Dinner and lunch are good, but life isn’t quite as enjoyable without something sweet. Some of these recipes are a single serving, some are small batch desserts and treats. The small batch recipes are half- or quarter-size cake recipes for cakes and brownies. They are more than one serving, but just enough for one person to finish over the course of a few days. In other words, no stale cake!
By the way, if you don’t have one, I do recommend getting a small baking dish to make these recipes. A dish that’s about six inches square is perfect.
No mug cakes though. I just don’t think they work well!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve been craving pear bread ever since I saw some in the store the other day.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.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.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.
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.
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.
It’s the holiday season, so that means it’s also dessert season. Whether you’re having company, or just treating yourself, this poached pear recipe 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.
Poached pears with chocolate sauce and ice cream. A fancy-looking dessert that's easy to make.
2/3 C water
1/4 C sugar, minus one or two teaspoons
1/3 tsp vanilla extract
One scoop vanilla ice cream
Drizzle chocolate syrup (a teaspoon or two)
Peel the pear, cut it in half, and remove the core with a paring knife.
Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan (less than one quart) and stir the mixture to combine them together.
Turn the flame to medium and bring the sugar/water mixture to a boil.
Once it's boiling, add the pear halves, and reduce the heat to medium-low.
Let them simmer for three minutes. Turn the halves over and then simmer for another two minutes. Test to see if they're soft enough. If they are, a small knife should go through the pieces easily.
Add the vanilla extract, stir it into the mixture and let everything cool for 15-20 minutes.
To serve, add a scoop of ice cream to a plate, then the pear halves, then drizzle chocolate syrup (or hot fudge sauce) on top.
This takes about 15 minutes to cook, but allow time for the pear halves to cool off after you cook them.
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.
It’s apple season! It’s also the time of year when it’s traditional to eat apples and honey (for a sweet Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year). I brought a full batch of this cinnamon sugar apple bread to my brother’s house for the holiday. They gobbled it up! Pretty good, considering it was competing with mom’s New York cheesecake.
I originally planned to post the entire recipe, which I adapted from Cookies and Cups. Then I remembered (duh), that this is the “single serving chef” blog, and the portions should be smaller!
I have reduced the sugar and the vanilla, because the original recipe was far too sweet for me. The result is a delicious, and easy to make quick bread (think banana bread, but with apples rather than bananas), that’s full of apple flavor and topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.
If you can get them, use a Canville Blanc D’Hiver apple (which is a French tart apple). If not, Granny Smith, Mutsu, or GingerGold will work well. You want an apple that’s firm, crisp, and not too sweet.
I once accidentally made this with cayenne (!) instead of cinnamon. I mention it because it was much better than I would have expected. I’m not sure I’d do it again deliberately, but it did give me an idea (see the substitutions section).
A rich, delicious cake full of apples and dusted with cinnamon sugar. Serve it warm or cold. It's great topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato.
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 C flour
1/4 C butter (half a stick), at room temperature
6 T light brown sugar
4T granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 C milk
1 tart apple, peeled and diced
1/4 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the toaster oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour a small baking dish.
Mix the salt, baking powder, and flour in a small bowl.
Beat the butter, sugars, and cinnamon in your mixer until the mixture is fluffy. If you have a KitchenAid, this should take about a minute, on speed 2. If not, mix on medium speed for two minutes, scraping down the sides.
Add the egg and vanilla, and mix another few seconds (KitchenAid), or about a minute for standard mixers, scraping the sides.
On low speed, alternately add the flour and the milk. Start with some flour, then some milk, then flour, then milk, then flour again. You should begin and end with flour.
Add the chopped apple, and stir just enough to combine.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon together in a small ramekin and sprinkle over the batter.
Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Substitutions and Variations for Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread
Add 1/2 tsp ground ginger to make the cake a bit spicy
Give it a bit of a kick with some brandy or Calvados
If you’re brave, or like spicy sweets, go for the cayenne
Top the bread with bourbon sauce (2 T bourbon, 1/4 C sugar, 2 T butter, heated in a small pan) instead of the cinnamon/sugar.
This week’s peach crumble recipe was originally going to be apple crisp. But, it’s 90 degrees out. I’m not thinking fall, I’m still thinking summer.
Once I switched (in my head) to peaches, my next thought was peach cobbler. I had a recipe that looked good and I was anxious to try it. Unfortunately, peach cobbler requires an egg. Since I’m reducing the recipe, that won’t work. I can do eggplant parmesan with half an egg, but a quarter of an egg is pushing it!
So, back to the drawing board. I ended up taking the cobbler recipe “filling” and combining it with a crumble topping inspired by Ina Garten.
Traditionally, the difference between cobbler, crumble, and crisp was the topping. Cobbler had a biscuity topping (hence the egg). To make a crumble, you topped it with a butter and flour mixture (think coffee cake). A fruit crisp topping had oats. Now, it’s all mixed up and also seems to depend on what part of the country you live in.
Whatever you call it, peach crumble is easy to make. Just mix the peach base in one bowl and the crumble topping in another. Since it’s a small portion, you don’t even have to pull out the mixer.
Prepare a 6.5 inch square shallow baking dish with butter and flour. Rub a stick of butter along the bottom and sides of the dish, and sprinkle it with flour. This will prevent the crumble from sticking to the pan.
Slice the peach and place it in a small bowl.
Add the sugar, salt, melted butter, and lemon juice.
Mix it all together with a spoon.
