Small Batch Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread

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).




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.

Tools for Small Batch Cinnamon Sugar Apple Bread

Wilton Mini Loaf Pan

I’m having a grand time with these mini loaf pans. They allow me to make “half-size recipes” without a lot of leftovers. And I don’t have to worry about having bread or cake going stale before I can finish it.  Just take a recipe for a single loaf of bread, divide the dough in half, and you have two mini-breads.  Perfect!

More Quick Bread and Fruit Dessert Recipes

cinnamon sugar bananasCinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

A five-minute dessert that’s a real treat. Think streamlined Bananas Foster.  Great alone, or topped with ice cream.

 

easy one serving apple crisp recipeEasy One Serving Apple Crisp Recipe

You only need a single bowl to make this simple apple crisp.  It’s warm, spicy, sweet, and made with oatmeal. That makes it healthy. Right?

 

chocolate banana breadMini Chocolate Banana Bread

Plain banana bread is good. This is even better. It’s packed with rich, chocolatey goodness that takes ordinary banana bread to the next level.  Or, go all out and add chips too.

 

caramelized pineapple chunksCaramelized Pineapple Chunks for One Person

Cooking pineapple deepens the flavor and brings out the sweetness. Add chopped nuts for crunch. Dessert in minutes.

 




Peach Crumble Recipe for One

The peaches are particularly good this summer, so I’ve been buying them like a crazy woman. They’re so good, even my dad (who didn’t like peaches) was gobbling them down. Then, of course, I have to figure out what to do with them all! Some get eaten fresh (with lots of napkins). A few more went for chicken with peaches and basil. The rest get turned into this peach crumble recipe.

Traditionally, the difference between cobbler, crumble, and crisp was the topping.  Fruit cobblers had a biscuity topping (using an 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.




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)

Tools and Ingredients for Peach Crumble

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

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.

More Dessert Recipes for One

Easy One Serving Apple Crisp Recipe

Pear Crepe Recipe for One

Small Batch Brownies with Cocoa Powder

Cinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

 




One Ingredient Juice Popsicles

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.

Yech.

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.




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.

 

Tovolo Groovy Popsicle Molds

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!

Zuko Quick Juice Pop Maker

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)

 

More Dessert Recipes

Strawberry Banana Yogurt Popsicles

Kitchenaid Ice Cream Attachment Recipes

Banana Smoothie Recipe for One

Cinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy




Greek Yogurt Coffee Cake Recipe for One

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.

Tools and Ingredients for Greek Yogurt Coffee Cake


Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 5/8-Quart Butter Warmer

This mini saucepan is great for melting butter, making a single cup of cocoa, or for filling in (in a pinch) when you’ve broken your French coffee press again (oy!).

 

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

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

Easy Pear Crepe Dessert Recipe for One Person

Small Batch Brownies with Cocoa Powder

Cinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy




Small Batch Brownies with Cocoa Powder

There’s nothing like a fresh batch of warm, slightly gooey brownies to make a cold day seem more cheerful. The trouble is that most recipes make dozens of brownies, which is way too much! This recipe is for a small batch of brownies, made with cocoa powder. So, you don’t even have to go out and buy baking chocolate or special ingredients.

I made it in my new favorite little baking dish (it’s about 6.5 inches square, instead of 8 or 10, so it’s perfect for baking small batches).

The other great thing about this recipe is that you only need one bowl to make it. Just put everything in the bowl, mix it all up, pour it in the dish, and bake.

I don’t know where the original recipe came from, but I did cut down the sugar a bit and change the sugar it used. As written, it called for all brown sugar. It also said to use an entire cup of sugar. I thought that was a bit much for a small portion, and I also thought that all brown sugar would be too sweet. I used half granulated sugar and half brown sugar, and reduced the total to 2/3 C (1/3 C each kind of sugar).

I still think that’s a bit sweet, so I may reduce it to 1/4C of each the next time. However, since I know I tend to like less sugar than many other people, I’ll leave the larger amount here in the recipe.





Tools and Ingredients for Small Batch Brownies with Cocoa Powder


First, you’ll need a small baking pan. Since this is a small-batch recipe, using a large one will likely cause the brownies to get overcooked and burn. It’s not just for brownies though. Use it for a small lasagna, for quiche, or to bake a small coffee cake.

