A chocolate soufflé is a timeless and elegant dessert. Sinfully chocolatey and with a texture that’s lighter than air, it’s the pièce de résistance of any special meal at any time of the year. But it's especially welcome at holiday time.

For most of us, making a soufflé can feel a little daunting – a project that requires lots of last-minute fussing. But fear not! Baking Together, once again, comes to the rescue with an easy shortcut that will put soufflés back on your table in record time with no hassle or stress. Voilá, Make-Ahead Chocolate-Orange Soufflés.

As the recipe title states, these individual chocolate soufflés must be made ahead. You read that correctly. These chocolate gems are put together and stowed in the freezer (for up to three weeks) then baked just before serving. No last-minute fretting or messy kitchen with this little dessert miracle. This showstopping dessert bakes up while you and your guests are enjoying dinner.

Serve these beauties straight from the oven with a simple dusting of confectioners’ sugar or a dollop of whipped cream. Or you can level up the flavors and presentation and partner them with a drizzle of double raspberry sauce (see below). That said, they are delicious all on their own. Add a glass of Prosecco (or two) and you have a glamourous, classic dessert that’s ready at a moment’s notice because it’s all made ahead of time.

As with many of our Baking Together recipes, we’ve included several variations for you to style the soufflés’ flavor profile to suit your tastes. We’ve also included a timeline or “game plan” for you to get an idea of the pacing for serving the soufflés. The flavor options and game plan are below in Kitchen Notes along with other helpful tips. Please make sure to let us know your thoughts in the recipe comments section. Inquiring minds want to know!

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Kitchen Notes


Game Plan For Baking and Serving the Soufflés

Adjust your pacing as you like but here’s a general idea for timing to get you started.

1. Before guests arrive, have ready small serving plates, a small baking sheet, non-slip tongs (more below), and any accompaniments you choose (optional).

2. Just before guests are sitting down to enjoy dinner, take the soufflés (as many as you need) from the freezer, unwrap and place on the baking sheet and heat your oven.

3. About 20 minutes into dining and chatting, slip away from the table to slide the tray into the heated oven and bake while finishing dinner and clearing the plates. For the best height and drama as well as multiple “ooos & ahhs”, serve the souffles immediately. Of course, a little deflation is hardly a concern and it won’t affect the flavors one bit.

Make More!

For a larger crowd, or if you want to have extras in the freezer for another time, the recipe doubles and triples easily. If you have a stand mixer, I suggest using it for whipping a bigger batch of egg whites. Divide into the appropriate number of ramekins and freeze as directed.

No Slip Grip DIY

No-slip tongs are handy for moving the hot ramekins. Simply wrap the top few inches of each half of the tongs in rubber bands. If you are into preserving, you might have a canning jar lifter in your arsenal. This works well too.

Susie Middleton

Leftovers (Is that even possible?)

In the event that one of your guests declines their soufflé, wrap it up and save it (room temp is fine). It will have deflated but when warmed and served with a dollop of whipped cream or a small scoop of ice cream (perhaps vanilla or coffee) in the shrunken center, it makes for a yummy, next day treat.

Flavor Variations

Decadently Chocolate: Omit the orange zest and use the same amount of bourbon, brandy, dark rum or water in place of the Grand Marnier.

Mocha Madness: Omit the orange zest. Use the same amount of Kahlua, brandy, bourbon or water in place of the Grand Marnier. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso granules or coffee (decaf is fine) and stir until dissolved.