Like the little black cocktail dress or your one impeccable suit, the chocolate soufflé is an essential thing to have in your repertoire. Make it for that formal dinner party where you really need to impress, to charm the heck out of your beloved on Valentine’s Day, or as the unexpectedly indulgent end to a laidback supper. It has a limited number of ingredients, so each of them needs to be perfect (especially the chocolate—buy the best 72 percent bittersweet you can find). The techniques—primarily beating egg whites and folding them into a base—are simple, too, but they do take a little practice to get right. Don’t be deflated when your first soufflé doesn’t rise as high as you’d dreamed. The next one will always be better.
We featured this recipe in our Classic Valentine’s Day Dishes recipe gallery.