Mini Chocolate Banana Bread

Take banana bread to the next level of deliciousness and make it mini chocolate banana bread instead! This recipe is adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen. The original recipe is divine as is, but a whole chocolate banana bread is just too much for one.  Not to mention, I only had two bananas and the original recipe called for three. I used one and a half for this, then ate the other half with my lunch.  Plus, I just got some mini loaf pans I was dying to try out! I couldn’t resist.  It worked beautifully.

The bread is rich, moist, and chocolatey delicious.  I admit I skipped the chocolate pieces. You see, it was supposed to be double chocolate banana bread.  However, the chunk of chocolate I had was too cold and hard to break up and I was too lazy to wait for it to soften. And, I wanted banana bread ASAP!

If you want it super-chocolatey go for both and add about 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate. Then you get chocolate chocolate chip banana bread.




Tools for Mini Chocolate Banana Bread

Wilton Mini Loaf Pan

I got two of these. They’re about half the size of a normal loaf pan, and just perfect for smaller scale baking. I used them for this chocolate banana bread first.  Then, I took my white bread recipe and divided it between the two pans. Voilà, two mini breads instead of one large one! And, they won’t go stale before I can finish them.

The pans also work for other kinds of quick breads and mini meat loaf too. Eat one, freeze the second one. Or, cook once, eat twice.

More Banana Recipes

banana smoothie for oneBanana Smoothie Recipe for One

Easy, refreshing, and not too sweet. A good in-between meal snack you can make in minutes.

 

strawberry banana yogurt popsicles plateStrawberry Banana Yogurt Popsicles

Beat the summer heat with this sweet treat that’s actually good for you. It’s loaded with fruit! And there’s no added sugar either.

 

cinnamon sugar bananasCinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

Whip up an elegant dessert without a lot of work. All you need is bananas, a bit of butter, brandy, and only a touch of sugar.

 




Mini Blueberry Hand Pie Recipe

This week would have been my dad’s 84th birthday.  I thought about writing a tribute post last year, when he died, but I was in no mental condition to do it. And then all hell kept breaking loose and I was too physically and emotionally wrung out to do anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary.  However, one thing about my dad: he had a terrible sweet tooth. He loved desserts, chocolate, and pies. Especially pies.  Particularly strawberry and blueberry pies. Sadly, I haven’t found the right strawberry pie recipe yet. For some reason, most of them have rhubarb, which he hated, or cream cheese, or even jello?! (nope nope nope) but this mini blueberry hand pie recipe is something he would have loved.

The pies are stuffed with blueberries, they’re sweet, and they taste like long, summer days.

I happen to like the fact that this mini blueberry hand pie recipe makes a bunch of little, one person serving hand-held pies, rather than a single large one.  It’s much easier to just eat one, and a hand-held pie is a lot less messy than a standard pie.  You don’t need silverware or a plate, you can just pick one up and eat it. They make a wonderful, sweet, summery treat. They’re easy to eat, and easy to pack for lunch or a picnic, without making a big mess. A slice of pie doesn’t travel all that well!

I’ve adapted this recipe from King Arthur, cutting the recipe in half to make four pies, rather than eight. Eight was a bit much! If you don’t have time to finish the recipe all at once, you can make the filling, chill the dough, and then come back to it later. The finished pies will keep well in the fridge for several days, or you can freeze them.




More Fruit Dessert Recipes

poached pears with chocolate sauce and ice creamPoached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream

Fruit, ice cream, and chocolate! It’s the dessert trifecta.  Gently cook the pears, drizzle them with chocolate sauce, and add vanilla ice cream.  Great for company, but you don’t have to share! Because this is food for one.

rustic pear tartRustic Pear Tart

An easy way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Make the dough, let it rest, cut the fruit, and bake.  Simple.

 

easy one serving apple crisp recipeEasy One Serving Apple Crisp Recipe

A one bowl, one pan easy one serving apple crisp recipe that’s perfect for one. You don’t have to over-indulge (or worry about it going stale).

 

cinnamon sugar bananasCinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

Treat yourself to this simple dessert with a bit of butter, a touch of cinnamon, some brown sugar, and a splash of brandy.

