There’s nothing more luxurious than a batch of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. Except a mini batch of chocolate chip cookies that you bake for yourself (and maybe someone else who’s been really nice to you).
Small-batch baking is delightful when you’ve got a hankering for sweets but don’t need enough for a crowd. And drop cookies make great candidates because the dough comes together and bakes quickly.
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But here’s the rub: Scaling down a recipe isn’t always a simple matter of cutting back ingredient amounts. And depending on what you’re baking, you may also need to adjust the oven temperature and cooking time.
When Deputy Editor Andrea Geary downsized our recipe for Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies from 16 to 8, her big challenge was the eggs: one whole and one yolk. Rather than try to halve them, she used a single egg yolk and added a small amount of water to replace some of the moisture that the egg white would have contributed. Decreasing the flour slightly also helped ensure the proper spread.
Here’s her small-batch formula: just the thing for your impromptu cookie needs!
Small-Batch Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 8 cookies
TOTAL TIME: 50 minutes, plus 20 minutes cooling
When making small batches, accurate measurements are crucial for success; we strongly recommend that you weigh your flour and sugars. Avoid using a nonstick skillet to brown the butter; the dark color of the nonstick coating makes it difficult to gauge when the butter is sufficiently browned. Use fresh, moist brown sugar.
¾ cup (3¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
⅓ cup packed (2⅓ ounces) dark brown sugar
¼ cup (1¾ ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon water
½ teaspoon table salt
1 large egg yolk
⅔ cup (4 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
⅓ cup chopped nuts (optional)
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 18 by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
2. Melt 5 tablespoons butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Continue to cook, swirling skillet constantly, until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and stir until completely melted.
3. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla, water, and salt to butter; whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg yolk; whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times (mixture should be thick, smooth, and shiny). Using rubber spatula, stir in flour mixture until just combined (dough will be stiff), about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if using. Give dough final stir by hand to ensure no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.
4. Working with 3 tablespoons dough at a time, roll into balls and space them 2 inches apart on prepared sheet. Bake until cookies are golden brown and still puffy and edges have begun to set but centers are soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Let cookies cool completely before serving. (Cookies can be stored in zipper-lock bag for up to 3 days.)