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Small Batch Baking

Small Batch BakingEven 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.

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  • Jen
    February 9, 2009

    That sounds fantastic! I love to bake, but also need to watch what I eat. I think I will pick that up this week and make something for the hubby for Valentines Day!

    Thanks for all of the great tips – I really enjoy reading your blog!

  • pxilated
    February 9, 2009

    I have this book. I’ve made recipes from each of the categories – cakes, cookies, muffins, etc and everything has turned out well.
    While baking time can be reduced (for cookies – because of lack of batches, but two muffins bake just as long as 12), prep time is basically the same as if you were to make a full batch, as is clean-up. That’s not something that I thought about when I was getting started. Sometimes after all the work of prep, it’s disappointing to just end up with 3 cookies.
    I would still recommend the book, and have and continue to bake from it occasionally, but that’s something to be aware of.

  • Leigh Ann
    February 9, 2009

    I have this book as well. While I do like the cute factor, the egg measurements are pretty ridiculous. For example: 2 1/4 tsp of an egg. What??? Have you ever tried to measure 1/4 tsp of an egg? Or one teaspoon for that matter? It doesn’t exactly work.I can halve an egg, sure, but beyond that it gets incredibly imprecise. I haven’t had a problem with anything I’ve made, I just wish she’d rounded up to 1/2 an egg or something for simplicity’s sake, if the amount of egg doesn’t have to be spot-on.

  • Jessica
    February 9, 2009

    I also have this book and I’ve enjoyed using it. The egg thing can be a little frustrating but I’ve found two methods that work – either buy egg substitute or beat the egg in a small cup and then pour the amount you need into your measuring spoons. That works much better than trying to dip the spoon into the egg. While you can bake in cans, everyone should be aware that almost all cans are lined with a plastic containing BPA which should never be used when heating food. (See this link for more on BPA and cans http://www.emagazine.com/view/?4245&printview) A great alternative to baking in cans is to buy miniature cake pans. Wilton makes a set of three tiny cake pans that are perfect for the cake recipes in the Small Batch book. Just divide the batter equally among the three pans and you will have a perfect little three layer cake. You can get the Wilton miniature cake pans at craft stores like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.

  • Linda
    February 9, 2009

    There are also egg replacement products that are a dry product so there is less need to use up the carton or freeze anything. With such a small amount the egg replacement is a great alternative. You can also check the web for products that do the same thing as the egg in a recipe. I tried one recipe and I have to admit it does take the same amount of work and you do have to really watch measuring the amounts are so tiny. Having said that I do think it is a great book and I would do as Jessica and bake in small cake pans rather than the cans for safety. They are very inexpensive and easy to use. I felt like I was making Easy Bake recipes for a light-bulb oven but I would see the small portions as a great thing for people trying to eat well and less. And for people who don’t like to bake and have the necessary cake pans and gadgets for larger measuring–it would be a good option too.

  • Anonymous
    February 10, 2009

    ummmm i have this book for a while now, and have tried a lot of the recipes. They always seem to turn up a little on the dry side, and some were not very flavorful. However this book is useful if you’re in a pinch, and need to whip something up, but dont wanna waste ingredients. I suggest to play around a little with the measurements.

  • Nindi
    February 10, 2009

    silly me i forgot to put my name in.

  • John Macossay
    April 19, 2009

    I just got this book and tried out two recipes.
    The shortcakes in strawberry shortcake recipe came out poorly, possibly because it omits the butter that is included in the book’s other shortcake recipes. The Chocolate Birthday Cake recipe forgot to include the buttermilk in the list of ingredients, so you don’t know how much is required. (This is also the basis for the red velvet cake) So far, score is 0 for 2.

  • Gardening
    June 13, 2009

    Hi. I read a few of your other posts and wanted to know if you would be interested in exchanging blogroll links?

  • 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

  • furr
    October 6, 2010

    Egg beaters or other liquid substitute come in pour and seal containers. Will work measure for measure in weird egg measurements. A bonus is it kills your calories/fat content and raises protein.

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