See? Looks like quiche.
I started to get suspicious. I mean, chocolate, whipped egg whites, a crusty, almost cakey exterior that you get to tap and crack with your spoon, and then a soft, fluffy-but-moist interior. . .I started wondering if the name of this recipe was trying to trick me. So I opened up the Fount of Cooking Knowledge (oh wait, maybe that's just my little pet name for it? I'm talking Joy of Cooking here, people), and followed the index to that most intimidating French classic, CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE. Yep, it's major, it deserves capital letters. Is this just me as well? Or are other cooks intimidated by those words? I don't know what it is. . .all that talk about fallen souffles, and getting everything just right! Don't under-whip the egg whites! Don't over-whip the egg whites! Is your oven's temperature really accurate? The temperature has to be perfect! It will fall! It will be runny! It will destroy your reputation as a hostess at your 70's-fab dinner party! Gah. Sorry, forgot where I was for a minute.
Anyway. I've looked at chocolate souffle recipes before, and never even considered trying something that delicate, that high maintenance, for heaven's sake. Yep, similar to my yeast bread phobia (wait a minute, we're getting to that one too). But chocolate souffle this was, chocolate souffle I made, chocolate souffle I conquered. That's right. Adrienne may have given it that cute, non-intimidating "hot chocolate" name, but it's a souffle, down to the minute proportions of egg whites to chocolate to butter. And am I ever glad that she did! I may never have attempted it otherwise! And yet, I whipped this thing up in 10 minutes or so (plus 20 in the oven), and people, it could not have been better, not to mention easy. I have to admit, it's a showstopper. I can understand why it's been the pinnacle of show-off desserts for generations of hostesses, because it's just that good. Way too good for a random Tuesday night at home with the family. But I stand by my excuse that I didn't know I was making chocolate souffle, I just thought I was making pudding!
5. And finally, the toasted coconut shortbread and the no-knead bread. Alas, reviews on these will have to wait until tomorrow, because the shortbread was made for a little treat for my mom's birthday (60 tomorrow!) and it is currently chilling in the refrigerator, waiting to be sliced and baked. And the rustic bread is doing its 12-to-18-hours thing, sitting in a bowl under plastic wrap, waiting to be flopped into a pot at 10:00 tomorrow morning, baked, and sampled. Can it be as great as everyone raves? I ask you. But I'm sincerely hoping that it is, because oh how I would love to have a bread that is that simple, cheap, easy to make. It may have been perfect for Deb at Smitten Kitchen when she injured her arm and physically couldn't do any kneading, but it's also perfect for a mom of a 3 month old and 3 year old. Throwing together 3 ingredients plus water and then letting it sit for hours on end before tossing it in the oven? Even between nursing, rocking, holding, bathing, chasing, feeding, playing. . .this can be done. Not to mention helping me get over my fear of making yeast bread (warm water? What IS warm? Will I make it too hot? Too cold? Will I kill the yeast? Will it fail to rise? Knead until it's elastic or whatever? Is my definition of elastic the same as the recipe's? Let it rise until it doubles? I'm terrible at estimating sizes! What does double look like? I don't remember how it looked when it started!). Good heavens, I think I need an intervention. Deliver, no-knead bread, deliver!