Welcome to In Poor Taste, a column about decadent food trends delivered with the intellectual curiosity of a Michelin critic and the care of a mukbang enthusiast. In today’s edition, we’re testing out a two-ingredient chocolate soufflé recipe I saw on TikTok, lost, and then rediscovered on YouTube.
After nearly a month of participating in social distancing, I figured it’s time to get a hobby that isn’t just “watching a canonical television series from 20 years ago for the first time so I can finally understand references to The Sopranos” or “ironically binging YouTube vlogs for future Jezebel blogs but somehow, accidentally, getting sincerely invested in the lives of hot people in Los Angeles.” All of that is to say: I’ve decided to try some food hacks. It’s like science, but inaccurate and created solely to fuel viral posts on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. My colleague Hazel Cills wrote about the pleasures of useless hack videos last year, and those are definitely still worth a watch. But lately I’ve been into the idea of making useful stuff, so each day feels somewhat productive, or at least not completely identical to the one that proceeded it. And so I discovered two-ingredient hacks.
Simple recipes crop up on TikTok and YouTube all the time, which is how I found out about today’s In Poor Taste topic: a simple chocolate soufflé. I originally saw this mysterious chemistry in a TikTok, but couldn’t find it again... so I was forced to follow directions included in a Tasty video embarrassingly titled, “20 Recipes You Should Learn In Your 20s.” Luckily, I am still (barely) in my 20s, so I felt less shame than I otherwise might have. Here’s where it gets a little bit too magical for my idiot brain to comprehend: apparently some Nutella (or chocolate hazelnut spread, for those who scoff at brand loyalty) and two eggs produces a chocolate soufflé. Like, a real one that wiggles and everything. I can confidently say I’ve never in my life made any French delicacy, especially a fancy one that ends in an accent mark, but this seemed like an accessible challenge. If I could make this, surely I could make anything. I could do anything. I could become anything. I could become a baker. I could become immortal—but only if this tiny experiment worked, and so few Internet-based experiments do.
Reader: it fucking worked.
If you want to try this at home, the steps are simple. Place 1/2 cup of Nutella into a bowl. Crack two eggs, separating the yolks from the egg whites. Place the yolks in one bowl and the egg whites in another. Or, if you’re like me and hate cleaning dishes, drop the eggs whites in one bowl and plop the yolks right on top of your chocolate hazelnut spread. Mix the choco-yolky mixture until the texture becomes almost that of, like, boxed brownie batter. (See above, I’m no master baker.) Then whip the egg whites until fluffy. You’ll want to see “peaks,” as I’ve heard people say on television before. You’ll also want to use an egg beater, but if you’re like me and don’t even own a toaster, you can use a hand whisk. Depending on your strength, this will take about 10-25 minutes, which is about the length of a vlog. I watch a lot of vlogs. It’s also incredibly painful.
Once you’re satisfied with the fluffiness of your whites, toss ‘em into the bowl with your Nutella yolks. Get a bigger bowl if you accidentally used a bowl that is too small. (Not speaking from experience.) Mix that up. For best results, fold it in. It will turn a pleasant brown color. When satisfied with your mixture, place it in a ramekin for baking. If you don’t have a ramekin but have a single french onion soup crock you bought at an antique store in South Louisiana that one time, break it out. That works just as well. Well, maybe not just as well—your soufflé will probably bake into a weird shape, but you’re eating this alone so who gives a damn. (Or maybe with children? This strikes me as something that could be fun to do with children.) No one is judging you on presentation here. Place it into the oven and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 degrees Celsius for 15 to 20 minutes. Let it cool, and wow, you’ve got yourself something resembling a chocolate soufflé. Like, the fancy French word with an accent mark and all.
As a born-again skeptic (isolation has destroyed my ability to feel genuine enthusiasm about most things) I was surprised by how well this two-ingredient experiment turned out. I’ve only had a few soufflés in my life, but this felt somewhat on par with those, if I’m being generous—it was airy and fluffy, sweet but not too sweet. It strikes me as the perfect treat to make for yourself if you a.) love chocolate b.) have some time to kill c.) have a limited number of ingredients in your kitchen. There’s something romantic about the simplicity of a “pantry” meal, and this one ain’t half bad.