The next important thing is the cocoa. Use a high quality brand, such as Cadbury or Droste if you can.


Cadbury Bournville Cocoa
This is what I used to make my brownies. It’s dark, rich, and delicious (makes great hot cocoa too). It is a bit pricey, but it lasts forever so long as you keep it in a cool, dark place, away from anything damp.


Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 8-oz. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract

For this, or any other recipe that calls for it, make sure to use genuine vanilla. Not “vanilla flavored,” but the real thing. The artificial stuff is made from wood! It’s a large bottle, and since you don’t use much vanilla in most recipes, it should last a long time.

More Dessert Recipes

easy chocolate mousseEasy Chocolate Mousse

The absolute easiest mousse recipe I’ve ever seen. It’s got only five ingredients and there’s no need to separate eggs, use a double boiler or do anything else that’s difficult.

 

pear dessert crepePear Crepes

These crepes have a secret. They’re not really crepes at all. They’re something else entirely that works just as well and is a whole lot simpler to cook with.

 

cinnamon sugar bananasCinnamon Sugar Bananas

A super-easy dessert with some bananas, some warm seasonings, and a splash of brandy. Only takes a few minutes to make.

 

greek yogurt chocolate cakeGreek Yogurt Chocolate Cake

Is this decadent? Why yes it is. Sort of. There are three kinds of chocolate, it’s true. But, there’s also yogurt. And that’s healthy. So there.

 




Easy Pear Crepe Dessert Recipe for One Person

This easy pear crepe dessert recipe is ready in just a few minutes, without a lot of fuss and bother.  It’s nearly winter, the temperatures are dropping, and it’s the perfect time for a holiday treat.

The pears were still fresh at the greenmarket, so I pounced.

You’re probably wondering how the words “crepe” and easy go together. After all, crepes are a bit of a pain to make from scratch. It takes a bit of work to get going (even if you’re accustomed to it) and it’s not really practical to make just one.

The secret is that I didn’t use a standard crepe recipe, or even a crepe recipe at all.  I used a very thin, whole wheat tortilla instead.  That meant I could cook it quickly, and didn’t have to worry about extra crepes lying around.

The rest of the tortillas will be used for another day’s dessert, for wraps, and turkey enchiladas (next week’s recipe). And, since the tortilla is sturdier than a real crepe, it holds together better, and I can fill it with more pear! I haven’t tried it yet, but it might also work well with bananas.




Single Serving Pear Crepe Dessert Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • try pear brandy instead of standard brandy
  • serve topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • add a pinch of ginger to the cinnamon/pear/sugar mixture
  • drizzle the crepe with chocolate syrup

Tools and Ingredients for this Pear Crepe Dessert Recipe

oxo kitchen tongsoxo kitchen tongsKitchen tongs

These tongs are great for flipping tortillas, turning steaks, or transferring chicken or fish cutlets from pan to plates. They lock in place when you put them away, so they won’t take up lots of space in your drawer or gadget holder.

 

cuisinart skillet
Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 8-Inch Skillet

This is a classic, simple frying pan that’s just the right size for tortillas, a couple of fried eggs, fajitas, or vegetables. It’s not non-stick, but I found that my non-stick pans started peeling (!) and and didn’t hold up so I got rid of them. This is better. Turn the flame on, heat the pan, add the oil or butter, and then add your food. You can even put it in the oven (just don’t broil it).

Check out these Single Serving and Small Batch Dessert Recipes

Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream

Cinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

Small Batch Brownies with Cocoa Powder




Easy Chocolate Mousse

I started making this easy chocolate mousse recipe when I was 14 or so. It’s now (cough, ahem, mumble) years later, and I’m still doing it.
The original recipe came from Seventeen magazine. It was so easy that I made it for my friends (even hosted a party) and served it to my parents.

This is still remembered today as the infamous, “Jodi, you make dinner tonight episode:” all my favorites — fettucine alfredo and chocolate mousse. 

I’ve now learned to make much more complicated desserts (chocolate and otherwise), but this easy recipe is still a big favorite.

