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Earlier this week my son and I were out doing a little shopping when we came across a bargain. I am still a sucker for an old school disposable camera. It takes me back to summer camp and the last day of the school year in middle school. And while I love and adore and cling to my DSLR as one of my greatest earthly possessions, you have to admit there is something about having all those pictures waiting inside the camera that has its charm.

We picked up a pair of cameras and thought we’d mail them to a pair of our favorite people.
I considered mailing them out of box, as is, and think I might have if they’d been going to someone a little older than 12. I would love to see any creative photographic work by postal workers. But to be safe for our little friends, we decided to mail these in bubble wrap, back to back.
It might be possible that we took a few photos of our own before wrapping them up.

The benefit of sending two cameras, besides the possibility that we were sending this to two people and they each might like a camera of their own, is this little trick. I’ve heard that by lining a couple cameras up just so, you can try shooting in 3-D. Check out the tutorial here, along with how to view your 3-D masterpieces. The 3-D camera set up:
So there it is. One package, two cameras, and just a few surprises waiting to come out during development.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

{ 12 comments }

I always enjoy after-school pick-up. It is a good moment of the day, a mini-reunion the kids and I have five days a week, when the kids have news for me that comes bubbling up the moment I come into their view. I ask about their high and low for the school day and we discuss it all as we drive home to unwind or gear up for our after-school agenda.

I thought it might be fun to have a new way to connect a little more in the middle of their day, so this year I put together some mini-lunch surveys, and thought I would share. Just print, snip into slips, and roll one slip up onto a pencil to drop in a lunchbox.

So then. For your downloading convenience, here are two pages of probing questions, plus one blank page, in case you’d like to write a few questions of your own, or in case your child would like to turn the tables and write a question for you.

Click to download all three pages: Printable Lunch Surveys

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send off some school supplies in a bottle, get the full details here

Hello everyone! How has your summer been? I hope it has been exciting and slow and wonderful all at once.

I have been meaning to get back to blogging for some time, I have missed everyone! I thought maybe the beginning of a fresh school year would be just the time. I snapped a few pics last week of some new happy mail we sent, so I will put those together and share here tomorrow.

But before I share something new, I’ve had several questions (and several reactions!) about the things I’ve mailed, and I thought it might help to go over a few basics of sending happy mail that I’ve learned along the way.

So here we go, a few happy mail tips for anyone wanting to try:

1. Write the mailing address and return address on the same surface. My friends at the post office taught me this one. It’s best to avoid any chance of confusion over who is sending and who is receiving.
2. Mail that weighs 13 ounces or less qualifies for USPS’s wonderful, inexpensive first-class shipping rates. The things I have mailed are, of course, considered first class parcels, not envelopes. You can download the parcel rates here on the USPS shipping sight, but I’ll include the current rates as of 3.15.13 here

Weight Not Over (ounces)
1 2.07
2 2.07
3 2.07
4 2.24
5 2.41
6 2.58
7 2.75
8 2.92
9 3.09
10 3.26
11 3.43
12 3.6
13 3.77

3. You can take your mail to the post office desk to be metered or add stamps yourself and drop it in a mailbox. Both are fun. Stamps are pretty! And it is fun just sticking stamps on a package and dropping it in the big blue mailbox to send it on its journey. But I always enjoy going to the counter and seeing my postal workers either grin or subdue a grin, depending on who is helping me behind the counter.
4. You can mail something without a box!? Yes. So far, I have never had a package returned, and never been turned down at the post office desk. I have, however, heard from readers who have happily walked into the post office with a frisbee to mail, and had the central post office managers of the whole country, I imagine, phoned on their behalf, and then been turned down. But the majority of my friends and readers have had no problems. You can always send something in a box, but there’s something about catching a person off guard. It’s kinda fun.
5. And now, the controversy! I have had some post office workers comment on how it makes their day to see a fun piece of mail come through, that they spend the day chuckling to themselves, and a couple tell me what a pain I am for workers who have to hand meter the mail. I have had one reader suggest that I might be single handedly taking down the struggling USPS post office (and another comment that happy mail might help save it!) To tell you the truth, I have thought quite a bit about this, as an ardent fan of the USPS and a sucker for a hand-written letter. I often have readers make me well up on the spot or laugh outloud telling me about eggs and frisbees and ribbon wands they’ve sent to a husband serving in the armed forces abroad or little kiddos who need an extra dose of support and love. I’ve also sent a few of that type of package myself. So far, I am thinking that happy mail is worth the effort, and am hoping that if the USPS should find that sending bouncey balls and flip flops and other items that need to be hand metered is costing more than is covered in their parcel rates, they inch up their rates a bit, I will pay.

