As summer draws to a close, I know I can count on two things. First, it’s back-to-school season, which comes with all sorts of craziness. Second, because I love to bake, a long-awaited reprieve from heat and humidity is just around the corner, which means I can think about heating my oven again.
Unfortunately, back to school and back to baking frequently clash, especially given the time it takes to get my boys ready for another school year. On those busy days when I first sense a chill in the morning air as I race from buying new sneakers to ensuring new textbooks have been purchased, I turn to one-bowl baking for quick, delicious treats.
To me, the art of preparing sweets while using only a single bowl is a godsend. Not only are one-bowl recipes streamlined, making them easier and faster to assemble than their multibowl brethren (say goodbye to mise en place), but there is also no sacrifice in flavor. Moreover, many can be simply made by hand. Also, it should go without saying that there’s less mess to clean up. You’re welcome.
One-bowl recipes are versatile enough to get me through the day. For breakfast, Toffee Coffee Cake Muffins are a caramelly treat with a surprise filling (and can double as a midday snack). In the evening, I love a rich chocolate-sugar skillet cookie, and leftovers—if you have them—are great in lunch boxes. A rich flourless chocolate cake is a perfect make-ahead dessert. I take a bit of liberty with my coconut sheet cake: It’s made in one bowl (I don’t wash the bowl between making the cake batter and the frosting). For this cake (and for the muffins as well), I use a technique called the reverse creaming method, where, at the start of the recipe, the butter is beaten into the dry ingredients. It is a wonderful one-bowl technique and makes for an extra-tender cake, to boot.
Whether your end game is dirtying as few dishes as possible or satisfying a sudden craving for a delicious jumbo chocolate cookie, rest assured that one-bowl desserts will do the trick, taking care of your sweet tooth and then some.