Ruby & Rose in the Kitchen: Grand Marnier soufflés

To all who are celebrating love today, happy Valentine's Day! In my line of work I am lucky to be surrounded by love every day, and that never grows old. 

My husband and I have gotten away from exchanging gifts (today is our 10th Valentine's Day together!), but I'll use any excuse to bake a fancy dessert, so I thought I'd share the recipe for the Grand Marnier soufflés I decided to make to celebrate this day of love. 

I first had this soufflé at Gary Danko here in San Francisco and have been dreaming about it ever since. Soufflés have a reputation for being difficult to make but the key is just to prep all your ingredients in advance and wait to put them in the oven until you are ready to eat them - there's nothing more sad than a fallen soufflé! 

Adapted from a Gourmet recipe on

Grand Marnier Soufflés with Warm Chocolate Sauce

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter plus additional for buttering ramekins
1 cup sugar plus additional for coating ramekins
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
7 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon orange oil
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
8 large egg whites
1 large bar bittersweet baking chocolate

Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously butter eight 1-cup (3 1/2 x 2-inch) ramekins and coat with sugar, knocking out excess sugar.

In a 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan melt 3/4 stick butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes. Add milk and cook over moderate heat, whisking, until mixture is very thick and pulls away from sides of pan. Transfer mixture to a bowl and cool 5 minutes. In a large bowl whisk together yolks, vanilla, oil, and a pinch salt, and whisk in milk mixture and Grand Marnier, whisking until smooth.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat whites until they hold soft peaks. Beat in 1 cup sugar, a little at a time, and beat meringue until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk about one fourth meringue into yolk mixture to lighten and with a rubber spatula fold in remaining meringue gently but thoroughly.

Spoon batter into ramekins, filling them just to rim, and arrange ramekins at least 1 1/2 inches apart in a large baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to reach halfway up sides of ramekins and bake soufflés in middle of oven 20 minutes, or until puffed and tops are golden.

While soufflés are baking, melt bittersweet chocolate in a saucepan over very low heat and keep warm. 

Remove pan with soufflés from oven and transfer ramekins to dessert plates. With 2 forks pull open center of each soufflé and pour in melted chocolate. Enjoy immediately! 

Giving Thanks

In DC, where I am spending Thanksgiving this year with my husband's family, there is a serious chill in the air and most of the leaves have fallen from the trees. Luckily for me they are still clustered in big piles on the ground and the sidewalks. I grew up in the woods in Massachusetts, and every fall my parents would spend what seemed like days and days raking leaves into giant piles to be eventually stuffed into thick brown paper bags. Once this activity commenced, it went without saying that my brother and I needed to jump into as many leaf piles as possible. Though we never discussed a formal rating system, whoever made the biggest mess and managed to send the most leaves fluttering through the air was definitely the winner.

I'm too OCD now to want to get my clothes dirty by actually jumping in a big pile of leaves, but hearing them crunch beneath my feet and smelling their wonderful earthy smell instantly reminds me of fall on the East Coast - something I crave and really miss every year now that I live in California. Once fall arrives, time seems to speed up and the end of year holidays and all the craziness that goes with them are here in the blink of an eye. 

It seems easy these days to be overwhelmed by the number of commitments we all have during the holidays - either at work, with family, or otherwise. With holiday decorations popping up even before Halloween, and the hype of crazy Black Friday sales I sometimes feel like all the joy is being sucked out of the season right before my eyes, which makes me so sad because it can be such a wonderful time of year. But once I take some time to reflect and focus on what is important to me - spending time with loved ones, taking time to cook delicious food and do some entertaining - I get my holiday mojo back. 

2015 has been a big year for me personally and professionally. I have so much to be thankful for - my thriving business; my incredibly supportive family; a beautiful home in a city that I love and feel safe in; my friends who keep me laughing; my dog Bandit who offers daily snuggles and company in my home office; and my husband Andrew, who puts up with all my crazy ideas and is willing to travel to the ends of the earth with me. The list goes on...

What are you thankful for? I wish for you some peace and quiet and the time to reflect about all the positive things in your life this Thanksgiving. Here are some of the things inspiring me at the moment; click on the image to see the full inspiration board on Pinterest.