Oh Nutella. That smooth, chocolatey, hazelnutty, deliciousness.… Jars of the stuff have been front and centre in UK supermarkets in the lead up to Pancake Day and so, of course, I indulged. With a flat full of it and the next big holiday, Valentine’s Day, looming I figured what better use of the jumbo jars of goodness than in a recipe that’s perfect for impressing your nearest and dearest? Whether that be boyfriend or best friends.
Now, this is ‘soufflé’ the easy way because the idea of traditional soufflé sends me running for the hills. Er, timing an egg-based dessert perfectly so that it’s still runny in the centre (but hot enough not to cause food poisoning) without even being able to open the oven and check it, lest if implode onto itself - no thanks. I’ve seen enough episodes of the Great British Bake Off to know that my soufflé skills are just not there yet. No, instead I’ve found the cheat’s way to do soufflé and it’s ruddy brilliant if I say so myself. Let’s get into it:
Ingredients (serves 3 - ya know, because you’ll want an extra one to ‘taste test’ first).
Step One: Mix
First set your oven to 180 degrees celsius to warm up. Now, all of the ingredients here, apart from the Nutella, are the elements of a basic chocolate cake FYI. Make a note of that somewhere (or just bookmark this page) because, should you ever want to whip up a quick chocolate (works wonders on a ‘down day’), it’s great to have a good recipe handy. I got that part of this recipe from the House and Garden website but the fun part is all me, me, me baby.
There are two ways you can approach this. For an extra fluffy, light soufflé I would recommend sifting the dry ingredients together and then gently folding in the wet ingredients. This traps air into the mixture which makes your cake light and airy and very soufflé-like. Very necessary for a traditional soufflé, not so much for my cheat’s soufflé. When it comes to baking I’m all about easy, quick recipes. For this reason I just put all of the ingredients in the bowl together, mix gently and then do some quick folding. This results in a firmer, more cake-like consistency. Your call. Either way, unlike a traditional soufflé which sinks if not eaten immediately, these cheat soufflés can be prepared earlier and stored in the fridge, ready to surprise your sweetheart whenever you’re ready.
Step Two: PourOnce the mixing is done, pour into ramekins. Simple.
Step Three: Bake
Pop these into the oven for 20 minutes or until you can poke a cocktail stick in one and it comes out clean. Once they’re done, leave them on the side to cool for ten minutes and then you’re ready for step four.
Step Four: Fill!Okay, so here comes the cheating, ‘soufflé’ part. Once the soufflés are cooled, we're going to slice the tops of of them (don't worry they'll go back on - so no nibbling), cut a hole in the centre of each and fill it with Nutella goodness. I recommend using a large, cerated knife like this here bread knife I'm using to gently slice off the tops as it does it cleanly, without any crumbling.
Make your holes about two centimetres in diameter and then use a a couple of teaspoons to fill them with Nutella.
Not a fan of Nutella? First, I commend your curiosity for reading this far into a Nutella-based recipe. Second, I’d like to tell you that it’s paid off as I have some Nutella alternatives to suggest as fillings; I'm delighted to announce that I recently discovered that Tesco have begun stocking jars of our favourite chocolate bars in spread form. So far I've spotted Reese's Pieces, Malteasers, Milky Way and Bounty flavoured spreads on the shelves next to the Nutella. Carnation also do a great tin of pouring caramel which would make a delicious filling for these soufflés and you can find this in the cake-making aisle, often near to tinned fruit.
Finally, very gently (so as not to crumble them) spread the underside of the tops with Nutella and use it to stick them back on. Sprinkle with a fine dusting of icing sugar and no one will suss the signs of a surprise filling.
Quick tip: Line your ramekins with muffin cases or a circle of greaseproof paper and you’ll be able to slip out your soufflés and take them with you on the go. This is best done if you use my quick mix method rather than sifting, as the firmer texture with make them more travel-proof and prevent them from crumbling in your lunch box. These make a fabulously indulgent lunchtime pick-me-up for work or, better yet, bring a batch to a dinner party and impressive your pals.
This has to be one of my favourite recipes I've ever posted, partly because it has one of favourite food-stuffs ever, Nutella, yes, but also because I love the idea of making something that looks so impressive and sophisticated but still delivers what we all love - a sticky, sweet, cakey, chocolatey dessert. That and the fact that it's super easy! I'm off to film a Valentine's Day makeup look for my YouTube channel. In the meantime, did you see my Super Fluffy American Style Pancake Recipe? Perfect for Sunday breakfast in bed ;) .
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x Jade Mercedes Fraser x