches best with a vintage Port.
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