In another bowl, combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter. Mix it up with your fingers and crumble it into small pieces. The pieces should be roughly the size of peas.
Putting the Peach Crumble together
Pour the peach mixture into the prepared pan. Top that with the crumble mixture.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Serve topped with vanilla ice cream or vanilla sweetened whipped cream.
Note that I have reduced the sugar a bit. Add more if you like sweeter desserts (or if your peaches aren't sweet enough).
Substitutions and Variations for Peach Crumble
Use half peaches and half blueberries
Try nectarines or plums
Go back to the future and use apples (add a pinch of nutmeg)
Perfect for peach crumble, a small batch of brownies, or apple crisp. It’s heavy, well-made, and dishwasher-safe too. If you have extra crumble, you can heat it in the microwave right in the dish. Ice Cream Scoop
This is going to be my next present to myself. It’s heavy duty, so it won’t bend, and the tip is pointed to make it easier to get the ice cream (or sorbet) out of the container. You’ll easily get a perfect scoop, no matter how thick your ice cream is. Since it’s OXO, it’s also easy to hold and has a lifetime guaranty.
It doesn’t get any simpler than this. These one ingredient juice popsicles are refreshing, delicious and the perfect treat on a hot, hot summer’s day!
When I was a kid, my mom used to make us juice pops during the summer. She had some plastic molds with removable tops. You just pour in the juice, put the top on, wait a few hours, and voilà, a healthy, refreshing, frozen snack.
They were a big hit with the neighborhood kids too (who probably had no idea they were eating something good for them).
When I saw juice pops in the store as an adult, I initially got excited. Then I looked at the ingredients: water, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, potassium lord knows what.
Simple, Easy One Ingredient Juice Popsicles
All you really need to make delicious juice pops is juice (and popsicle molds). That’s it. I’m putting this under dessert because it’s sweet, but really you can eat it any time you like.
I’ve used cranberry grape juice to make my juice pops, but any juice will do: grape, orange, pineapple. Sometimes mom would mix the flavors to make orange pineapple, or apple grape. There are far more options now, so you could make them with strawberry orange banana juice if you like.
If you want to get fancy, add a few slices of fruit to your juice popsicles.
juice of your choice (cranberry, apple, orange, pineapple, cran-grape, etc.)
Pour the juice into individual popsicles molds
Fill them about two-thirds of the way (leave room for the juice to expand)
Freeze for about 2-3 hours.
There's no cooking time, obviously, so I've used the freezing time as the total time to make this.
Just pick your favorite juice flavor and start freezing!
Tools and Ingredients for Juice Pops
I have this set, but I don’t recommend it. It’s too hard to get one pop at a time! For better (or worse) they haven’t cracked or broken, so I can’t bring myself to replace them. I recommend you try the molds below instead.
This is the closest thing I can find to the molds mom had when I was a kid. Hers were plain, clear plastic, but these have grooves and pretty colors. Plus, unlike the set I currently have, it’s easy to get one pop at a time. Fill the molds, pop the top on and freeze. The waiting is the hardest part!
If you really want to get fancy, try out this juice pop maker. Freeze the pop maker ahead of time, then add the ingredients, and you’ll get tasty pops 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)
These recipes require a bit more effort than the juice pops, but you can experiment with fresh fruit, yogurt, even balsamic vinegar or alcohol (for a grownup treat).
Strawberry lemonade popsicles Two favorite summer treats (well, maybe three) all in one pop: strawberries, lemonade, and popsicles, layered to look like a parfait. Cool, refreshing, and really pretty too.
The popsicles in this book get their inspiration from lots of different sources: soda fountains (think root beer and cherry cola); coffee and tea (thai iced coffee, and southern sweet tea), as well as fruit, yogurt, and pudding
I was in the mood for something sweet with my morning coffee one weekend. After some thought, I settled on a Greek yogurt coffee cake. The trouble was, I didn’t have a recipe I liked, and most of the small batch recipes for coffee cake I found were the sort of thing you make in a mug, which I didn’t want.
I have tried a few of those and did not like them. I wanted something made from scratch, in a real pan, in the oven. That way, the flavors have time to meld, and the flour/sugar/fat can work their magic.
I found a great recipe for sour cream coffee cake muffins (for two), but that required a muffin pan. I got rid of mine because I never used it and it was taking up valuable kitchen space. The funny thing is, she said she decided to make the recipe as muffins instead of a cake since most people have muffin tins. So, I had to revert to her original plan and make a single small batch dessert coffee cake instead!
I made a few other changes too. The topping sounded delicious, but much too sweet for me, so I decided to cut the sugar she called for in half.
Next, since I have a Kitchenaid mixer, I only mixed the oil and sugar for two minutes, rather than four. Because I usually have Greek yogurt in the fridge, but not sour cream, or heavy cream, I used that instead. You can use the traditional sour cream if you prefer.
Because my mini baking pan is porcelain, and I didn’t want the batter to stick, buttered and floured it before I added the cake mixture.
Since I was baking a single, solid small cake instead of muffins, I also reduced the cooking temperature and increased the baking time slightly.
The result was a delicious, not too sweet, crumbly, cinnamony cake that was just perfect for a weekend treat.
I have been using this dish quite a lot. It’s great for this cake, for my small batch brownies, and a single serving of apple crisp. And, it’s dishwasher safe, if you have one. If there’s any leftover cake, the dish can also go in the microwave, if you want to reheat it.
More Single Serving and Small Batch Dessert Recipes