 




Rustic Pear Tart

Let’s face it, most pear tart recipes are complicated.  You have to make the dough, then let it rest.  Next you have to pre-bake the crust, or maybe go out and get some frozen puff pastry. I’ve even seen recipes calling for making the puff pastry at home (not happening).   Or, there are recipes requiring a traditional full-blown pie crust.  I have a lovely apple pie recipe I hardly ever make because it’s just too much fussing.  This rustic pear tart, on the other hand, is fairly easy and straightforward.

You don’t have to crimp the edges, or pre-bake the crust. You don’t even have to cook the pears in advance. I saw one recipe that had 22 steps! Nope. Nope. Nope. This recipe is much easier than that! There are only six steps.  Much better! The active time is about 15 minutes of work, and the whole thing is done in about an hour and a half (including resting in the fridge and baking).

First you make the dough. That’s only six basic ingredients you likely already have at home.  Then, you let it cool in the refrigerator for an hour, and press out the dough into a roughly circular shape. Next, add the fruit, sprinkle the spices on top, and bake.

I’ve made this tart with pears, because I had some extremely ripe pears I wanted to use up. If you don’t have pears, or would rather use something else, apples will work beautifully too. And, both are in season now.  Once summer comes back around, you might try it with peaches or maybe plums too.

The original recipe (which I cut in half) required a food processor. If you don’t have one, you can use a pastry cutter or two sharp knives instead. I have included instructions for both.




Rustic Pear Tart Substitutions and Variations

  • Don’t have pears? Make this with apples instead (or try peaches in the summer)
  • Add some green cardamom to the tart (along with the other spices)
  • Replace some of the flour with ground almond meal
  • Add a little Reisling or other dessert wine to the filling
  • Top with slivered almonds




More Pear Dessert Recipes

ginger pear breadSmall Batch Ginger Pear Bread

Sweet, juicy pears balanced with the bite of some cinnamon and a bit of ground ginger, topped with chopped almonds.

 

poached pears with chocolate sauce and ice cream

Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream

Indulgent? Maybe. So what. It’s rich, creamy, and delicious. Looks hard, but it’s really quite simple to make. Fancy enough for company, but worth it for yourself.

 

pear dessert crepeEasy Pear Crepe Dessert Recipe for One Person

Real crepes are hard. This is easy. I cheated. Dessert in a few minutes, no bother. Still delectable.  Serve plain or top with whipped cream or ice cream.

Strawberry Banana Yogurt Popsicles

I’m told it’s popsicle week this week, and who am I to argue?  It’s barely summer but NY has already hit “swelter season.”  That means it’s what we call 3H weather: hazy, hot, and humid.  Strawberry banana yogurt popsicles are sweet, cold, and have no additional sugar added. They’re the perfect summer treat when the temperature hits “Oh no, you gotta be kidding me!”  There’s also no cooking or heating anything involved; ideal when it’s just too warm and sticky to face a hot stove.

All you have to do is measure the ingredients, blend everything together, and then freeze. About 2 hours later,  you’ve got a great snack.

I adapted the recipe slightly from one I found online here.  The original recipe was for 10 pops, which is way too much.  So, I cut it in half.   I also used strawberries instead of mixed berries. It’s the height of strawberry season and they are outrageously delicious!

strawberry banana yogurt popsicles

I have a four-pop mold popsicle set, which holds about three ounces each.  I’ve had them for years, which is both great and annoying. Great because they’ve held up well; annoying because since the pops all insert into one tray, it’s hard to get only one pop at a time.  I’d much rather have something like this,  which is designed to make it easier to get one pop out at a time.

Some molds are bigger (or smaller), so the final number of pops you get will depend on the size of the mold you have. If you don’t have a mold at all, you can pour the mixture into an ice cube tray and stick toothpicks in it. That will give you a dozen bite size mini-pops instead.




