Big Little Recipes

10 Big-Flavored Recipes With Teeny-Tiny Ingredient Lists

July 12, 2018

Every Tuesday, I come to work a little bit hungry and a little bit early. That’s because Tuesdays are the days Food52 Writer and Recipe Developer Emma Laperruque brings in her latest experiments—fruity bars, saucy meatballs, nugs and tots. I don’t care that it’s 9 a.m., I’m happy to “test” a slice of the Coconuttiest Coconut Cream Pie.

Look, testing isn’t necessarily a piece of cake, OK? Emma doesn’t accept a simple “yum!” or “it’s good!” She wants to know what you think about the texture, saltiness, bite, or how you’d feel if she tweaked this or that. But the recipes that get the most attention (and love) are her Big Littles: recipes that have teeny-tiny ingredient lists and big everything else.

For Example...

For the past couple of months, Emma has developed playful takes on everything from sesame chicken (guess the two ingredients) to a whole hot fudge sundae that only needs condensed milk, cream, and chocolate. She continues to impress me with the techniques and tastes she explores.

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This week marks the tenth installment of her unique column. I can’t wait to see what she brings in next Tuesday, but until then, let’s start from the beginning. (Pssst—want to see them in action? Check out this channel.)

From the Top

Forget cauliflower pizza, we’re making tacos! It’s the speedy weeknight meal your heart has been longing for.

Sidestep deep-frying and head straight to the crunch with this re-interpretation of the classic. As Emma describes it: “Sesame chicken with the Milanese treatment. Or Milanese chicken with the sesame treatment. Either way, it’s dinner tonight.”

There was a whole discussion on how to pronounce posset when Emma first brought a bowl of this in. But no matter how you say it, everyone agreed it tastes like summer.

I love puns, and I love these cookies. A sweet take on strawberry shortcake, Emma blitzes freeze-dried fruit, then sprinkles and stirs into every part of this cookie. “When you say strawberry shortbread, you can really mean it with confidence and conviction,” says the big little brainiac.

Thanks to the help of a fuss-free garlic confit butter, you can infuse every. single. nook. and. cranny. with garlic-y goodness.

I’m not proud of this, but when Emma declared she was doing a 3-ingredient ice cream sundae, I rolled my eyes. Ice cream, chocolate syrup, cherry? I guessed. Wrong! She meant from scratch.

Tangy goat cheese gets a golden quinoa crust in an ‘80s throwback you’ll make over and over. Maybe because it’s so much fun to form the patties.

Does banana pudding icebox cake even need banana pudding? Not here! Whipped cream holds this little icebox-cake-that-could together, while fresh bananas and malt powder send us straight to Flavortown.

Sure, you can make the internet’s most famous tomato sauce. But what if you don’t feel like cooking? Or only want both ingredients to fit in your hand? Well, you’re in luck.

Toast and jam is a lovely breakfast… but is also a mess. Enter: jam bars. They’re a grab-and-go bite that also freezes beautifully. Sorry, toast, but you’re toast.

What's been your favorite Big Little Recipe? What food would you like to see Big Little Recipe-fied? Tell us in the comments!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Emma L. July 12, 2018
I'm not crying, you're crying!
Eric K. July 16, 2018