MORE happy MAIL:: more fun mail inspiration from the archives:

(or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here)

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

{ 37 comments }


I just wanted to share a little something we have been mailing out for a couple of birthdays this winter and will be mailing as a few simple valentines. This time of year, there’s nothing like the gift of soft supple lips.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

{ 46 comments }

How are you doing on your holiday prep? Are you feeling ready? Our tree made it up last night, and it’s hard not to feel in the mood while looking at all those twinkly lights.

If you’re in need of a way to countdown the days, I have a printable holiday sticky-note advent right here. Perfect for tucking in lunches or sticking any random place you like.
 My kiddos are already reminding me it isn’t long until until St. Nicholas day, so I’ll be printing off a few of these produce stickers to make sure Santa can drop off a few navals along with the chocolates and candy canes.
 And finally, incase you’re packing up treats for neighbors, I have a tag or two that might work to tie up your treats.
 And of course, thank you notes for teachers or anyone at all to spread a little gratitude before or after the season.

Happy Holiday prep! And I’ll be back soon to share a few fun things we did over the Thanksgiving week.

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We are in complete back-to-school mode here. But summer is not officially over. Not yet.

The final day of summer is still a couple weeks away. So I’ve been thinking. We need one more bash to send summer off right.

It recently occurred to me, while I was packing away groceries, that I could fit a pinata

in the freezer.

Of course I immediately got to work on making a pinata. I pulled out my Elmer’s glue, an old Amazon box, and a stack of tissue paper and got to work.


It took me all of a half hour.



We picked out a few ice cream sundaes in a cup. How cool would it be, by the way, to do a grown-up pinata with Hagen Daaz?

And we picked out a few good fixings too to go along with them.  We poured them in Whisker Graphic’s sweet little Bitty Bags.

Now here comes the sneaky part.

We’ll invite a few little friends for homemade cookies.

And of course there will be homemade cookies.

But we’ll also sneak the pinata from the freezer to the tree when no one’s looking. So we get to suprise everyone when the ice cream and fixings come tumbling out.

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If you’re new here, welcome! I’m AmberLee, and Giverslog is my place to share recipes, gift ideas, pretty wrapping ideas, and whatever else is on my mind. I also own an online chocolate shop, The Ticket Kitchen. Stop by if you get a moment!
Are you ready for a peek at how my new stands turned out? I’m more than a little thrilled with them. It’s great fun transforming a set of thrifted candlesticks into bright summery treat stands for the next shindig. (See the first set I made right here).

Being able to take these apart to switch out plates is a big deal for me. Even though my kitchen now is roomier, much much roomier, than the apartment and condo kitchens I’ve somehow squeezed into through the years, space is still at a premium. Plus I like picking a melamine plate whenever I find one I like and being able to put it to use with the stands I already have.

Best of all, I figured out a new trick that will let you use any candlestick you fall in love with at the thrift store. Not just candlesticks that have a hole through the center.

The shopping is really the best part. (You can get glimpse here of the first set of these I put together.) But for this time around, here’s the list of what I picked up.

Supplies & equipment:
1. Set of thrifted candlesticks. I often find candlesticks at the thrift store that can be disassembled and have a hole all the way through the middle. To find out if a candlestick can do this, just pick one up at the thrift store and try to unscrew. But hole or no hole, any candlestick will work. On my last thrifting trip I fell in love with some sticks that did not have a hole through the middle, I discovered I could still make my stand interchangeable. Here’s my big trick. Are you ready for it? All you need to do is find a…
2. Cork that fits snugly into your candlestick. (You need this only if your candlestick does not have a hole all the way through the middle).
3. Drawer pull that lets you take out the screw. I picked up mine at Lowe’s this time around. Don’t you love the crystal knobs?
4. Allthread that fits your drawer pull. This just looks like a really long screw with no head or point. To make sure it fits my drawer pull, I try screwing it in right in the isles of Lowe’s.
5. Nuts and washers.
6. A few fun melamine plates. I picked up mine at Target.
7. Primer and paint, if you choose. I love Krylon.
6. A hack saw and drill. A wood bit works perfectly for drilling into melamine.