Strawberry Banana Yogurt Popsicles Substitutions and Variations

  • Use blackberries, raspberries, or a combination of berries instead of just strawberries
  • If you have leftover mixture, add some crushed ice, blend it again, and make a smoothie
  • Add a splash of vanilla extract and/or nutmeg
  • Go for some tequila or rum and make adult popsicles (figure roughly one ounce of liquor per five ounces of everything else)

 

Ozera Reusable Popsicle Molds

This design makes it far easier to get one popsicle at a time. Each mold sits in its own individual slot, so you don’t have to struggle to get just one pop. There’s also a little tiny brush to clean them with. Or, just put them in the dishwasher.

ZZoku Duo Quick Pop Maker

If you really want to get fancy, try out this juice pop maker. Freeze the container ahead of time, then add the ingredients, and you’ll get a tasty frozen treat in just 7 minutes. It doesn’t even need electricity. Note that this will only work with sugar-sweetened pops (not sugar-free or artificial sweeteners).

More Desserts and Treats

juice popsicleOne Ingredient Juice Popsicles

My mom used to make these when I was little. They were delicious then, and still are. A healthy, sweet treat that’s great on hot days.

 

banana smoothie for oneBanana Smoothie Recipe for One

A sweet drink that’s packed with vitamins and potassium, rather than processed sugar. Great for a snack.

 

cinnamon sugar bananasCinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

Treat yourself with an easy dessert that takes very little effort to make. Serve plain or top with chocolate sauce or ice cream.

 

strawberry basil mojitoStrawberry Basil Mojito with Lime

Kick back, relax, and enjoy a refreshing adult beverage. Close your eyes and pretend you’re on a tropical beach, swaying under the palm trees.

 




Single Serving Double Dark Chocolate Pudding Recipe

In keeping with last week’s theme of indulgence, here’s a bit more. Because it’s the holiday season, and why not? This recipe, which I adapted from Tina’s Cookings, was billed as a thick European-style hot chocolate, which is sort of a runny pudding you can drink. That’s not quite what I got.  Instead, I got a single serving double dark chocolate pudding recipe. Even better! I’m not sure if I transposed it incorrectly (her measurements are metric), but I did it twice and got the same result.

In any case, this is rich, decadent, and utterly delicious! And since it’s seriously bitter cold outside, warm pudding (or hot chocolate is perfect).

So why not give yourself a little treat? We’ve all been working hard over the holidays, and we all deserve a reward.

Make sure to use high quality chocolate and cocoa to make this. I used Cadbury Bourneville cocoa and Trader Joe’s Belgian chocolate (which is really Callebaut in a clever disguise). It’s worth it!

If you use the Callebaut callets (essentially chocolate chips), you’ll need about 2 or 3 oz (by weight).  Then you don’t have to break up the chocolate and it will melt faster.




Single Serving Double Dark Chocolate Pudding Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • Add more milk or reduce the cornstarch and get European-style hot chocolate
  • Top with whipped cream or sliced strawberries
  • Top with broken up candy canes
  • Sprinkle some cinnamon and nutmeg or chocolate shavings on top
  • Try a splash of brandy or Kahlua

More Chocolate Dessert Recipes

greek yogurt chocolate cakeGreek Yogurt Triple Chocolate Cake

Not one, not two, but three kinds of chocolate: cocoa, chocolate, and a chocolate ganache icing on top. Because why not.

 

easy chocolate mousseEasy Chocolate Mousse

One of the very first recipes I learned to make. Only five ingredients, no melting chocolate in a double boiler and no separating eggs either. Easy!

 

small batch brownies cocoa powderSmall Batch Brownies with Cocoa Powder

Normal brownie recipes are too much for one person to eat. I’ve scaled this one down so it’s a perfect mini recipe for one.

 

poached pears with chocolate sauce and ice creamPoached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream

Not entirely chocolate, but a quick and elegant dessert that is easy to prepare.

 




Easy One Serving Apple Crisp Recipe

It’s officially fall, so that means it’s also officially apple season! This easy one serving apple crisp recipe really satisfies that apple craving, while indulging your sweet tooth at the same time. I had a serious hankering for something sweet, but not too gooey, and this hits the spot.

