One of the biggest things I learned this past year was readjusting how I cook. I am no longer making meals for three- I am now making meals for two. This has forced me to take a deeper look into my cookware- what items I need, what items I can toss and what things I need to buy in a smaller size.

As of now, I haven’t yet tossed anything- but I do wonder how much cookware I actually need. And bakeware- I have only recently begun baking- yet I seem to have every sort of pan needed to bake things…

But you know what the problem with baking really is? You have to do something full size. When it comes to cooking, it’s very easy to adjust a recipe dependent on how many people are eating…But baking? A nine inch layer cake is a nine inch layer cake and I don’t have the chops to figure out how to half the recipe… I can’t quite seem to master what half an egg is…

So I’ve been trying to come up with ways to try and bake delicious concoctions, but doing them in small sizes so that I don’t have dessert for days…

I’ve found that cookie dough is pretty easy to adjust- well- sort of adjust. I now freeze half of the dough, either as a log that can be sliced, or as individual cookies separated by parchment. This way I can bake just a few cookies at a time.

Pudding recipes are easy to reduce- it’s not exactly baking, so the measurements don’t have to be exact. I made a killer faux chocolate mousse that was easy to adjust for just two portions.

I have considered freezing half of a cake, unadorned, and then defrosting and frosting it as needed- just wondering how the texture will hold up.

I’m lousy at pie crust, so I don’t even want to begin to play with that recipe- I can’t even make a regular one…Mini? Forget about it…

So my questions for you are:

  1. Do you mini bake? If so, what do you think the easiest things to microsize are?
  2. Do you just bake something you feel like eating and then give away the unused portions?
  3. What are your favorite baked goods?
  4. Do you prefer homemade or bakery desserts?

56 thoughts on “Resizing the Nest

  1. That half an egg thing always gets me! I tend to bake the full size and freeze some. We like muffins and they are easy to freeze and great to take a few out of the freezer at a time. Also nice to have something in the freezer if guests pop in for a tea/coffee. Most cakes freeze well. Mom always had a frozen cake or two in the freezer for just in case!

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  2. I think I mentioned I don’t bake based on the temptation factor and as you note- the size of the end product. I’m fine with store bought. Regarding the 1/2 egg- what about the liquid eggs in a carton. I think 1/4 cup is equal to one egg so 1/8 cup = 2 tablespoons.

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      1. Neither have I put I know they are pasteurized so if it’s a safety issue…? Just a thought if you REALLY want to attempt half of an egg! 😉

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    1. You know…I don’t know who I’d give them too. Very few people will eat something baked by a stranger, and everyone I know is always watching what they eat. So far I’ve only baked when going to someone’s house or having people over

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  3. I only do half recipes of cookies. I’ve tried to reduce cakes and pies, but the results have been awful. I make the entire recipe now, then freeze pieces for later. In the long run that’s the easiest way to have homemade baked goods. We don’t buy bakery sweets.

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  4. I know what you mean about adjusting your cooking utensils. I had to do that several times in my life. When each son went off to college, when my husband died, and then when my youngest moved out of state. I had dishes from two marriages as well as pots and pans. I downsized the most after my second husband passed and I moved into a condo. For the longest time I still cooked holiday dinners so I kept more than I needed. Eventually I gave away a lot of things. I admit that I stopped baking years ago. Without little kids around I stopped. I never really enjoyed baking.and by time I had grandchildren I didn’t want to bake with them. I taught them how to make salad, soup, even grow vegetables, but baking was not fun for me any more. So I did other things with them. Yep, baking was definitely off the table. I think as long as I had room to store things I kept way too much.

    When I did give things away, and my youngest came back to visit, he would bring me new items like mixing bowls because I gave all mine away. So now I have more. On his last visit during Chanukah he wanted to make potato latkas from scratch with me. OY VEY! Way too much work! So if I give away too much he will only buy me more so we can cook or bake together. Lol I guess a part of him misses those fun mother – son kitchen adventures we had when he was a little boy. Lol My other son has banned me from giving his wife any more kitchen goodies. “Please Mom, no more sets of dishes!” I used to love setting holiday themed tables and I had so many sets of dishes and flatware from two marriages and then from when my mom died. So I gave half of them to my daughter in law.
    Yes, I have way too many items in my kitchen. I’m seriously thinking about down sizing again. My condo is large and it’s too big for me now. So I foresee my future will be getting rid of even more items. My mother collected kitchen gadgets. Those are difficult to get rid of because they bring back childhood memories. Much like the ones my youngest has when he comes home on holidays. Oh those kitchen memories… have fun tossing!

