A single serving sounds sad and lonely; shunned by society, eyes averted. Imagine being a single diner in a restaurant, with only a book or newspaper for company; no conversation, no wry observations made with meaningful sidelong looks. Awkward. Prone to second martinis.
A single serving doesn’t have to evoke lamentable images of singleton Lean Cuisine packages tossed bravely into grocery carts à la Mary Tyler Moore. It can be just what we want – self indulgent, the perfect size, made-to-measure, customized, bespoke.
Last weekend, after an afternoon of intense chili cooking, I was tuckered out, and craved a little sweet, an effort driven reward. I did not have the stamina to haul the KitchenAid mixer off its shelf to make a whole batch of four dozen chocolate chip cookies, which would require 4 cookie sheets, many ingredients, and lots more time on my feet in the kitchen. But I could pull myself together long enough to mix up a bowl with a few tablespoons of flour, sugar, butter and mini chocolate chips. Thank heavens for this fortuitous recipe in The Washington Post! Single-Serving Chocolate Chip Cookies
Single-Serving Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
Pinch baking powder
Pinch baking soda
Pinch fine salt
2 tablespoons roughly chopped dark chocolate (We had some leftover mini chocolate chips which were just perfect)
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling (Maldon salt is perfect)
(I added 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, because my mother would have insisted, and she would have been right)
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. (Hindsight being 20/20, I would say that you can wait until you pop the prepared dough into the freezer before pre-heating the oven – saving the planet begins at home.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper – I used a cute one eighth sheet pan for a pleasing dollhouse effect.
In a small bowl, combine the butter, light brown sugar and granulated sugar and stir until combined. Add the milk and mix until creamy. Then add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and fine salt and mix until a soft but not sticky dough forms. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine. If needed, mix in a little extra flour, 1 teaspoon at a time, adding just enough to make the dough lose its stickiness but not become stiff.
Shape the dough into a ball and place on the prepared cookie sheet. If you prefer a thick and chewy cookie, pop the pan into the freezer to chill for 5 to 10 minutes. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes, or until golden around the edges and a little paler in the center. If you have chilled the dough, you may need the higher end of the time range. Sprinkle with the flaky salt, if using, and let cool on the pan.
I felt guilty baking just one cookie, considering Mr. Sanders’s well-known sweet tooth, so I doubled this recipe, and from it we each had one cookie. Because I had chilled the dough for 10 minutes, the cookie had spread out just a bit. Not thick and leaden like a giant mall cookie. The Maldon salt on top made it salty and sweet – the perfect indulgence. Treat yourself.
And if you have a yen for more chocolate, try these: Single-serving Brownies
“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.”
– Iris Murdoch