ISO delicious, indulgent, single-serving dessert recipes
December 7, 2010 1:19 PM   Subscribe

What are your favorite single-serving dessert recipes? (I want to avoid over indulging, so the idea is to make my own single-servings at home, thereby increasing dessert-eating transaction costs and decreasing dessert supply.)
posted by yarly to Food & Drink (36 answers total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
Cinnamon toast. Buttered bread + brown sugar + cinnamon + toaster over. Yum!
posted by Go Banana at 1:33 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]

Croissants (from Costco) warmed in the oven and topped with Nutella. You can make a small amount of Rice Krispy treats. Hot cocoa made with evaporated milk. These are all delicious and none require a mixer or make a bunch of dirty dishes.
posted by mokeydraws at 1:40 PM on December 7, 2010

Any time I make cookie dough, I freeze at least half of it. That way I don't have dozens of cookies tempting me to eat them before they get stale, but I can still have delicious cookies when I want them. Some recipes freeze better than others, but for the most part any drop cookie (chocolate chip, for instance) will work.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:42 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

Pre-measured raw almonds + dried cranberries + dark chocolate chips. YMMV, since my SO refers to this dessert as "birdseed." It's my favorite, though.
posted by activitystory at 1:43 PM on December 7, 2010

I'd say, any recipe where the quantities are easy to reduce and the smaller size doesn't mess up the cooking time or technique. So cookies without eggs would be a good choice. You can beat an egg lightly and then use half, but it's a pain.

A good guideline for me would be that I wouldn't want to reduce an ingredient to any smaller than 1/8 tsp because it'd be too small to measure accurately. Get familiar with conversions, or get a good kitchen scale and do things by weight.

Homemade pudding is a real treat - very rich and easy to make. The Joy of Cooking has recipes for butterscotch and chocolate that would be good candidates for reduction. You will need to use a small pot though.
posted by expialidocious at 1:46 PM on December 7, 2010

On the healthier side of things:
1) baked apple
2) yogurt with honey drizzled on top
3) fruit salad made with whatever fruit you happen to have, and a syrup made of orange juice and a bit of marmalade, melted.
4) a piece of nice cheese on a cracker with a bit of fruit compote or fig jam

or my mother's old standby:
three rings of canned pineapple, with a dollop of yogurt in the middle.
posted by LN at 1:46 PM on December 7, 2010

Response by poster: Any time I make cookie dough, I freeze at least half of it.

Do you freeze it in a big lump, or do you pre-form the cookies?
posted by yarly at 1:51 PM on December 7, 2010

Pre-form. I dip cookies with an ice cream scoop, freeze them on a tray, and then store them in a ziploc. When I want cookies I defrost a few, flatten them with my hand, and bake.

Cake also freezes very well. Bake some cupcakes and then freeze for later.
posted by elsietheeel at 1:56 PM on December 7, 2010

I like frozen blueberries nuked with oatmeal and sugar/butter to turn it into dessert and not just extra-blueberry-y oatmeal. A dash of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla extract can be added.

And when our fig tree is fruiting, I also like to make up a single-serving batch of pralines (saute some pecans in a pan with butter, then add some sugar until it starts to carmelize) and drizzle that over figs and yogurt. I would think canned pears or peaches would also be tasty with that treatment.
posted by SomeTrickPony at 1:57 PM on December 7, 2010

If you have a gas stove (or feel like getting adventurous with one of those pointy lighters), smores are a good idea--they're not a lot of work, and I find that because they're so rich, it's hard to eat more than 1 or 2 at a time.
posted by kagredon at 2:03 PM on December 7, 2010

I once looked up recipes for flourless chocolate cake and they seemed a good prospect for reducing down to single (or really double) serving. Here's one from David Lebovitz. Start with the eggs - reduce from 5 down to 1, then reduce the other ingredients in the same proportion. I baked mine in 2 ramekins, but then ate both of them the same night, so you'll have to figure out how to freeze the other one better than I did. I also had a bit of cream in the house so I used a whisk to whip about an ounce of cream with a tiny bit of sugar to serve with the cake.

If you do the frozen cookie dough, separate it into single cookies and freeze the lumps of dough. When ready, just take out 2 or 3 and bake.
posted by CathyG at 2:03 PM on December 7, 2010

Most of the Hungry Girl recipes seem to make 1 or 2 servings. They do tend to be a little fiddly and call for ingredients you might not normally have on hand.

S'mores might be good - with the time it takes to toast a marshmallow, you're forced to think about whether you really want another one. (I've never toasted marshmallows over a gas stove flame, but there seems to be a google consensus that this is safe.)
posted by lakeroon at 2:13 PM on December 7, 2010

Slice and Bake cookies! Just slice yourself off a cookie or two at a time, and always have access to fresh from the oven cookies. And you can add basically whatever you like to the basic recipe.
posted by grapesaresour at 2:59 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Do you freeze it in a big lump, or do you pre-form the cookies?

