Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Brownie Cookies from Debby Maugans's Book, Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers

Whether you live alone, are watching your calories, or simply don't want to bake a batch of 48 cookies when all you really want is one or two, you should consider treating yourself to a copy of Debby Maugans's cookbook, Small Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers, a scrumptious follow-up to her successful 2004 cookbook, Small Batch Baking.

Before delving into 100+ enticing recipes for cakes, cookies, muffins, pies, tarts, puddings and scones, Maugans shares many useful tips for successful baking. She teaches you how to properly measure and store ingredients, how to use your traditional bakeware for small-batch baking and even how to recycle cans into baking tins. Yes, she bakes lovely little cakes in cans and encourages you to do the same.

Maugans doesn't simply take traditional dessert recipes and halve or quarter them. She presents meticulously calculated recipes with measurements such as "1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour" and "1 tablespoon well-beaten egg." (Keep in mind that if you've never done small-batch baking, you'll have to get used to working with these pared down measurements and to storing leftover ingredients in the fridge.)

Chocolate purists will take comfort in classic recipes such as Chocolate Sugar Cookies and Chocolate Cherry Bread, while daring chocolate seekers will revel in Maugans's inspired White Chocolate Lemon Creme Brulee and Superrich Coconut Cream Hot Chocolate. Despite the recipes' tantalizing names, most chocolate lovers will wish that the book had more photos. (There are 16 color photos in total.)

brownie cookies

So far I have made three recipes from Maugans's book and am smitten with her crackly-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside Brownie Cookies. Think of them as the love child of brownies and chocolate chip cookies. I don't need to tell you that they should washed down with a tall glass of milk.

As Maugans says, with this book in your kitchen, "There will be no leftovers to lure you into overindulging, but you may be tempted to bake a different chocolate treat every day."

                                             Cookbook Give-Away!
Would you like to win a copy of Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers? Just leave a comment on this post, and I'll announce a winner on Thursday! Tweet about this post or mention it on Facebook, and you'll increase your chances of winning. Good luck!

Brownie Cookies
Makes 7 cookies
Printable recipe.

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon well-beaten egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.

Place the chocolate and butter in a medium, microwave-safe bowl; microwave on medium power until soft, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Stir in the brown sugar; whisk in the egg, vanilla, baking soda, and salt until well blended. Stir in the flour. Cover and refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

Spoon the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake until the cookies have puffed them flattened, about 14 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

You can buy Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers (St. Martin's Press, 2011) online or wherever books are sold. In full disclosure, this review copy was gratis from the publisher.