Even though I don’t have any problems giving away a few dozen cookies when I have extra, there are times when you simply don’t need (or want) a huge batch of cookies or a full-sized layer cake. This is especially true if you have a small household and it takes you a while to get through all those treats. Enter Small Batch Baking. This cookbook is one of the few that is dedicated to small portions of baked goods, while most cookbooks in the cooking-for-two genre focus on cooking, not baking. Baked goods can be difficult to scale down. While most recipes can be halved, there is a point where it’s tough to reduce a recipe further. Can you really only use half or a quarter of an egg? Was any math off? Will the recipe still turn out right?
Small Batch Baking has already been through all the testing to make these recipes successful. It includes tiny layer cakes, miniature tarts that will serve one or two, and cookie recipes that make four, instead of four dozen. The other chapters include cobblers and crisps, puddings, muffins and quick breads, and holiday specific recipes. Speaking of holidays for a moment, this book is great for is special occasions – Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, etc. – when you are more likely to need a special dessert just for two, whether it comes from the holiday chapters or not.
The recipes are very detailed and easy to follow. It’s important to measure precisely, because the quantities are so small there isn’t too much room for error. The results are well worth it and once you get used to measuring flour in tablespoons instead of cups, the process goes very quickly. For some of the recipes, special sizes of baking equipment are recommended, such as mini loaf pans. It seems like a hassle to add to an existing collection, but when you’re baking in small quantities it only makes sense that you need to scale down the equipment. Fortunately, mini loaf pans and small cake pans are available in lots of craft and baking stores, and are not expensive. Other recipes in the book use standard muffin cups, cans (yes, you can bake in cans!) or just plain old baking sheets, so you definitely don’t need anything special to get started. The variety in the book – and the fact that you don’t have to work through heaps of cookies from the first batch – will keep you coming back for more.