I roll the dough into a big snake wrapped in waxed paper and freeze that way. Then I slice off as many cookies as I want to bake.
posted by kch at 3:09 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

No-Pudge brownie mix (I know, I know) has a single serving option on the box -- I think you mix 1 tbsp nonfat yogurt with 3tbsp of the mix, microwave for a minute and you're good to go.
posted by apparently at 3:43 PM on December 7, 2010

big bowl of fruit with 1 scoop of ice cream on top. I like to use soy icecream a lot - it's got a lighter texture, and has less calories
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:59 PM on December 7, 2010

increasing dessert-eating transaction costs and decreasing dessert supply

Dessert is inelastic for all prices and all income and supply levels. Dessert's beta is an imaginary number.

Take ramekins (or tea cups, doesn't matter). Fill with portions of rice pudding. Top with a little cream and some soft brown sugar. Brulee if you wish. Cover with cling film / saran wrap and refrigerate or freeze.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:13 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Freeze one (1) banana

Break the banana into large chunks.

Put the chunks into a food processor with 1 tblsp. of peanut butter and 1 tblsp. of honey. Pulse until you get a creamy, tasty treat!
posted by BZArcher at 5:02 PM on December 7, 2010

Sipping chocolate. I use the one from Trader Joe's, which is good, but you can probably find some even more decadent gourmet-ish ones elsewhere. Basically 3 tbsp of sipping chocolate per 1/3 cup of milk, warmed together slowly into liquid chocolate heaven. It's rich and delicious. You can dilute it with more milk for a more standard "hot chocolate" if you wish. Add your desire toppings - whipped cream, marshmallows, cinnamon, dash of salt, dash of chili pepper, etc.
posted by raztaj at 5:03 PM on December 7, 2010

Seconding rice pudding. It scales infinitely, refrigerates well, and if you are already having rice for dinner just set aside some for later dessert with almost zero extra effort.
posted by Pomo at 5:24 PM on December 7, 2010

No Pudge brownie mix has a single serving option. The FAQs says to: "In a small microwaveable container mix 2 tablespoons of your favorite flavor No Pudge! Brownie mix with 1 tablespoon of non-fat vanilla yogurt. Microwave on high for one minute. Top with fat-free frozen yogurt or whipped topping. Tastes like a warm, fudgy brownie pudding. Variation: Use 1 tbsp. applesauce + a few drops of vanilla."
posted by oceano at 5:36 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Microwave s'mores! 9 chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli) on half a graham cracker, topped with a large marshmallow. Microwave for about 20 seconds on HIGH, or until marshmallow puffs up. Smoosh together with other half of graham cracker and devour. For a variation on the classic s'more, I like to use chocolate graham crackers and add a smear of peanut butter for a chocolate peanut butter s'more!

Making an indulgent cup of hot chocolate is a great 1-serving dessert too. I like to add Bailey's Irish Cream and mini marshmallows to mine. If you stick a candy cane in your hot chocolate, you'll get peppermint hot chocolate.

Other (self-link) recipes for smaller servings below. Recipes for 2 can be halved for one serving, or save the 2nd serving for another day.
* Bourbon Peaches are delicious topped with greek yogurt. Ideal with fresh, seasonal peaches.
* Chocolate Bread Pudding for Two is seriously chocolate-y and rich. Second serving can be refrigerated and reheated later.
* Peach Blackberry Crisp for Two - can also use other fruits you like / have on hand.
* Banana Soft Serve "Ice Cream" is easy to make, but best enjoyed immediately.
posted by geeky at 6:56 PM on December 7, 2010

A recipe from Jacques Pépin's Fast Food My Way: Cookie + frozen raspberry gratin.

Preheat oven to 375; in a small oven-safe cup/ ramekin, put in 1/2 C frozen raspberries. Top with 1 T sugar. Add 2 chocolate chip or shortbread cookies (crumbled or crushed, your preference; use more cookies if they are small - you want to cover the berries) and then 1 T of butter, cut into small pieces. Bake for 17-22 minutes, until cookies are starting to brown and berries are bubbling. Let cool for 10-15 minutes; goes great with crème fraiche, vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

This is really easy and yummy; I keep a bag of frozen raspberries in the fridge just for this dessert.
posted by queseyo at 7:17 PM on December 7, 2010

Take the cinnamon toast that Go Banana suggested, put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, drizzle with honey and chocolate syrup, and add sliced strawberries. Fantastic!
posted by bolognius maximus at 7:45 PM on December 7, 2010

Nthing the no-pudge brownie recommendation. I don't like fat free/faux food, but these are good when they're still warm! I also like a small piece of expensive chocolate (either a square of an intense dark chocolate bar, or a piece of candy), but something very delicious, and too expensive to buy in large quantities.