The recipe is so easy, a kid can make it. You don’t have to separate eggs, or follow lots of complicated instructions. There are only 5 ingredients: a chocolate bar, heavy cream, water, vanilla, and an egg.

If you can boil water, you can make this chocolate mousse. The only tools you need are a blender, a measuring cup, a measuring spoon, and a spatula.

This page (which was originally on Squidoo) has the original recipe, along with several delicious variations. Scroll down to find the one you want.




Easy Chocolate Mousse Substitutions and Variations

  • Use a dark chocolate bar (like 70%) for an extra chocolate boost.
  • Freeze the mousse. It comes out like chocolate fudge ice cream.
  • Add raspberries or strawberries on top. If you freeze those too, they get even sweeter.
  • Garnish with shaved chocolate or chocolate sprinkles.
  • Serve layered in parfait glasses with whipped cream in-between.
  • Make it with coffee instead of water.
  • A splash of Kahlua or Amaretto might be fun too!

Get the Right Ingredients


Green & Black’s 70% Organic Chocolate Bars

Make your mousse extra special with Green & Black’s extra dark chocolate. It’s smooth, intense, and super-chocolatey. Use it in this recipe, or just eat one or two squares right out of the package. And, all that dark chocolate is actually good for you.


Nielsen-Massey Vanillas 8-oz. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract

This vanilla from Nielsen-Massey is real vanilla. It costs more than standard vanilla because the plants are pollinated by hand. It takes 9 months for the beans to mature. After that, the beans must be immersed in an alcohol solution to eventually produce vanilla extract.

The fake stuff is cheaper. Want to know why? It’s because it’s made by soaking wood in alcohol. Who wants to eat wood?

More Chocolate Dessert Recipes

Small Batch Brownies with Cocoa Powder

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Cake

Single Serving Double Dark Chocolate Pudding Recipe

 




Cinnamon Sugar Bananas with Brandy

I first saw a cinnamon sugar banana recipe similar to this being passed around on Pinterest.  My initial thought was that the combination sounded delicious.

When I took a closer look, it had bananas, cinnamon, sugar, and olive oil spray?! Huh? Sorry, but they lost me there.  However the rest of it sounded good, so I decided to put my own spin on it.

First thing I did was to ditch the olive oil spray and replace it with butter.  I didn’t use a lot, only one teaspoon.  Next I thought a bit of brandy would add flavor and punch, and since I had a tiny bit left I added that too.

I usually buy a bottle of inexpensive brandy for this sort of thing, no sense using something expensive if it’s not necessary. On the other hand, if all you have is top shelf liquor, you won’t need much, so you don’t have to feel guilty about it.  And, it will likely taste even better.

So, a little butter, some cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, the banana, brandy, and just a touch of sugar and I had a delicious, easy dessert for one.

It was so good, I wanted to eat it again!

 




Cinnamon Sugar Bananas Variations

  • top your bananas with a scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • use dark rum instead of brandy
  • drizzle the bananas with a bit of chocolate syrup

More Dessert Recipes

Easy Pear Crepe Dessert Recipe for One Person

Greek Yogurt Coffee Cake Recipe for One

Small Batch Brownies with Cocoa Powder

Easy Chocolate Mousse

 




The World’s Best Cheesecake Recipe

The Best Cheesecake Recipe

My mom got this recipe for New York cheesecake from a family friend in the cream cheese business. It’s a home kitchen version of the original Lindy’s cheesecake – which has been a New York institution since 1921.

In fact, Lindy’s (along with Junior’s) made New York cheesecake famous. It’s got sour cream, cream cheese, and heavy cream, so it’s very rich and very creamy. Everyone who has tried it (friends, family, co-workers) says it’s the best cheesecake they ever had! When my brother got married, this recipe was the first one his wife asked for.

A few years ago, when I was visiting my friend Betsy, she served me cheesecake for breakfast. It was the best breakfast ever!

I had originally posted this recipe on Squidoo, but now that Squidoo is gone and I have my own blog, I have republished it here.




Use a Kitchenaid Mixer!

This cheesecake is thick and rich. You’ll need a Kitchenaid mixer or other powerful mixer to make it. A low-powered or hand-held mixer won’t work.

