Dessert for One
I'm a single chowhound living alone, so I'm getting used to cooking multiple portions at a time and eating the same thing for a few days or freezing for later. The problem is dessert. I have a serious sweet tooth, and I love to bake. Baking was my entree into the cooking world, and it relaxes me in a way that nothing else does. The problem is what to do with the proceeds, now that I no longer live in a house of seven. If I make, for example, a pumpkin cheesecake, it will either go bad before I finish it or I will eat the whole thing in a few days, which is not good for my girlish figure. So I'm looking for ideas for desserts that can be easily divided into single portions and frozen, either before or after baking. Help!
I use custard cups to bake smaller servings, rather than a large cake or pudding. The hardest things about most recipes is dividing an egg. I cannot abide throwing out half an egg. If you can find a supply of peewee eggs, they are exactly one half the size of a large egg. (I also use peewee eggs for devilled eggs. They're a perfect small mouthful)
I love baked fruit desserts, such as apple crisp. It's easy enough to make in ramekin or custard cups, single or two servings, using an apple, a peach, frozen fruit, or, using a lunchbox sized containers of fruit. It's fast and easy.
Going along with the baked fruit deserts suggestion. I like to make a whole recipe of crumble topping (oats, flour, brown sugar and butter) and freeze it in a ziploc. It stays crumbly in the freezer, so there is no need to thaw for each use. Slice up an apple or a pear, or a few stalks of rhubarb... toss with a tsp of sugar and lemon juice (&corn starch if you like it thicker) and scoop 1/4 cup of frozen crumble on top. Bake in a ramekin for 20 minutes and voila yummy solo crumble!
There's a cookbook called Small Batch Baking, by Debby Maugans Nakos (not sure I have her name right, though.) Look for it at your library and see if it'd suit your needs. I didn't find her recommendation of using cans for baking little cakes practical, but found small diameter pans at Walmart, of all places. I do think her cupcakes recipes leave a little to desire in texture, but that's nitpicking. Other than that, every recipe I've made from that book is good. It was handy when I lived alone but like you didn't want to give up baking. Be careful, though, as some of her recipes are quite caloric!
BTW, a sample from the cookbook I just mentioned, since you used pumpkin cheesecake as an example:
Pumpkin Maple Cheesecakes (makes 2 small cheesecakes)
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup shortbread cookie crumbs
1 tbsp granulated sugar
5 tsp unsalted butter, melted
Blend all the ingredients in a food processor (10 sec). Shape the crusts in 2 greased 4" tart pans. Bake them at 350* for 7-9 min until browned, and cool.
4 oz cream cheese, room temp
1/4 firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
5 tsp well-beaten egg or Egg Beaters
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
Beat together the cream cheese and sugar. Blend in the pumpkin and other dry ingredients. Add the other wet ingredients at low speed until smooth (10-15 sec). Pour into tart shells. Bake until dry and browning (27 min in my oven). Let cool on a rack, and then chill at least 2 hrs.
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 maple syrup
Toasted pecan halves for garnish
Gently boil cream and syrup to thicken, and let cool. You know the rest of the drill: garnish the cheesecakes with sauce & toasted pecans. Just let the cheesecakes & sauce sit out for an hour to warm up before serving.
Shhh....it's a big secret. Bake whatever it is you want, take however much you want, then bring the rest into work. Your coworkers (and your boss) will thank you. It'll save your sanity & your figure. Plus you can enjoy for a couple days. Always a hit when I do it.
Good luck ;)
I, too live alone and have a big sweet tooth.
The frozen cookie dough idea is good of course. I think logs are easier/more space efficient than balls, though. And I've discovered that most kinds of dough (not just so-called "icebox" cookies) can tolerate the freezing perfectly fine.
I know that I, however, will simply keep slicing and baking if many portions are available. So, I've discovered the best cookbook ever: "Small-Batch Baking" by Debby Maugans Nakos! It has recipes for all types of cookies, bars, cakes & frostings, pies, muffins, breads, cobblers, and baked puddings, as well as special sections for Valentine's Day and Christmas treats. Most of the recipes serve 2 or 3, although a few make 4 servings. Regardless, it's much safer for the waistline!
Cookies, brownies, etc can all be frozen. Cookies can even be frozen as dough (already scooped into little dough balls) and then you can take one or two out and bake yourself up fresh baked cookies!
You could also make quick breads in mini loaf pans and freeze them. I've also frozen cakes.
As for cheesecake... bring it to the office!