Another option: slice a banana, melt butter in a skillet, saute the banana in the butter until the outside of the slices just begins to carmelize. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Good on a little ice cream or yogurt, or with a dollop of whipped cream, or by itself. You can also drizzle with honey.
posted by pompelmo at 8:01 PM on December 7, 2010

I will second the No Pudge brownie mix. It sounded too good to be true, but it is mighty tasty and chocolatey :-)
posted by Calzephyr at 8:03 PM on December 7, 2010

If you've ever made the real thing before, it's pretty easy to eyeball a single serving of serviceable puppy chow (a.k.a. Chex Muddy Buddies) if you don't feel like measuring out the ingredients. I just throw some chocolate chips, some peanut butter, and a little bit of butter in a bowl, microwave until melted, stir in a splash of vanilla, and then stir in the chex. Throw that into a ziplock with some powdered sugar and shake to coat. If you're out of chex, rice krispies also work but you'll need a spoon to eat it. If you use cinnamon toast crunch instead of chex, don't blame me if you die and go to heaven right there.
posted by vytae at 10:16 PM on December 7, 2010

Do you freeze it in a big lump, or do you pre-form the cookies?

I have a big, heavy duty ice cream scoop that I pretty much only use to portion and freeze chocolate chip cookies. Scoop them out into round balls (don't bother shaping them, they'll work themselves out in the oven) and then put them on a baking sheet in your freezer until they freeze (so they don't stick together). Once they're frozen, put them in a zip-top freezer bag.

When you want a cookie, it's only 20ish minutes in the oven at 325 (keep an eye on the cookies the first few times, YOvenMMV) away!

I make a double batch (you'll need a really big bowl) and it lasts me several months of dessert cravings.
posted by joshuaconner at 12:24 AM on December 8, 2010

I have also had luck making and freezing individual chocolate souffles (which you then bake like normal, just for a little longer IIRC), and individual portions of chocolate mousse and chocolate pots de creme. You will need a lot of smallish ramekins, though.
posted by joshuaconner at 12:31 AM on December 8, 2010

Pavlova : Meringue nest, scoop of ice cream, dollop of fruit compote (or a canned peach, chopped), dollop of cream on top (that squirty cream in an aerosol is good for this).

Mini-trifle : break up a couple of lady's finger sponges into a small dish, mix with just enough canned raspberries to soak up the juice, top with ready-made vanilla pudding, put it all in the fridge to chill, top with cream just before serving.

Mini-tiramisu : dip a couple of lady's finger sponges in espresso, put them in the bottom of a small bowl or a sundae glass. Top with a spoonful of marscapone mixed with cream (again, the squirty cream will do, just mix 'em together in a bowl, with a little sugar to taste). Repeat the layers as desired. Top with grated chocolate (or, preferably, a crumbled up Cadbury's Flake)
posted by essexjan at 2:02 AM on December 8, 2010

Our college dining hall standby: Take one coffee mug. Scrape a little glob of butter in, and fill 1/3 with mini marshmallows off the ice cream bar, microwave 30-60 secs, until you see the marshmallows start to puff out the top, then immediately snatch the door open before you ruin the microwave for the next person. Fill with as many rice krispies as will fit and still give you room to stir it all up. Eat with a spoon, or dump onto a plate and sculpt something first. Be thankful that there's an industrial dishwasher handling the cleanup. (in reality, marshmallow dissolves like a dream with hot hot water, no problem - but if you try to clean up with lukewarm water and a sponge and soap you will be miserable)
posted by aimedwander at 7:11 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]

People have covered the pre-scoop and freeze for drop cookies, but lots of cookies can be made by rolling the dough into a log and slicing off pieces to bake as cookies. Slice-and-bake types of cookie doughs can be frozen as logs and are easier to slice frozen anyway.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:49 AM on December 8, 2010

Response by poster: Everyone gets a favorite! I am especially looking forward to trying the no-pudge brownie mix, pudding, carmelizing bananas, sipping chocolate, and freezing cookie dough.
posted by yarly at 8:37 AM on December 8, 2010

Oh, as for smores, you don't need to toast the marshmallow over a burner. Split a marshmallow, place it and a square of chocolate on a graham cracker, put it on a square of aluminum foil or parchment paper (to catch drips), put it on a cookie sheet under the broiler in your oven until melted and delicious.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:50 AM on December 8, 2010

Cream cheese on graham crackers tastes pleasantly like cheesecake.
posted by beandip at 2:21 PM on December 8, 2010

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