KitchenAid Five Quart Stand Mixer 

The reason this mixer works so well is because it has dual spinning action (planetary motion), which means it spins both on the beater’s axis, and around the bowl.  That means it mixes faster and you get more mixing power than ordinary mixers.  You also don’t have to keep scraping down the sides of the bowl. You spend less time mixing and more time enjoying your cheesecake.

Some poor fellow tried to make this recipe by hand. It took him two days to mix it! I bet his arm was awfully sore.

If you don’t already have one, you’ll need a springform pan. This one, by Calphalon,  is perfect for cheesecake. It’s extra thick to distribute heat evenly, so your cheesecake will cook properly. The fluted base means it won’t leak. Makes cooking cheesecake easy (and a lot less messy).

Best Cheesecake Recipe Toppings

You can eat your cheesecake plain, garnish it with fresh berries, or go all out and make a topping.

Blueberry Cheesecake Topping

1/2 C sugar
3 T cornstarch
1 pint fresh blueberries (or use frozen)
2 T lemon juice
1 T butter.
Combine everything except the butter in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it gets thick. Add the butter and let cool.

Raspberry Topping

2 C raspberries
1 C sugar
1 T cornstarch
Combine berries, sugar, and some water. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes. In a separate, small bowl, mix the cornstarch and a little water. Add to the berry mixture. Cook, stirring, for five minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

Temperature control is critical when baking cheesecake. Too high, and your cake will be hard and dry, more likely to weep (pull out all the moisture) or crack; too low and it will fall apart. Get this thermometer to check your oven and make sure your cheesecake comes out perfect!

Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake Topping

1 C heavy cream
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
Melt chocolate and cream over very low heat (or use a double boiler). Stir constantly until smooth and thick. Pour it over a chilled cheesecake. Spread quickly before it hardens. Once the cake is covered with chocolate, return to the fridge to set. Keep any leftover ganache in the refrigerator, covered. If you want to reuse it, reheat it gently.

Strawberry Topping

1 pint strawberries
1/3 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Chop the strawberries. Set aside about 1/3. Add the remaining berries to a saucepan with the sugar and vanilla. Cook over medium high heat. Stir occasionally, until it thickens. Puree the mixture with an immersion blender (or use a regular blender). Then add the uncooked berries, and serve over your cake.




(Topping recipes adapted from Baking 911)

Cheesecake Baking Tips

Keep the oven door closed and it shouldn’t crack.
Cheesecake keeps well in the fridge and freezer.
Make it ahead and defrost when you need it.

 A Note on Measurements

For anyone confused about the measurements (why 1/2 pint instead of 1 cup), it’s because pints and cups are different depending on whether it’s a liquid or solid volume of measure (yeah, it’s confusing), so a half pint of sour cream is not the same quantity as a 1/2 pint of heavy cream.

It’s also easier to measure that way, since the heavy cream comes in half pints and the sour cream comes in pints (just pour the entire container of cream, or half the container of sour cream, into the mixture).

If you don’t have sour cream where you live, you can use crema salvadorena instead.

Cheesecake Cookbooks


Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook: 50 To-Die-For Recipes of New York-Style Cheesecake

After Lindy’s, there’s Junior’s, born in Brooklyn, and now famous worldwide. This cookbook has recipes for all of Junior’s best-selling varieties, from Strawberry Swirl to Cappuccino to Peanut Butter and Jelly!


125 Best Cheesecake Recipes

Become the king or queen of cheesecake with the recipes from this book. One reader on Amazon said her cakes used to come out burned or grainy, but now, they’re perfect every time.


A Passion for Baking: Bake to celebrate, Bake to nourish, Bake for fun

Marcy Goldman’s book on everything from cheesecake to muffins and cookies. Who could resist a recipe with a name like Chocolate Eruption Cheesecake?

The Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book

This guide to all things baking tells you not only what to do, but why. For example, it explains how the temperature of your ingredients can affect the final result (particularly important in baking), and when to use different fats (oil, butter, shortening). Each step is easy to understand and follow, whether you’re a beginner or an expert.

More Ways to Use Your Kitchenaid

Kitchenaid Pasta Recipes

How to Use Your Kitchenaid Mixer and Attachments

Kitchenaid Bread Recipes

Kitchenaid Ice Cream Recipes