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Fleur de Lolly column: Chocolaty souffles are crowd-pleasers

Laura Tolbert
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Individual Chocolate Souffle.

These delicate, super chocolaty souffles are sure crowd-pleasers. Use the best quality chocolate you can afford. It definitely makes a difference.

INDIVIDUAL CHOCOLATE SOUFFLES

• 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for ramekins

• 7 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (NOT unsweetened)

• 6 large egg yolks

• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

• 7 large egg whites, room temperature

• Pinch of salt

• 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

• 1 cup sugar, plus more for ramekins

Adjust an oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter the bottoms and sides of six 8-ounce ramekins and coat with sugar. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Melt 5 tablespoons butter and chocolate in a medium metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water; the bowl should be nestled in the pan, but not touch the water. Stir occasionally with a heat-proof rubber spatula until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Whisk in the egg yolks two at a time. The chocolate may look granular at first, but will become soft like a thick fudge sauce with continual whisking. Whisk in the vanilla. Remove the bowl from over the water; let cool for several minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt on medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in cup sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until whites form stiff, shiny peaks, 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir one-fourth of the whites into the chocolate (which may be warm) to lighten. Pile on the remaining whites and fold them in only until no white streaks remain. Divide the batter among prepared ramekins, filling to the rims. Form a “hat” in each souffle by running a thumb around the ramekin’s inside edge to disengage batter from the sides. Space ramekins well apart on a large baking sheet. (Souffles can be prepared 2 hours ahead and refrigerated or frozen up to 1 week and thawed in 30 minutes.) Bake until the souffles are puffed, and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean but moist, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately.

CRANBERRY ORANGE SCONES

These beautiful scones will make a lovely addition to your brunch menu.

• 1 tablespoon orange zest (one large navel orange)

• 1/4 cup orange juice

• 2 cups all-purpose flour

• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar

• 2 teaspoons baking powder

• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 cup cold butter, cubed

• 1 cup dried cranberries (or Craisins)

• 1 egg

• 1/4 cup half and half

• 1 cup powdered sugar

• A few tablespoons of orange juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Zest one large navel orange, then cut the orange in half and juice the entire orange. Set zest and juice aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and mix well. With a pastry cutter, cut in the cold cubed butter until it is a crumbly mixture. Add in the dried cranberries and mix well. In a separate small bowl, combine one beaten egg with cup orange juice, cup half and half, and 1 tablespoon orange zest. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently stir until just combined and a soft dough forms. Pour onto a floured surface and pat or use a rolling pin to form the dough into an 8-inch-diameter circle. Cut the dough into 8 equal wedges and place on a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes or so while you make the glaze. Mix together about 1 cup powdered sugar with a few tablespoons of orange juice (adding a little at a time) and stir to make a glaze to drizzle over scones. Top with additional orange zest.

- Adapted from www.sandandsisal.com

Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table decor ideas and advice for fellow foodies and novices on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com for more than eight years. She won the Duke Mayonnaise 100th Anniversary nationwide recipe contest for her Alabama White BBQ Sauce. You can contact her at facebook.com/fleurde.lolly.5, on Instagram and fleurdelolly@yahoo.com.

Cranberry Orange Scones.