BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Baking… In the Microwave?!

4 Comments

Idly browsing through our massive collections of cookbooks one day, I stumbled upon my mom’s old “Microwave Gourmet” [or something to that effect.] I’m not a huge fan of the microwave, personally… Sure, they’re wonderful for reheating, but in general, almost every dish suffers somewhat texturally in the end. I do have somewhat of a bias towards the toaster oven… I even think that some toasters out there are downright sexy. If only it were blue…

Anyway, back to this whole microwave cookbook deal. Flipping through the basic recipes, they were little more than plates of steamed vegetables and meats, nothing that really caught my eye. But then, in the very back hid a tiny section on desserts. Upon closer examination, there were pretty decent ideas lurking beneath the surface. There was even a recipe for… Brownies?! What?? Is it even possible? Why had no one told me that this could be done before?

Essentially, my whole concept of the microwave had been shattered.

There was no way to leave this thought alone; It haunted me, calling out from its pastic shell. Just try it, you know you want to… How could I possibly resist?

Digging through various vegan brownie techniques, I discovered that I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand for any of them. Ah well, time to get creative with what’s avaliable and mix things up! A flurry of measuring and stirring ensued, yeilding quickly to a promising brownie batter. Out of the bowl and into the…. microwave.

The initial results were… Less than inspiring. The center appeared to have remained in a pudding-like state, while the sides nonetheless seemed to have cooked – More than I had honestly expected. It even pulled away from the sides of the dish, indicating solidity. A gentle poke proved that the surface was… Erm, somewhat disturbingly rubbery. Having satisified my immediate curiousity, I returned it to the microwave for another minute or two in order to thoroughly nuke the center.

End verdict? Wow, gooey chocolately goodness. So much so that my mom feels they’re closer to fudge than brownies, and decided they deserve the title of “fudgey bars” instead. The fact that there is no actual cooking on the outside allows they to be so dense and creamy, and while possessing a wonderfully smooth mouth-feel, this is not what I see as the perfect brownie. Still, this little experiment has given me a lot to think about regarding the modern innovation known as the microwave. Perhaps it deserves more respect that I’ve previously allowed.

Now, you’d think this is where it would all end right? At first I would have agreed, but then I realized I hadn’t yet fully completed my test. A few nights later I was called upon to bring baked goods to a family function… And realized it was the perfect opportunity to try out the same exact technique, but this time, in a traditional oven for a full comparison.

Ensuring accurate results, I greased up the exact same pan, mixed up the same chocolate mess, and tossed it into my trusty old oven…

..I believe I may have inadvertently found the mythical “perfect” vegan brownie. A different create entirely from its microwaved sibbling, they are near flawless. A delicate balance between cake and fudge, richly chocolate and crunchy around the crisp edges, I don’t think it can get much better than this.

Really, it’s so amazing, I’m going to have to be a greedly little vegan and keeping my golden recipe all to myself for now… But your patience will be rewarded, for the method shall be forthcoming in due time. I’m extremely proud of this one, but I still think it could use some work before I can truly deem it to be a “perfect” brownie recipe.

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

4 thoughts on “Baking… In the Microwave?!

  1. Oh lord. Here I am, trying to make with the diet and exercise, and you come along with your perfect vegan brownies. I’m not going to lie, I have my doubts that such a creature exists. I have thus far relegated “the perfect vegan brownie” to the same realm as unicorns, mermaids, and zip! pow! flash of light! magic – Things That Only Exist In The Minds of Deluded Ren Fair Attendees and The Pages of Harry Potter. I’ve tried a lot of “perfect vegan brownie!” recipes in my day. The most recent of which had to be thrown out when it super glued itself to the wax paper lining.

    But I’m going to give this one a try. In the oven. Because that microwave goo? Just looks gross. Like the Swamp Thing in brownie form. You’re very brave for attempting to use the microwave for anything beyond reheating. And then eating the end product to boot! :)

  2. wow, someone else has discovered my secret! I make cakes, brownies, pies and cheesecakes in my old half broken microwave. And they turn out wonderful!! It cooks in a fraction of the time it would in an oven. I recently made a delicious extremely healthy applesauce cake and two different kinds of brownies( both vegan). All came out great! You just need to rotate the pan halfway through the cooking so it gets done evenly.

  3. Next time… use a silicone baking pans.

  4. There are some other materials for microwave-safe cookware as well. For example, glass, china clay, tough plastic or ceramic. These materials resist heat, and their composition doesn’t affect the performance of the microwave.

    Here is a link that might be useful:
    Microwave Cookware – Choosing the Right Microwave Dishes for Your Kitchen

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