175 Best Small-Batch Baking Recipes
Treats for 1 or 2
Cookbook by: Jill Snider
Review by Adrianne Morrison & Linda Kissam
The right cookbook for the right time—think Tiny House movement—think Empty Nesting—think Downsizing! 175 Best Small-Batch Baking Recipes by Jill Snider certainly fits this trend. We expect we’ll see even more recipes re-thought and tested for 1 – 2 servings so we can enjoy just a few great meals. In this case it’s desserts, but you get the idea.
Author Jill Snider has 25 years behind her as the test kitchen manager for a major flour maker. She knows that downsizing a standard recipe doesn’t always work—think half an egg—so in her new cookbook, Jill gives us recipes that are “Just my size.” Plus, the idea of making just a few (8 cookies, 2 tarts, or 1 6-inch pie) means we’ll have just enough to enjoy fresh and not be tempted to overindulge—definitely appealing.
Most of the recipes can be mixed by hand, using a whisk or wooden spoon rather than an electric mixer. The recipes allow everyone to enjoy their favorite treats with the risk of tempting leftovers or storage concerns.
We feel photos are especially helpful for beginners, so we recommend this cookbook to those who have some baking experience and generally don’t have any food restrictions. Hint to novice bakers: Rather than jump straight to the recipe, take time to review the initial cookbook pages which present the basic tools, pantry ingredients, and tips for successful baking. Makes a great shower or wedding gift or a nice college dorm sendoff present. Also appropriate for newly single people and empty nesters.
Now we don’t have to wait until our next party or holiday to bake. This cookbook offers a collection of recipes for most anything we can think of in the desserts category: Cookies, Bars & Squares, Quick Breads, Cakes, Mini Pies & Tarts, Spoonable Desserts plus 5 gluten-free deserts.
As we’ve come to appreciate from Robert Rose cookbooks, these recipes include helpful tips and storage instructions plus recipe variation ideas. But, there are a limited number of photos to visually guide us to the look of our finished product. Pictures offer a check-point to gauge if what we’ve made resembles the outcome the author envisioned.
The one thing I’m left wondering is, “Can we up size these recipes x2 or x3 and get the same quality result?” It would be interesting to learn the author’s advice. My thought is our best chance for optimum baking success is to select recipes specifically created and tested for the batch size that best meets our need. I’m grateful to see more recipes being specifically created for 1 – 2 since traditional recipes are created to serve 4 or more.
Cooking for two has been an interesting challenge for me in the empty nest season of life. We eat lighter, healthier and simpler now. In fact, without all of the chaos of having to adjust mealtimes to a teenager’s crazy schedule and changing eating habits, I actually find cooking kind of fun again.
I remember when I headed to the grocery store for the first time after our nest emptied, I was amazed at not only how low my total bill was at check out, but also at how quickly I got out of there. It was one of the very first “ah ha” moments that reminded me times where a’ changing.
Still, even with the freedom of cooking less, I find myself avoiding baking because there aren’t enough people in my home to help eat it. It just seems a waste of good ingredients, time and effort to make something that sits staring at me for a week without takers. I’ve tried the usual… giving away extra to neighbors, the FedEx guy and coworkers. Unfortunately, I found you can only do that so much until they start declining on the grounds of weight game and mounting blood sugar levels. But then came the solution, a book that shares how to bake for 1-2 people. 175 Best Small-Batch Baking Recipes by Jill Snider has scaled down favorite baking recipes so I won’t be stuck with leftovers. Can I get a hallelujah?
Start simple. Don’t dive into anything too extensive. Start with the Chocolate Carmel Shortbread. Five ingredients and four steps will serve you well. In general, if there are under six ingredients, chances are it’s probably going to be a pretty simple recipe. It doesn’t have to be a major masterpiece. Make something really simple and delicious without much effort. In the 256 pages and 24 color photographs I guarantee you will find a recipe that will inspire you to bake.
Give this book a try via this tasty recipe found on page 104.
This soft, creamy frosting is a perfect match for a moist coconut filling and graham wafer crust.
Makes 8 squares
- Preparation: 20 minutes
- Baking: 37 minutes
- Cooling: 40 minutes
- Freezing: excellent
Half a 10-ounce (300 mL) can of sweetened condensed milk is about 2/3 cup (150 mL). The crust is fragile, so be careful when spreading filling over it. Drop the filling by teaspoonfuls (5 mL) evenly over the surface, then spread where needed.
Squares will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or can be frozen for up to 3 months (separate layers with waxed paper). Thaw and bring to room temperature before serving.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
- 9- by 5-inch (23 by 12.5 cm) loaf pan, greased and lined with parchment paper
3⁄4 cup graham wafer crumbs 175 mL
2 tbsp packed brown sugar 30 mL
11⁄2 tbsp all-purpose flour 22 mL
1⁄4 cup butter, melted 60 mL
2⁄3 cup sweetened condensed milk 150 mL (see Tips)
1 cup sweetened medium coconut 250 mL
1⁄4 cup butter, softened 60 mL
1 cup confectioners’ (icing) sugar, sifted 250 mL
1 tsp milk 5 mL
1 to 2 drops red food coloring 1 to 2
- Crust: In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, stir together graham wafer crumbs, brown sugar, flour and melted butter, mixing until all ingredients are moistened. Press mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 9 to 12 minutes or until firm. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
- Filling: In a medium bowl, stir together condensed milk and coconut until thoroughly moistened. Spread evenly over crust (see Tips, left).
- Return to oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer or until light golden.
Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
- Frosting: In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, beat butter until smooth. In alternating batches, gradually add confectioners’ sugar and milk, stirring until smooth and spreadable. Stir in coloring to make a pretty pink frosting. Spread evenly over filling. Refrigerate until frosting is firm, about 30 minutes. Remove from pan, using parchment liner. Cut into squares.
175 Best Small-Batch Baking Recipes: Where to Purchase?
Want to purchase this cookbook for yourself , friend or someone in your family? You can buy 175 Best Small-Batch Baking Recipes on Amazon.com for only $24.94.
Recipe Courtesy of 175 Best Small-Batch Baking Recipes by Jill Snider © 2017 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold. Images by: Colin Erricson.