Try to use apples that are large, crisp, and juicy, but not too sweet.  I am lucky enough to have access to a greenmarket with a farmer who grows 75 kinds of apples.  So, I used Esopus Spitzenberg (supposedly Thomas Jefferson’s favorite apple).  If you don’t have 75 kinds of apples, Granny Smith or Mutsu or similar will do just fine.

The original recipe called for 2 cups of sugar (for 12 servings), which was waaay too much.  Every other recipe I saw used half that.  So, I followed suit and cut it in  half.  It’s still sweet and delicious, without endangering  your teeth.




Easy One Serving Apple Crisp Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • Give in to the pumpkin spice craze and add ground cloves and ginger
  • Try a splash of brandy (especially Calvados)
  • If you want your crisp more syrupy, add some apple cider
  • Serve with ice cream or whipped cream on top

Tools and Ingredients for Easy One Serving Apple Crisp

 

black and decker mini chopper

Black & Decker Food Chopper

A mini chopper is essentially a food processor’s little cousin.  This is perfect for grinding up the oatmeal in this recipe.  And, it takes up a lot less space than a food processor.  It’s great for chopping nuts, dicing onions, making pesto, or even grinding a small batch of meat for meatballs.

HIC Square Baking Dish small porcelain baking dish

This dish is ideal for baking smaller casseroles, cakes, crisps, and crumbles.  Use it for brownies, peach crumble or a mini-meatloaf.  It’s perfectly content in the oven, the dishwasher, and the microwave. And, it also takes up very little space in your cupboard.

More Fruit Dessert Recipes

cinnamon sugar apple breadSmall Batch Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread

Crackly cinnamon sugar topping, lots of chopped apples, and a downscaled recipe that’s perfect for one person.

 

peach crumble recipePeach Crumble Recipe for One

Sweet summer peaches, two little bowls, and one pan.  Soooo good. Make sure to top it with some vanilla ice cream. Because you deserve it.

 

poached pears with chocolate sauce and ice creamPoached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream

A classic French dessert that’s remarkably easy to make.  Poach the pears gently, then add chocolate and ice cream. Fancy huh?

 

caramelized pineapple chunksCaramelized Pineapple Chunks for One Person

Delicious, easy, and pantry-friendly. Hint: you can use canned pineapple! And it only takes a few minutes to make. Serve plain, topped with chopped nuts, or add other fruit too.




Frozen Mango Yogurt Dessert Recipe Without an Ice Cream Machine

It’s so hot and sticky in NY you can practically swim in the air.  Bleah!  Even I don’t want to turn on the stove in this weather.  When it feels like 100 degrees outside, dinner is a no cook meal.   After dinner,  it’s this frozen mango yogurt dessert recipe. It’s super-easy to make. And, you don’t need an ice cream machine or any special equipment either (a blessing in a small kitchen).  An ordinary blender (or a stick blender) will do just fine.  You also don’t have to add any sugar or honey. The recipe gets its sweetness entirely from the natural sugars in the fruit.

I’ve adapted this from Foodaholic’s frozen lemon ginger mango recipe.  She made enough for a family (I didn’t), and I also changed her technique slightly. She freezes the yogurt and the fruit separately and then blends them together.  I found it got much too hard that way.  And, it’s an extra container to wash.  So, I just put it all in the blender and hit the button.  She is right that the yogurt must be thick (Greek yogurt works best), and that it will crystallize if you leave it in the freezer too long.

If you can get good fresh mangoes, use them! If you can’t, or if you are lazy and don’t want the fuss and mess of peeling and cutting them, buy the frozen mangoes from Trader Joe’s.  Take out what you need and let the fruit defrost slightly before trying to put it in the blender.