Here is a candlestick I took apart and found I could dissasemble and have two pieces with a hole all the way through the middle of each.

Yea for Krylon. So many possibilities with this stuff.

Now comes the easy part… Here is the how-to for putting it all together, whether your candlestick has a hole through the core or not.
1. Paint. If you’re planning to paint the candlestick, disassemble it, prime, and paint.
2. Drill. Tape the plate in the center and drill through your taped spot. Take it slow and easy, I’ve cracked a couple plates by being in too big of a rush.

3. Cut your allthread. If your candlestick has a hole through the center, use a hack saw to cut your all thread to the length you’ll need to go from the bottom of the candlestick to the top to screw into your drawer pull. Cut carefully so you don’t ruin the thread and are still able to screw a bolt or your drawer pull onto the end. If you are using a cork, cut a tiny piece of the allthread so it is just long enough to screw through the cork and into the allthread.
4. If your candlestick does not have a hole through the center, add a cork. Wedge in a cork where the candle would go. Make sure it is a super snug fit. Cut off any overhang. You want to make sure the plate will rest evenly against the top of the candlestick. Drill a small hole in the center of the cork where the drawer pull will screw in. Make the hole just smaller than the allthread, so it screws in snugly.

Here is a set I assembled by screwing an all thread through the center.

Here is a set I made by using a cork.
3. Assemble.
 Now you get to thread your whole creation together. If your candlestick has a hole down the middle, put the washer and screw at the bottom, then thread the allthread through your candlestick piece, then add the plate, and finally, screw on the drawer pull at the top. If you are using a cork, simply screw one end of the allthread into the drawer pull, then put the other end through the hole in the plate and screw it into the cork in the candlestick. That’s it. Now your stands are ready to party, or to fit neatly in your cupboard.Good luck! If you make a set, I’d love to hear how it goes.

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Since starting my series about happy mail, I have heard a suggestion from a few of you I’ve been dying to try. And finally this week I did it. I mailed a flip flop.
Just four stamps, and in the big blue box it went.
The other flip flop goes out next week.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

{ 53 comments }

I wanted to show you what we ended up doing with our Meant to Be Calligraphy stamp that we’re giving my son’s totally amazing kindergarten teacher.

I always think it’s fun to let the kids in on making a gift for their teacher. They always feel so proud. Even if it’s just a note to go with the gift, which is usually the simplest solution. But this time we thought we’d use our stamp to create some handmade stationary. We really tried to keep it simple and my son loved the project. We packaged it all up with some fun supplies from my favorite Japanese packaging shop, and I’m really satisfied with how it turned out.

I used the giant drawing paper you find at the art store because I love the colors and texture.
We folded it in half and ran it through my paper cutter, then my son got to work with his watercolors and a toothbrush.
I love how it turned out.
We also made some fabric name tape using this method.
Then wrapped it all up with some tape and envelopes from UGUiSU (i want to buy everything there).

And now it is all set to give to one amazing kindergarten teacher.
(p.s. If you’re still searching around for a last-minute teacher gift idea, you might find something to spark your creativity here, here, or here.)

 

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Eggs in the Mail

04.07.11

It worked.
If you missed it, you can get postage details right here.

I am now sending more little eggs on their way.

and incase you’d like to see a little more, here is my favorite fun mail inspiration from the archives (or follow my 13 oz or less Pinterest board, or see it all right here):

A Disposable Camera | A Sponge | A Tube of Bert’s Bees | A Wreath and Twinkly Lights | A Disguise | School Supplies | A Pair of Flip Flops | A Big Ball | Plastic Eggs 1 and 2 | Silly Putty |Shovel & a Bucket | Ribbon Sticks | Bubblewrap Hopscotch | Fan Mail | Waterbottle Care Package | Bouncy Balls | Sticky Notes | Jr Mints | Frisbee | Mini Banner and Mini m&ms

find postage rates for happy mail right here along with other mailing details

 

{ 46 comments }

Lately I’ve been using all my fabric leftovers to make cloth wrap squares. It just occurred to me that this might be something worth sharing in a tutorial. It takes about 3 steps and 5 minutes. And zero sewing. Which is why it is totally my style. Plus it is so fun snipping up an old shirt or fabric scrap into beautiful wrap.

