Mini and single serving desserts are all the rage across the internet these days. There are more recipes for mug cakes out there than I ever would have imagined, and the craze has extended to cookies and brownies as well. I love the concept of these desserts; the near instant gratification and the built in portion control, and I desperately wanted to love the desserts themselves but over and over I have been disappointed…
At first I thought to attribute this disappointment to baking in the microwave, so I tried a number of recipes that called for baking in a conventional or toaster oven. In the end they all had the same lackluster results with a longer wait. It all comes down to the egg. Some recipes call for a whole egg, some call for an egg yolk and some attempt to replace the egg with milk or cream. The problem is that cooking and baking are essentially forms of chemistry and the chemical make of up eggs play a critical role in the texture of a baked good – in all of these recipes the proportion of egg to other ingredients is off. As a result, the texture of the final product is off as well.
That is when I decided to see if it was possible to create a single serving dessert recipe will all the same characteristics in the final product as a full batch recipe. For me, given the choice between cake, cookies or brownies there is simply no contest – it is brownies every time. So that is where I started. It took a few tries (I think I ate variations on single serving brownies nightly for about 2 weeks, not that I’m complaining!) but I was successful. The end result is a single serving brownie that comes together quickly, bakes in the oven or microwave and (when baked in the oven or toaster oven) has crisp/chewy edges, fudgy center and an amazing shiny crackly crust on top.
This is a wonderfully flexible recipe – take a look at the results below for the various prep and baking methods and look at the recipe notes for some suggestions on variations and add-ins!