Frozen Mango Yogurt Dessert Substitutions and Variations

  • Don’t have mangoes?  Try it with peaches instead
  • Add a drizzle of honey
  • Toast the almonds before adding them
  • Try a squeeze of lime instead of lemon juice
  • Be adventurous and substitute cardamom for the ginger (sort of a frozen mango lassi)

More Mango and Yogurt Recipes

chicken mango stir fryQuick Chicken Mango Stir Fry Recipe

The sweetness of mango and bell peppers with the heat of chilis. The result is a colorful, flavorful dish that’s easy to prepare.  It’s flexible too.  Swap the regular peas for snap peas, add more chili for extra heat, try some mini corn, or  give it a Thai spin with lime, cilantro, and basil.

mango cottage cheese and honeyCottage Cheese Yogurt and Fruit Salad

Got a minute? Make some lunch. All you have to do is dump and mix.  It’s easy, and really refreshing on a hot day too.

 

fish fillet with yogurt sauceFish Fillet in Yogurt Sauce

Creamy, rich and ready in half an hour. There’s a minimum of prep too.  Use any fairly firm fish that’s not too strongly flavored.

 

greek yogurt chocolate cakeGreek Yogurt Chocolate Cake

So you’re craving a sweet treat, but can’t finish an entire normal size cake. This one is miniaturized.  It’s got a triple dose of chocolate (chips, cocoa, and a chocolate ganache icing).  And you only need one bowl to make it.




Small Batch Ginger Pear Bread

I’ve been craving pear bread ever since I saw some in the store the other day.  Funny how that happens. The store version was much too big for one person, so I ran to the Internet.  I started out thinking I would make the Smitten Kitchen pear bread recipe.  But, that turned out to make two loaves. I’d never be able to eat two loaves of bread before it went stale.  Even a single, full-size loaf was more than I wanted, especially for an experiment.  So I kept looking.  Then I found that  Desserts for Two had a banana bread recipe that, with some tweaking, would do nicely.  So, ginger pear bread was born.

I didn’t want to play around with reducing the sugar, but I was concerned that 3 tablespoons of sugar plus the honey plus the pears would be too sweet. So, I balanced the sweetness of the pears with the bite of some cinnamon and a bit of ground ginger.  Ginger is both sweet and spicy, depending on what other flavors you combine it with.

I topped the whole thing with some chopped almonds for a bit of nutty crunch.  They were supposed to go in the bread mixture, but I forgot!




One warning though, when you finish mixing the combined ingredients, the result will look a bit odd before you bake it.  However, the finished bread is delicious.

Substitutions and Variations for Ginger Pear Bread

  • If you like, revert back to the original and use bananas instead of pears
  • I used almonds, but walnuts or pecans would work too
  • Add more ginger, or some candied ginger for more bite

More Small Batch Dessert Recipes

poached pears with chocolate sauce and ice creamPoached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream

A sweet treat that’s elegant and surprisingly fuss-free.  Gently cook the pears, drizzle with chocolate sauce, and top with ice cream.

 

pear dessert crepeEasy Pear Crepe Dessert Recipe for One Person

Standard crepes are hard to make. This one is easy. Hint: it’s not really a crepe.

 

cinnamon sugar bananasCinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

Cousin to Bananas Foster, this dish takes only five minutes to make. You don’t need the fancy brandy either.

 

cinnamon sugar apple breadSmall Batch Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread

A moist, sweet (but not too sweet), treat packed with chunks of apples and topped with crackly cinnamon sugar. It’s been down-scaled, so it’s the perfect amount for one person.




Greek Yogurt Chocolate Cake

This Greek Yogurt Chocolate Cake has got everything a cake needs: chocolate, chocolate chips, and a gooey chocolate center. I would have left it at that, but then I remembered my local bakery’s chocolate blackout cupcakes. Those cupcakes have chocolate cake, a chocolate icing center, and then more icing on top! Yes! If it’s good enough for cupcakes, it’s definitely good enough for cake.

I found this recipe on dessert for two.  Since it’s already a small portion, I didn’t change it much, but I did make a few tweaks.

Because I don’t use cooking spray, I prepared my mini baking pan with butter and a dusting of flour. 

Keep Your Cake From Sticking

Just rub the butter over the bottom and sides of the pan, then sprinkle flour over it and spread it around with a butter knife.




Also, I didn’t have chocolate chips, so I cut up part of a bar of chocolate with a large knife (a mini-chopper would work too). Since I was going to add the icing, I cut the amount of “chips” to 1/4 cup.  I don’t like espresso powder, particularly not with chocolate, so I left that out.

