I usually look for recipes that make a single layer, or I cut the recipe in half, which isn't all that much fun when it uses 3 eggs. So, when a publisher offered me a copy of 175 Best Small-Batch Baking Recipes, I knew I had to try it.
Cake for one or two? Count me in. Don't worry, neighbors ... I'll still have plenty of goodies for you!
The first recipe I decided to try was for brownies. I love brownies, and they have the distinct advantage over other baked goods in that I like them when they're chilled, unlike many cakes that are best at room temperature. Storing them in the fridge gives them a longer life, so I can take my time eating them.
I was quite pleased to see that I had six different brownie recipes to choose from, including a white chocolate brownie with cranberries and hazelnuts. I chose a somewhat classic recipe that had nuts. It called for walnuts - which is pretty typical - but I used macadamia nuts, since I recently got some from a friend in Hawaii.
It's good to have friends.
The recipe I chose made brownies that were a bit soft and cake-like and also a bit fudgy, but I think they would be more dense at sea level.
These don't include any leavening except the air beaten into the batter when the eggs are whisked, and that sort of whipped-in air tends to expand more up here in the mountains than it would where most people live.
The recipe was easy to make - I didn't even need a hand mixer. The ingredients all include metric measurements as well as US, so you can use whichever you prefer, and it also makes it easier if you prefer to weigh your dry ingredients rather than measure.
The recipe includes frosting, but I didn't make that. I prefer my brownies unadorned.
Chocolate Walnut Brownies
Adapted from 175 Best Small-Batch Baking Recipes by Jill Snider
2 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I used macadamia nuts)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper (I made a sling that covered the bottom and long sides) and spray with baking spray.
Put the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat on medium heat in 30-second increments, stirring after each heating, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until light and frothy (they might be easier to whisk in a larger bowl, but a medium bowl is all you need to hold the ingredients). Gradually add the sugar while whisking, until the mixture is thick. Whisk in the chocolate mixture and vanilla. Add the flour and walnuts and stir them in.
Bake in the preheated oven at 350 degrees until just set, about 20-25 minutes (mine took a bit longer). Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing using the sling.