DIY Cloth Gift Wrap
Start with a square of fabric. My general rule for making cloth wrap is that the square of fabric should be four times as tall and wide as whatever it is you’re about to wrap. If you’re going to use two pieces of fabric as an inside and out, cut them together, just as you’ll wrap with them.

Side note. If you don’t have a rotary cutter and a cutting matt, you need to reconsider your values in life. I don’t even sew and I live by my rotary cutter and cutting mat. Go get a half off coupon and bring one home. It’s worth it. You will love it and it will love you.
Pick up your sponge roller and roll it either in fabric glue or this good stuff. It’s acrylic medium used for thinning acrylic paint. You can find it at any art store. Mine is leftover from high school art class. Good times.

Roll a thin even border around the edge to stop fraying. Allow it to dry, then snip off any loose threads.
That’s it. You are now ready to make pretty pretty packages and amaze all your friends.
p.s. You can get super awesome tutorials for wrapping with fabric here (and some beautiful fabric wrap) and here.

 

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alright, alright.

I know what you were thinking when you saw the title of this post. Chocolate and butter. Gee. I wonder if that tastes good?

Truly though, one of my favorite, simple things to toss into a picnic basket is a blended or infused butter. All the recipes for these are so simple, they are all about the ingredients, and they are the perfect thing to spread on a fresh baked baguette or flakey fresh croissant.

So, I know I probably don’t need to do any heavy convincing to get you to try chocolate butter, but really, this recipe is over the top, scrape out of the bowl good. And perfect for the simplest or dressiest of picnics.

Mmm. It takes just a couple steps to make a smooth chocolate butter with the tiniest bits  of bittersweet chocolate that taste heavenly as they melt away on your tongue.

Chocolate Butter

Ingredients
1 stick unsalted butter
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar
2 squares (.5 oz or so) of your favorite chocolate, chopped
pinch of sea salt

Method
Pile all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined. That’s it.


Good chocolate and good butter. That is the only key. I used a Valrhona 85% bar for the chocolate. And if anyone has a great recommendation for butter, I’d love to hear. Ever since trying French butter I am very self conscious about our American versions. (UPDATE: Thank you Lindsay, for pointing me to this post about butter, I am now on a mission to hunt down Beurre D’Isigny or an Echire butter.)

I prefer to use natural cocoa powder. A well-made brand keeps the fruitier flavor of the original cacao. If you prefer the more typical brownie flavor of cocoa, go for Dutch processed cocoa powder.

If you’d like to create molded butter, which is kind of fun, sprinkle additional cocoa over any mold you like, press chocolate butter inside, refrigerate until firm and remove. I like this to be room temp before serving it though, especially so the chocolate bits melt easily as soon as they hit your tongue.


{ 32 comments }

After last week’s post about making flourless chocolate cake, I’ve had a couple requests for a souffle how-to. So here is my list of tips for making the perfect souffle. I could also call this my list of everything I’ve ever done wrong to make a not-perfect souffle. Hopefully my mistakes are your gain.

Don’t be scared that there is a list. If your oven is the right temp (buy an inexpensive oven thermometer if you need to check) and you know what to look for as you go (read through my list once), you can pull off a beautiful souffle with dramatic height that will make everyone at your table think you are a culinary master. Doesn’t that sound worth it? I’ve included my killer chocolate souffle recipe at the end, and I promise, if you try it once or twice you’ll be ready to make it for anyone.

chocolate souffle a la mode

Timing
A good souffle is all about the drama. Make sure everyone is at the table, ready for presentation of the souffle right from the oven, while it is light and airy and heavenly.

You can prep your souffle in advance. As long as your kitchen is not too warm, the souffle can sit at room temp for up to half hour before you bake. You can also prep most souffles a day in advance and leave them in the fridge, just invert a bowl over the top. When you’re ready to bake, put it straight in the oven.