Finally, I topped it all with a ganache topping, which is simply equal parts chocolate bar and butter.  Just combine 2 oz. of chocolate with 2 oz. of butter and melt that gently in a small saucepan.  Let it cool for fifteen minutes (or it will just soak in to your cake and disappear) and then and spread it over the top of your cake. If you want, you can add a splash of vanilla extract to the mixture.

Since this is a small cake, you don’t need to use your mixer.  You can easily make the whole thing by hand in a single medium-size bowl.

Tools and Ingredients for Greek Yogurt Chocolate Cake

HIC Porcelain Square Baking Dish 6.5- by 6.5- by 1-inch

This dish is the perfect size for this cake, a small coffee cake, brownies, or apple bread.  It cleans up easily and you can put it in the dishwasher if you like. It’s also microwave safe.

Cadbury Bourneville Cocoa

This cocoa is far richer and more full-flavored than the usual American cocoa. It’s darker chocolate and has no added sugar or fillers. Just plain cocoa.


Silicone Spatula Set

It’s getting harder and harder to find these in the stores. They’re all too wide: fine for turning fish or an egg, but useless for scraping cake batter out of your mixing bowl or spreading icing. Since they are silicone, they’re more heat-resistant than rubber would be. They’re also dishwasher safe and have built-in holes for hanging.

More Chocolate Dessert Recipes

easy chocolate mousseEasy Chocolate Mousse

One of the very first things I learned to cook. Only five ingredients, and you don’t have to separate eggs or melt chocolate. Easy, delicious, and chocolate. What more could you want?

small batch brownies cocoa powderSmall Batch Brownies with Cocoa Powder

Just enough brownies for one person (because a full batch is just too much). These are made with cocoa powder, so you don’t have to melt chocolate to make them.

 

single serving double dark chocolate pudding recipeSingle Serving Double Dark Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Double dark chocolate pudding, in a single serving. This is actually two recipes in one. Cook it more, you get pudding. Cook it less and you get thick European hot chocolate.

 

chocolate banana breadMini Chocolate Banana Bread

Banana bread + chocolate! All downsized for one person.  Just mix everything together in a bowl, and bake.

 

 




Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream

It’s the holiday season, so that means it’s also dessert season.  Whether you’re having company, or just treating yourself, this recipe for poached pears with chocolate sauce and ice cream is going to be a hit. The long name makes it sound kind of complicated, but it’s really easy.

First, you poach the pears by letting them simmer gently in a bit of sugar and water.  Let them cool off a bit, then put them on a plate with ice cream and drizzle chocolate syrup over them.  It feels like you’re doing something fancy for company, but you don’t have to share!

Pears were on sale this week (three pounds for only three dollars!), and I just couldn’t resist making this recipe.  I used Bosc pears  but Bartlett or Anjou will work just fine.

The pears were exceptionally sweet, and that plus the sugar, and the ice cream made the original recipe (from The New York Times cookbook), a bit cloying.  Sweet is good, but not that sweet, so I reduced the sugar.  The full amount of sugar is 1/4 cup.  Use that if your pears aren’t that good.  If you have sweet, juicy pears, cut the sugar by a teaspoon or two.




Substitutions and Variations for Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream

  • Sprinkle some sliced or slivered almonds on top of the pears
  • Poach the pears with a pinch of ginger and a slice of lemon
  • Make your own hot chocolate sauce: combine 1/2 C cocoa, 1 C sugar, 1 C light corn syrup, 1/2 C light cream, 1/4 tsp salt, and 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan.  Cook on medium heat.  Stir the mixture constantly until it boils.  When it’s boiling merrily, you can cut back to stirring only occasionally. Let it boil for three minutes.  Take the pan off the burner and add  1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Serve the sauce warm over the pears.  You can store the rest in the refrigerator and serve it with more pears, or over ice cream. Or, be really decadent and serve it over small batch brownies.

More Dessert Recipes

Easy Pear Crepe Dessert Recipe for One Person

Cinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

Peach Crumble Recipe for One

Small Batch Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread