Baked Sunday Mornings: Cinnamon Chocolate Soufflés

This week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe is a Cinnamon Chocolate Soufflé. The head note indicates that the recipe is fairly hassle free -- I agree with the "fairly" qualifier, because making the batter was a snap, but I ran into some problems with baking.

To make the batter, you melt bittersweet chocolate with butter, add in cinnamon and egg yolks, and then fold in egg whites that have been beaten (with cream of tartar, salt, sugar, and vanilla) to stiff peaks. You divide the batter between four ramekins that have been buttered and coated with cinnamon-sugar, and bake.

The recipe instructs you to bake the soufflés for eight minutes, and says that they are generally finished after rising between an inch and a half to two inches; the center will be jiggly and the perimeter should be almost set. After eight minutes, my soufflés looked almost exactly like the one pictured in the cookbook; they had puffy and smooth tops, and the edges were set. I pulled all of the soufflés out of the oven and plated one so I could photograph it before it sank. I took a few photos and then dug in with a spoon to find that the inside was completely raw. I tried to salvage the remaining three soufflés by putting them back in the oven, even though they had been sitting out at room temperature for about two minutes while I futzed around with the first one.

After another two minutes in the oven, the soufflés had risen a bit more, and the tops had developed large cracks. Again, I selected one and plated it and photographed it, only to discover that the inside was still substantially undercooked. So I did another round of putting the remaining two soufflés back in the oven for another two minutes.

The third time was the charm -- the third soufflé was properly cooked inside. I didn't like the domed and cracked top (I've made a lot of soufflés but I've never made ones that looked like these before), but I'm going to blame that on my unfortunate baking procedure of repeatedly moving the soufflés in and out of the oven, instead of just baking them straight through. I have to say that completely aside from the irritation of dealing with multiple soufflés that were undercooked inside, I was disappointed in the way these turned out. They didn't taste very good.

I thought that the soufflés were not sweet enough. I used 62% Scharffen Berger chocolate (the recipe specifies chocolate between 60 and 70 percent), so I was surprised that the soufflé tasted borderline bitter to me. If anything, I think that the cinnamon seemed to amplify the bitterness -- and I might be an outlier, but I have never been a big fan of the combination of chocolate with cinnamon. Although perhaps my bitter mood from the undercooked soufflés influenced my taste perception. Either way, this recipe is one I don't plan to revisit.

Recipe: "Cinnamon Chocolate Soufflés" from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.


Susan said…
I'm so glad it wasn't just me! Ours were bitter, too. This is a rare baked "fail" for me. I was actually pouting! LOL! It was really frustrating to go to all that effort and have the souffles not turn out. Luckily, this one is the exception.
Unknown said…
The EXACT same thing happened to me - baked 8 minutes until smooth on the top, just like the photograph in the book - only to scoop out a bite and find it completely raw inside. I think the photo is misleading, and the recipe notes didn't say anything about the cracks. I didn't really like these either.
Chelly said…
It was bitter to me also! And 8 minutes was not long enough. Oh well, your photos look beautiful!
Anonymous said…
Same here! Mine took about 15 minutes-- it was obvious that they were nowhere near done at 8 minutes. I also agree about the cinnamon. I do like the combination of chocolate/cinnamon, but I think there was way too much cinnamon in there, and that made it a bit bitter, though I still enjoyed the soufflé overall. By the way, I read somewhere online afterwards that to get a smooth, flat rise, one should run a knife across the tops of the ramekins-- if I make these again, I will do that so they look prettier... I don't blame you for being upset with these-- I hate when an "easy" recipe doesn't come out as expected! :-/
SandraM said…
I didn't get a chance to make these. I'm saddened to hear that so many didn't enjoy them.
erinstar41 said…
Looks like we are all equally underwhelmed with these. I baked mine for 14 minutes but but should have pulled them at 13 or so. I thought they were bitter and not sweet enough as well. Yours still look great though!