Chef's Hat: Small batch sensations are perfect for small households

Whip up these Chewy Small Batch Brownies or Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent

Baking is therapeutic for a lot of people.

Mixing up eggs with sugar and then adding flour and chocolate chips can be a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

But for smaller households or solo cooks, the bountiful nature of baking can sometimes produce way too much in the way of tempting sweets.

While some recipes are easy to manipulate to decrease the size of a batch of baked goods, there are some recipes that are much more challenging than just cutting the ingredients by half.

After all, baking is not an art, but a science. Baking revolves around chemical solutions to create the finished baked good.


Baking requires various ingredients, such as flour, sugar and fat, to work together in specific ratios to create the air bubbles, rising properties and binding agents to turn out a successful batch of cookies, muffins or other sweet treats.

Generally, the ingredients called for in baking include:

  • Flour: This gives the baked good its structure.
  • Eggs: These bind the various ingredients — flour, sugar and fat — together. They also contribute to making the final product soft and moist.
  • Fat: This is a softening ingredient. It also acts as a leavening agent when creamed with sugar, helping to support the air bubbles that are created that cause rise in the final baked good.
  • Bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda): This magic powder creates carbon dioxide bubbles that get trapped in the mix and help it to rise.
  • Sugar: Of course, sugar adds sweetness, but it also keeps baked goods moist by bonding with the moisture in the batter.

At times it is easy to just cut a recipe by half. The following are some easy-to-use measurements when cutting a recipe in half:

  • 1/4 cup: 2 tablespoons
  • 3/4 cup: 6 tablespoons
  • 1/3 cup: 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
  • 1 tablespoon: 1 1/2 teaspoons

But sometimes just cutting the amount of an ingredient, such as an egg, is not a practical way to make a smaller batch of a baked good. So that’s when it is nice to start with a basic, scaled down recipe.

The Chewy Brownie recipe is somewhat different as it does not call for baking soda. Without this ingredient, the brownies end up with a moist and chewy texture.

The trick to this recipe is to let it cool completely before removing the brownies from the pan. These moist, chewy brownies also make an ideal base for an ice cream sundae.

If you are craving chocolate chip cookies, this small batch recipe will make 6 to 8 cookies. Perfect for a midnight snack.

Besides being perfect for one or two people, these small batch recipes come together quickly and require a minimum of bowls, pans and utensils to prepare.


Got a few minutes and a craving for chocolate? Whip up a batch of cookies or brownies and your hunger will be satisfied. Happy Eating!

Chewy Small Batch Brownies

Photo illustration /

  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (any variety)

Line an 8x4 or 9x5 loaf baking pan with parchment paper. Make sure to leave an inch or two over the sides of the pan so the brownies can be easily removed.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it in the microwave until it is melted. Add both the granulated and brown sugars to the mix and stir until well blended. Whisk in the egg and vanilla extract.

Add the flour and mix well. Add the cocoa powder and salt, and mix just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the parchment-lined pan, spreading it around to make an even layer. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 26 to 40 minutes. The top of the brownies will be covered with cracks. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out with just a few wet crumbs on it, but it should not be covered in batter or completely clean.

Let the brownies cool for 15 minutes. Cover the pan with foil and let the brownies cool for several hours or overnight.


Remove the brownies from the pan by lifting the parchment paper and placing the brownies on a cutting board or plate. Slice into 6 to 8 brownies.

To make a Brownie Caramel Sundae, place a brownie on a plate or in a bowl. Top the brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, then drizzle caramel topping over the top.

Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Photo illustration /

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (any variety)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pace the butter in a medium sized microwave safe bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat for about 30 seconds, just until the butter is melted. Remove the bowl from the microwave.

Add the sugars to the butter and stir until well mixed. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and mix well.

Add the baking soda and mix well. Fold in the flour and salt and stir until all ingredients are well combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir just to combine the chips into the mix.

Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Use a spoon to drop the batter onto the cookie sheet. This will make 6 to 8 cookies, depending on the size.

Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, just until the cookies are lightly browned. Don’t overbake. Remove the sheet from the oven and let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for an additional 5 minutes.


Remove the cookies from the sheet and place them on a plate to cool.

Donna Evans is an Echo Journal correspondent.

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