Author Debby Maugans toiled, tasted and tested to develop small-batch recipes for her 2004 book “Small-Batch Baking.” Her latest book, “Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers” uses the same method to create a collection of chocolate dessert recipes.
Although the concept of small batch baking is reminiscent of baking miniature desserts in an oven powered by a light bulb, the method is perfect for modern lifestyles. The science involved in baking usually makes it difficult to divide a standard recipe without a disappointing outcome. In “Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers”, Maugans shares more than a hundred delectable recipes–including cakes, cookies, scones, muffins and pies–ideal for singletons, small families or anyone who enjoys baking from scratch without being sidled with extra goodies.
Baking on a smaller scale is not difficult, but requires special consideration. Drawing on more than 25 years of experience as a food writer and stylist, Maugans outlines everything–including the importance of accurate measuring–and gives advice about tools and utensils. She recommends using a scale to measure chocolate since using measuring spoons can yield inconsistent results when measuring chopped chocolate. Miniature baking pans are widely available and affordable, but the author provides instructions for upcycling food cans to use as pans.
Baking sometimes suffers from a fussy reputation. In truth, baking does require careful measuring and more attention to detail than cooking, but it is not difficult. This book’s recipes include clear directions along with helpful tips, making it easy for anyone to try baking from scratch.
In the worst-case scenario, there is less waste and less clean up than with traditional recipes gone awry.
Cupcakes topped with a massive swirl of frosting hold a certain appeal, but are difficult to eat and hard to tote. Maungas’ mini cakes are a wonderful alternative. The little cakes appeal to children and adults, carry a fair amount of icing and make a cute presentation. The variety of fancy flourishes, homemade frostings and fillings make it easy for readers to make custom creations.
Need a new use for those cupcake pans? Maungas also teaches readers how to prepare miniature deep-dish pies using jumbo muffin and cupcake pans.
A self-proclaimed chocolate lover, Maugans has an impressive appreciation for chocolate’s versatility. Her recipes incorporate a variety of traditional chocolate partners such as peanut butter, nuts and bananas, but also take a more exotic approach with accompaniments such as lime and chili.
The rich flavors of fudge and dark chocolate are popular choices, but Maugans honors a friend who loves the simple flavor of milk chocolate with this Diva Milk Chocolate Layer Cake.
The final chapter features beverage recipes, including hot chocolate, shakes and smoothies. The chocolate martini recipe, courtesy of Alisia Parrott, has detailed instructions for adding professional flair to a plain martini glass.
“Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers” is currently available for pre-order online at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com. Maugans shares some of the recipes on her website, SmallBatchBaking.com.