With a microwave and a mug, you can be a pastry chef


FOOD_MugCakes

With just five minutes and a microwave, you can become a gourmet pastry chef.

That’s what certified master baker Leslie Bilderback shows us in her new book, “Mug Cakes.”

“One of the things I came across repeatedly is that people are really afraid of baking,” says Bilderback, a longtime culinary instructor. So she came up with a solution: write an accessible, funny book that guides readers through quick microwaveable cake recipes without sacrificing creativity.

“I really want to get people to start thinking about ingredients, flavor pairings and using unusual things in sweet desserts,” she says.

For those still squeamish about tackling dessert, Bilderback has some advice: “Just relax. It’s only food; it’s not that expensive food. And if you screw it up, you didn’t lose very much, and you learned something in the process.”

Plus, a scoop of ice cream makes everything taste better.

FOOD_MexicanChocolateCake

Weekend Recipe: Mexican Chocolate Mug Cakes
Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ wheel Mexican chocolate, chopped
1 large egg
3 ½ tablespoons milk
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons self-rising flour
Pinch of kosher salt

Topping ideas:
Whipped cream, crema, caramel sauce, cajeta, shaved chocolate, a dusting of ground cinnamon or chopped pecans.

DIRECTIONS
Combine the butter and Mexican chocolate in a large mug. Microwave for 30 to 60 seconds until melted. Whisk with a fork to combine, then whisk in the egg. Stir in the milk, vanilla, brown sugar and cocoa. Add the flour and salt. Beat the batter until smooth. Divide the batter between two mugs. Microwave separately for 1 ½ to 2 ½ minutes each until risen and firm.

Note: If you are simulating Mexican chocolate by adding cinnamon to chocolate, be sure to pick the right cinnamon. There are actually two types of bark sold as cinnamon: cassia, which is very hard and difficult to break or grind, and cinnamon (sometimes called Mexican cinnamon), which is very brittle. Most ground cinnamon sold in the United States comes from cassia bark. But true cinnamon is the one used in Mexican chocolate. It has a spicier flavor, like Red Hots candies, and it is readily available in sticks at Mexican markets. It is very easy to pulverize in a coffee grinder or with a mortar.


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