I’m told you can also freeze a souffle dish full of batter, and put the souffle straight from the freezer to the oven. How fun would it be to have a row of ramekin-size souffles in the freezer, waiting to be popped in the oven any day you need a pick me up?

Ingredient and Equipment Prep
No farm fresh eggs. Eggs that are too fresh will not hold air as well as those that have been around for a while.

Eggs need to be at room temperature. Take your eggs out of the fridge at least an hour and up to a day in advance. Eggs are easier to separate when cold, so separate them into bowls first, then cover with plastic wrap so the wrap touches the surface of the egg. Leave the bowls on the counter until you’re ready to cook.

I have a little secret. I almost always add an extra egg white. I’m telling you, I’m all about getting that dramatic height.

Once you’ve buttered your souffle dish and sprinkled it with flour, sugar, or crumbs, put the dish in the fridge while you make the batter.

The bowl you beat your whites in must be clean. The smallest streak of grease will ruin any chance your eggs had of whipping up properly. Use glass or metal, not plastic, which can hold onto grease.

You can add a collar to your souffle if you’re concerned about too much height and your souffle going lopsided, or if you want to fill past the brim. Take a piece of parchment paper long enough to wrap all the way around your dish, fold it in half lengthwise so it is stiffer, and tie it around the outside of the dish with bakers twine so it rises about two inches above the rim.

Mise en place. Make sure you have every ingredient measured and ready before you start. You need to work quickly from the moment you start beating those eggs. No time for digging through the drawer for a measuring spoon.

Making the souffle
Know your peaks. Soft peaks flop over from the base and are a little foamy (see pic below). Stiff peaks are glossy stand so only the tips fall over. But they still look moist, and will usually slip a little if you tilt the bowl. If your whites are dull instead of shiny, they’re overbeaten. Err on the side of under whipping. Over whipped whites are inflexible and cannot inflate as your souffle bakes.

To check for stiff peaks, I use the old fashioned trick of setting a new egg right on top of my whites as soon I think they’re stiff. If the whites can hold the weight of the egg, at it sinks no further than half the height of the egg, I stop whipping. If the egg sinks to the bottom, I whip another 30 seconds, rinse and dry my egg, and try again.

Be certain your base is cooled to room temp or close before you fold it into the egg whites. A base that is too warm will deflate egg whites.

Your base needs to be loose enough so it can easily fold into your whites. If it looks like putty, take a glance at your recipe and see what you can add to dilute it just enough to make it foldable.

Always fold a quarter of your whites into your base first to loosen it up, before you go folding in the rest of the whites.

Don’t over fold. It will deflate your whites. No need to fold until everything is perfectly combined. Streaks are okay. Just make sure there are not big lumps of base that have not been folded in.

I fill my souffle dishes to the brim or one inch below. Like I said, I like a nice, tall souffle.

To help your souffle to rise evenly, run your thumb along the outer edge of the dish, about a half inch deep or so, before you bake.

Baking
If you have a convection option on your oven, turn it off. Your souffle will start out looking great, but then will deflate after a few minutes.

I preheat my oven to 25 degrees higher than the suggested baking temperature. Then I drop to the suggested temp as I put the souffle in the oven. It helps the crust puff at the beginning and gives the batter on the inside something to climb.

Do not open the oven for the first 3/4 of baking time. And when you open to check for doneness after that, be quick about it.

Your soufflé is done when the top crust is golden and firm, but the souffle jiggles just a bit when you give it a gentle shake.

When in doubt, check with a knife or skewer. No use going to all that trouble and then serving a souffle that is half batter. Insert a skewer or knife into the center and make sure it comes out clean, with no wet batter clinging on.

You can make almost any souffle in individual ramekins instead of a larger dish. Just reduce baking time by about 8 minutes and be vigilant.

Serving
When you serve your souffle, make a big deal about it. Seriously. It’s a souffle. Serving it and eating it should feel important. Carry it carefully to the table, and use two spoons to break a slit open in the top. Watch as the steam escapes and your guests anticipate the first bite. If you have a sauce, pour it right in that slit. As you serve, dig down and give each serving a piece of the crisp crust and a piece of the creamy inside.

