Whether for portion control or for a special individual dessert at a dinner party, baking individual brownies in ceramic ramekins turns a pan of dessert into a plate of dessert. By adjusting the cook time and technique, it becomes easy to bake individual brownies in ceramic ramekins. Make just one brownie at a time, or enough for a crowd, one at a time.
First, make sure the ceramic ramekins you plan to you use are oven safe if you plan to bake the individual brownies in the oven. Next, get a cookie sheet. When baking individual brownies in ceramic ramekins, they need to go in the oven on a cookie sheet or other firm pan to avoid slipping in or shifting between the grates and leaking the brownies. The cookie sheet also helps catch any overflow of batter during baking.
Grease the ramekins using butter or a light coating of non-stick spray. Preheat the oven to the temperature specified on package directions for ceramic or glass pans. Typically, a ceramic pan requires a slightly higher (25 degrees Fahrenheit) oven temperature than does a dark metal pan. After mixing brownie batter, fill each ramekin two-thirds of the way full. Wipe off any excess batter from the edges and surface of the ramekin before baking. Bake the individual brownies for approximately the same time as required for muffins or cupcakes.
Because quick breads are so forgiving, you can experiment with ingredient ratios until you find the perfect amount for your brownie. When creating a single brownie from a batch of brownie batter, either from scratch or a from a box mix, fill the ramekin two-thirds to allow room for it to rise during baking. Brownie mix that bakes in an 8-by-8-inch pan typically produces about 9 cups of batter. Depending on the volume of your ramekins, this can equal 10 or more individual brownies. Brownie mix that bakes in a 9-by-13-inch pan produces about 16 cups of batter, or between 15 and 20 individual ramekin brownies.
Brownie for One
When all you want is a single brownie in a single ramekin instead of a pan's worth of brownies split up into individual servings, create your own recipe for a single-serve dessert. Mix the single brownie right in the ramekin. With a fork, mix together equal parts of flour and sugar, and add about half as much cocoa powder. Stir in a pinch of salt and baking powder. Add wet ingredients like a bit of water and vegetable oil and stir until just blended. A beaten egg helps leaven the brownie and makes the texture lighter and more cake-like. The batter should look wet and thick, but not too runny. Record your recipe and use trial and error to perfect it.
Tips and Tricks
Avoid over-mixing brownie batter. Too much blending creates air pockets that will mound up in the individual ramekins and form peaked brownies. In a pan, that peak spreads over a greater surface area, appearing less pronounced. In individual ramekins, you'll end up with an army of little chocolate mountains. If you don't have oven-safe ceramic ramekins, try baking individual brownies in silicone muffin cups on a cookie sheet or stoneware mugs. Alternatively, try microwaving individual brownies in microwave-safe ramekins starting with 30 seconds and adding time in small increments if necessary. Brownies are done when moist but springy on the middle of the top surface.
- The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook; Jack Bishop