Small-Batch Baking

Small-Batch Baking

4.0 10
by Debby Maugans Nakos, Laurie LaFrance

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Why be stuck baking two dozen cookies when you want only six? A tart for twelve when it's just the two of you? Or, to satisfy a craving, a huge batch of brownies, most of which will still be there to tempt you-and make you feel guilty-the next day?

Mixing creativity with ingenuity, Debby Maugans Nakos shows how to make desserts and breads that yield a sensible yet

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Why be stuck baking two dozen cookies when you want only six? A tart for twelve when it's just the two of you? Or, to satisfy a craving, a huge batch of brownies, most of which will still be there to tempt you-and make you feel guilty-the next day?

Mixing creativity with ingenuity, Debby Maugans Nakos shows how to make desserts and breads that yield a sensible yet spectacularly delicious one or two servings: Double Hot Chocolate Souffle; Brandy Caramel Pumpkin Pie; Rosemary Focaccia; Cherry Macadamia Bars. Each mini masterpiece has that distinct "from scratch" hallmark: a pie's tender flake, the moist crumb of a layer cake, a biscuit's deep, buttery richness, the satisfying chew of a rustic bread.

A short primer introduces Small-Batch techniques and tips, such as baking with medium eggs; recycling 14- and 15-ounce cans to use as layer-cake pans; picking up a jumbo muffin tin because it's perfect for deep-dish fruit pies and single-serving upside-down cakes; how to measure small but precise amounts of chocolate, flour, yeast, cornmeal.

But for the most part, Small-Batch baking is just regular baking made easier for the smaller household. There's less to prepare, fewer bowls, no need to drag out the heavy-duty mixer, shorter baking and cooling times, and no leftovers to worry about. And nothing is sacrificed-not flavor, not texture, and certainly not variety.

Layer cakes, popovers, sweet rolls, honey buns, scones, focaccia, tea breads, cream puffs, souffles, tortes and tarts, crostatas, brownies, cobblers, mud pies, muffins, charlottes, sabayons, buckles, cookies, bars, cheesecakes, mousses, bread puddings-more than 225 recipes cover the gamut, sweet and savory. One whole chapter is devoted to Valentine's Day-start with Baked Raspberry Almond French Toast for breakfast in bed, and end with Apricot Meringue Cookie Tarts. Another chapter celebrates comforting puddings so sublime you may just want to curl up with one in place of supper. There are holiday treats, elegant desserts for an intimate dinner party, goodies for lazy mornings, after-school cookies, special-occasion cakes-it's all the pleasure of homemade, without the temptation to overindulge.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Even the most enthusiastic home bakers may admit there are times when they really only need a few muffins for breakfast or a couple of cream puffs for a dinner party-not a dozen or more of each. When standard recipes won't reduce neatly (how do you halve an egg, for example?), frustration ensues. Nakos, a Shape, Southern Living and Cooking Light contributor, takes more than 250 classic cakes, pies, cookies, cobblers, puddings and breads and downsizes their proportions to yield just the right number of goodies for small families, singles, newlyweds, empty-nesters or the leftovers-averse (do such people exist?). Nakos certainly is creative: she uses tin cans to bake two-layer coconut cakes and chocolate cakes, jumbo muffin tins for Peach Pie and Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, and small loaf pans for Moist Fudgy Brownies. Meanwhile, a full-size loaf pan turns out Mississippi Mud Cake or Gingerbread Roulade, and one regular baking sheet does the job for Cinnamon Hazelnut Biscotti. Small-batch baking as formulated by Nakos is liberating: with quick mixing, baking and clean-up times, the whole process of producing, say, eight Pecan Snowball Cookies for tea time, or two Honey Apple Oatmeal Crisps for a sweet breakfast, is less overwhelming. (Dec.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Food writer Nakos started baking in small batches so she wouldn't have to face the temptation of leftovers. Here she provides recipes for all sorts of diminutive desserts, from White Chocolate Layer Cakes to Petite Pear Tartes Tatins to miniature Sweet Potato Bundt Cakes. Her layer cakes are baked in soup cans, and her upside-down cakes in muffin tins; most recipes make two or three servings. While some of these desserts are quicker than their bigger versions, some take almost as long to prepare, so bakers with more self-control may prefer to stick to recipes that yield larger quantities. On the other hand, busy moms will certainly find the idea of small-batch cookies made from start to finish in minutes very appealing. And many dessert lovers will find these little sweets quite charming-who could resist the idea of her very own Chocolate Birthday Cake? For all baking collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.31(w) x 8.25(h) x 1.33(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"An excellent, crackerjack new book. Bring on the baby cakes."
—Marcel Desaulniers, author of Death by Chocolate

"Here's the perfect solution to dessert for you and that special someone."
—Holly Clegg, author of the Trim & Terrific cookbook series

"Small-batch desserts promise large-scale pleasures."
—Flo Braker, athor of The Simple Act of Perfect Baking

Meet the Author

Debby Maugans Nakos writes a monthly column for Birmingham Magazine and is former food editor of Creative Ideas for Living magazine. Her articles have also appeared in Bon Appétit and Food & Wine, and she developed the recipes for Fannie Flagg's popular Whistle Stop Café Cookbook. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her husband and two daughters, who draw straws to see who gets to taste test the small-batch recipes.

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Small-Batch Baking 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DCJenninTX More than 1 year ago
Ok- my mom makes the absolute best banana bread EVER. and she mails it to me and we can't eat it before it goes bad. Moldy banana bread is really horrible. I bought this when my husband deployed and it was just my son and I at home. It got quite a workout then and even once he came back. I love to make muffins for a quick breakfast but most recipes make 12. This cookbook takes all of the work out of making smaller amounts of baked goods. I can freeze stuff, sure but there's still nothing better than freshly baked 'stuff.' I've also found that her recipes are simple to prepare and are FAST. I'm now buying a copy for my mom. I think she'll enjoy not having to freeze half of everything she makes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BuyIt More than 1 year ago
Eating for two means shopping for two. In this economic climate, it's more important than ever to be a smart shopper and efficient cook. But -- and for exactly the same reason -- it's also more important than ever to give yourself the little rewards that help you cope. No one's going to give up delicious treats like these. Better to manage the portions and savor each bite. This book is full of delicious bites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book caught my eye at a BN I went to. Seeing as I love to bake, and finally had the nerve to start making things from scratch, I bought it, and just tried a few of the recipes. The cookies I made were kind of flat, but my apple crisp turned out wonderfully, and both were very delicious.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The recipes are great and just the right size for the two or three of us still at home.. I have done some cakes and several of the cookie recipes. Modified a recipe or two to meet our individual tastes with great results. I suggest better proof reading for the 2d edition. Found three mistakes in the intro and one major cut and paste problem in the Red Velvet Cake recipe.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I checked this book out of the library but had so many corners turned over that I had to buy it. What a joy! My husband and I get treated to individual cheesecakes, tarts and even layer cakes. I love the way she gives you ideas to accessorize your desserts with homemade sauces, fillings and various fruits. LOVE IT!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A GREAT book! The woman writes from her heart, that is clear in the introduction. A great book and organized very well. All the 'little pans' that her recipes call for can be found usually at the grocery store. I was able to obtain 2 Wilton 4' spring form pans, a set of 3 Wilton mini cake tins, and a set of 2 mini loaf pans all at Kroger (in GA).
Guest More than 1 year ago
I greatly enjoy this book, and I love the chocolate/espresso cake. the concept of making one or two servings of dessert is perfect. Enough for the occasion, but no leftovers! :) Easy to make, and even easier to eat! Great for singles and couples, for small dinners. Great fun, too. Thanks, Deby!