I usually refer to Mark Bittman's recipe for someone who is starting out souffle. There is a bit of flour in it so that one doesn't have to melt chocolate separately or having to temper eggs or ribboning egg yolks with sugar. It is not the most intense chocolate tasting souffle, but it is almost fool-proof. Some chocolate souffles are made without flour or starch but they are trickier. Also if you underbake it a bit where the center is still a little soft, one doesn't need a sauce to serve with it. It is easier to bake small individual souffles rather than a large one.
Preheat oven to 350 degree.
a 2-quart souffle dish OR four 1 1/2 cup ramekins
soften butter and sugar for the souffle dish
1 cup milk
1/3 c sugar
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
4 eggs, separated
pinch of salt
powder sugar for dusting after baking
Butter the souffle dish or ramekins (leave no ungreased spots), then dust with sugar. Set aside.
In a saucepan, heat the milk and sugar until hot but not boiling. Keep warm.
In larger saucepan (large enough so that you can later fold in the beaten egg whites), melt the butter over low-medium heat until foamy. Turn the heat to low and add the flour and stirring constantly for about 3 minutes to cook it. Make sure the bottom is not burned or scorched. If the mixture browns a little, it is ok.
Slowly whisk in the milk. It will be very thick.
Stir in the chocolate to melt it. Whisk until smooth
Take the mixture off the heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Whisk in the egg yolks one at a time. Set aside.
(Can make this base a few hours ahead of time: cool, cover and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before folding in the egg whites.)
Beat the egg whites with the salt on the medium speed of an electric mixture to stiff peak. The danger is overbeating the egg whites (if overbeaten, the egg whites begin to clump and separate), which will cause your souffle to collapse when it comes out of the oven.
Stir a large spoon of egg white into the souffle base to lighten the mixture. Using a spatula, fold in the remaining egg white.
Gently pour the mixture into the souffle dish or divide it among the four ramekins.
Bake in the center of the oven, 30-40 minutes for large souffle, 15-20 minutes for individual. Try not to open the oven door until the souffle is almost done. Dust immeditately with powder sugar. Serve immediately.
For a quick sauce: melted vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream; or you can made a creme anglaise.
Souffles are not difficult. Two things to watch for: cooking the base properly without scorching it, then incorporating the egg yolks without scrambling them; beating the egg whites to the properly stiffness and folding them into the base without deflating the mixture too much.