Troubleshooting
Once you’ve made your souffle, take a moment to think about what you might improve for next time. If your crust was too tough, your oven was probably too hot. If your souffle did not rise, your oven was probably not hot enough. Take a moment to jot down notes for next time.

eggs are easier to separate while they’re still cold from the fridge, but need to be at room temp before you begin
I like to fill my souffle dish to the brim. you can also add a collar and fill it even higher
this is a souffle I baked with a collar, I usually opt to go without, just because I like the rough, organic edges when the souffle rises without a collar
soft peaks will flop over at the top, these whites are just a little stiffer than I like mine for soft peaks
stiff peaks will be glossy and just the top of the peak will fall over, if your whites become flakey or dry looking, they are over whipped
I like to check my stiff peaks by gently setting an egg on top, if the whites support the weight of the egg, they are ready
My favorite way to fold is to gently plunge my spatula (use a large rubber/silicone spatula) into the middle of the batter, then come up scraping the side of the bowl and lifting the batter. Then I give the bowl a quarter turn and repeat until I’m satisfied. I always prefer to leave a few streaks rather than over fold

run your thumb along the outer edge of the dish, about a half inch deep or so, to allow the souffle to rise evenly

Chocolate Souffle
serves 6
24-26 min at 375 F
Here is the chocolate souffle recipe I’ve tweaked over the years. I’ve tried a lot of chocolate souffle recipes I didn’t love. This one I love. I like to use semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, 64% or higher, usually Scharffen Berger or Valrhona if I’m trying to impress anyone.

Equipment
Mixer and beating attachment
Clean rubber spatula
Souffle dish or ramekins (any oven safe dish with sides that go straight up)

Ingredients
7 large egg whites, room temperature
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp butter, room temperature, plus more for prepping souffle dish
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar, plus extra for prepping souffle dish

Method
1. At least an hour and up to a day before, remove eggs from fridge and separate (they separate easier while they’re still cold). Cover with plastic wrap that is touching the surface of the egg. Allow eggs to come to room temperature.
2. When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 F.
3. Prepare souffle dish or ramekins. Generously butter then sprinkle with sugar. Knock out excess. Place dishes in the fridge until you’re ready to fill them.
4. Beat yolks on medium until thick and pale yellow (I like to do this with my hand mixer in a small bowl. I just feel better using a different beater than I use for my whites, so I am sure I don’t have any yolk on the beater when I whip my whites. But just cleaning your beater and bowl well will work too.)
5. Melt your chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave (see more details than you will ever need about melting chocolate right here). I always melt in the microwave for simple baking. Dump chocolate into a microwavable bowl, preferably not glass because that conducts too much heat. Cook one minute on half power. Remove and stir. Continue cooking for 30 seconds at a time on half power, stirring between, until chocolate is melted. Stir until melted. Add butter and salt and stir until fully combined. If butter will not fully melt, it’s okay to put everything back in the microwave for 15 seconds longer (at half power again).
6. Fold yolks into chocolate until fully combined.
7. Are you ready to whip those whites? Make sure you have a perfectly clean, dry mixing bowl. Whip on medium-high until the whites form soft peaks.
8. Add the sugar half at a time, beating for a few seconds after each addition. Beat until whites are shiny and form stiff peaks. Do not over beat. If you over beat, your whites will become rigid and won’t be able to expand in the oven and rise to form the perfect, ethereal souffle.
9. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold about a quarter of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture until fully combined. Spoon the remaining whites on top and fold until mostly combined. Don’t over fold here. It’s okay to leave a few streaks.
10. Spoon the batter into the prepared souffle dish and smooth the top. I also run my thumb along the outer edge of the dish, about a half inch deep or so, to allow the souffle to rise evenly.
11. Reduce the oven temp to 375.
12. Bake until the crust is browned, but the middle jiggles slightly when you gently shake, about 24 to 26 minutes (about 16 minutes for individual-sized ramekins).
13. Serve immediately to your table full of admiring guests.

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Just a few favorites from the archives.

a poetic cake
printables! a valentine tag + airplane valentine, a butterfly to make your heart flutter, and something for the teachers too
candy cupcake stands
(so simple)
10 places to proclaim your love
go cupcake picking from a tree
macarons with a message
a few impossibly. romantic. real. life. gifts.

Thanks for your amazing support this week! Hope you have a cozy weekend. I’ll be back next week a little more Valentines fun.

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