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  5. No mini-bakes…baking is chemistry, and doesn’t do well in the home kitchen with makeshift adjustments for batch sizing – up or down. But I will bake loaves of quick breads, real bread, etc in smaller pans and freeze those smaller individual loaves for later usage and/or give aways.
    BTW: choco chip cookies and brownies freeze well and are a delight to eat later in varying stages of defrosting!!! HA!
    And as for the bakery vs homemade? I’m all in for a true bakery treat whenever! I figure I make the best choco chip cookies, but those bakers make the best Tiramasu!!!! Just sayin’….
    ps-no offense, but what’s with some of the comments equating Oreos with a **bakery dessert**? Those are just packaged mass-produced cookies – okay for a fix, but **not** a bakery item IMHO.
    😎

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    1. Agreed…huge difference between an Oreo and a bakery cookie! Though all bakeries are not equal. I TOTALLY have fave items from specialty bakeries that I would never attempt at home!

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  6. I only know how to cook for an army, lol. I bake and, as a chemist, I totally agree that baking is chemistry and difficult to futz with. Most cookies I will make several batches and freeze the dough into logs. Muffins freeze and reheat beautifully. The only time I have successfully frozen a pie crust is prior to forming. I freeze it at the stage where you wrap and chill for a period of time before putting it into the pan. I make almost all of my grandson’s food and have found that veggie lasagna freezes well, homemade tater and veggie tots freeze well fully cooked and taste fine reheated. If I make cakes, bread or dessert breads I just give away the extra…they lose something when frozen and only taste good if toasted after thawing.

    I only have time to cook/prep on the weekends so I do a LOT of meal prep. I cook 4 gallons of soup (whatever kind I am making) at a time and freeze the majority of it in individual servings. I call it “fast food”. All I have to do is pop it in a pan or the microwave to reheat and voila home cooked dinner.

    I have a giant freezer so that helps 🙂

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  7. I have a friend who is a fabulous baker. She’s had two bakeries. One for sweets, the other for savory Aussie Pies. For half birthdays, she bakes half a cake. She cuts the 9-inch round in half and frosts it as a layer cake. Thought you might like that idea.

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  8. Back when I was a wraith, I baked like there was no tomorrow. Now I hardly ever bake. I make rhubarb crisp in the summer to serve with ice cream. Pumpkin pie. That’s about the gamut for dessert stuff. IF I could eat and not worry, I would figure out a way to make smaller batches. In recipes calling for an egg, I halve everything but the egg and seems okay. Not talking cake, though.

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    1. I’ve been baking when we are going to someone’s house, or people are coming to mine. I think I have the only wine tastings that incorporate dessert….😆

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  9. You are in NYC – I suggest you indulge in the finest of baked goods. I do a little of both. I will occasionally bake pies, cakes, cookies, quick breads, etc. but take most of it to the office. I live alone – it is too much. I also go to good bakeries and get a small delicious treat. Divine! As the egg quandary, use the entire egg and use less of the other liquids. It won’t make much if any difference. 😉

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    1. It’s funny cause when I make pasta I use less egg but sub in water if the consistency isn’t right…but does reducing other liquid change the consistency?

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  10. I’ve frozen cookies before when doing holiday baking–works out fine. I saw some baking for two books on Amazon—maybe they have some good recipes?

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  11. These days, I prefer bakeries to home baking, because I have a really hard time making things for just my husband and I. (And honestly, it’s mostly just me, because my husband isn’t much for eating sweets.) When my kids were home, then I baked much more often, because what I came up with wasn’t wasted!

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  12. I’m not much of a baker, but I do a pretty mean banana bread. Which was pretty much a pandemic go-to in 2020, along with sourdough.

    Homemade always trumps bakery items! Unless it’s something complicated like a cannoli.

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  13. Soooo for baking, I’ve bought mini-pans (mini bundt pans, mini the other kind of pans). I even have mini pie shell things, because our family is small, and everyone doesn’t eat/like the same thing, so for example, I’ve made mini-choc-cakes, just for my husband to enjoy or mini-sweet-potato pies.

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  14. I struggle with this as well, and I don’t know how to adjust baking recipes, so usually, I only bake when I’m going to be it with my in-laws. That way it’s gobbled up by 15 people, including me, instead of me eating almost a whole cake by myself over a week.

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