Chef Justin Haifley of The Tavern Kitchen and Bar, who created this recipe, calls it a soufflé. I think it's more of a lava cake. But no matter the label, this is a special dessert and a treat for chocolate lovers.
I profiled Haifley in a recent issue of St. Louis Homes and Lifestyles magazine, and he graciously allowed me to share one of his recipes here. I made a few changes -- he bakes the soufflés in shallow cast-iron mini servers, while I used individual soufflé dishes and glass ramekins; he tops the dessert with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chopped peanuts, multicolored sprinkles and a maraschino cherry, while I opted for vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.
This recipe is all about the chocolate, so don't skimp on quality. You can buy small discs of good chocolate or buy it by the block and cut it into small pieces before adding it to the saucepan.
This dessert needs to be mixed and baked just before it is served, so have all the ingredients measured and ready to go before your guests arrive. You won't mind the flurry of last-minute effort when you taste the result.
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
8 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (about 58 percent cocoa content)
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
Garnishes, such as ice cream, sweetened whipped cream, multicolored sprinkles, finely chopped peanuts, maraschino cherries, caramel sauce
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease four shallow 11-ounce cast-iron casseroles or six 8-ounce ceramic ramekins.
In a small bowl, stir together sugars and cornstarch. Set aside.
Melt butter and chocolate in a large saucepan over low heat, whisking constantly until melted. Add sugar mixture; cook, whisking constantly, until shiny and smooth. Remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly.
Lightly beat eggs and egg yolks; whisk into chocolate mixture until well combined. Divide among baking dishes.
Bake until the top and sides are set but the middle is still runny, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately, topped with your choice of garnishes.