I really miss cooking with kids. It’s fun for me, and exciting to see how special kids feel when they can make things themselves.
So I was very excited when the Rocky River Library asked me to do a cooking video for third and fourth graders. They had chosen one of my very simple recipes that appeared in one of my early cookbooks: Becky’s Microwave Brownies. This is an easy recipe and uses household ingredients that I always have on hand. Becky made them frequently for her friends. We used to joke that if you saw your friend was pulling in the drive, you could mix these up and have them in the microwave before they even reached the door. And that chocolate smell is wonderful!
It made me think of another quick and easy chocolate microwave recipe that I like to make: Brenda’s Chocolate Microwave Pudding. It is also easy and uses ingredients you are likely to always have on hand. But the funny thing about this recipe is that it caused the most trouble in the creation of one of my cookbooks.
In 2010, when Mike was running for attorney general and I was making my 11th cookbook, I wanted to put in special easy recipes from two of my best friends. I always love to include not only family recipes but friends recipes too. I was running out of space and wanted to squeeze Judy and Brenda’s recipes on the same page. They were both good recipes that I had tested many times. I finally figured out after some cutting and pasting (literally) that I could include both, and have one of Becky’s illustrations in too. And off to the printer my cookbook went. The week my cookbooks came in, Anna suggested we make some of Brenda’s pudding. We got the new recipe book and started making the pudding. First the dry ingredients: sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, salt. We mixed that up and then realized there was no milk listed in the recipe! In my cut and paste operation, I left it out. But of course it was not one mistake; it was 100,000 mistakes that we needed to correct before we could pass out the cookbooks! My great friends throughout the county and throughout the state picked up boxes of my cookbooks and wrote in “2 ¼ cups milk” in each. I was saved once again by my friends!
This pudding recipe is good for a chocolate cream pie as well. I’m going to make one for little Tad’s second birthday tomorrow. Even though his mom is making him a cake, I think he will love digging into a chocolate pie topped with whipped cream. And I have an easy press in the pan pie crust recipe that I will use for this one. It is my sister-in-law Betheen’s recipe that she uses for her fresh peach pie.
The really good news is that the vaccines are coming and I am eligible in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait. Because then I can get back to cooking with those cute kids! We’ve got a lot to make together!
Becky’s Quick Microwave Brownies
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Melt the butter in a glass bowl. Stir in cocoa powder. Mix in sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
Stir in flour and salt.
Grease an 8-inch square Pyrex pan. Pour in batter evenly. Sprinkle with chopped nuts if desired.
Microwave 3 minutes. Check and turn. Microwave 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
If gooey, microwave an additional minute. (Microwaves vary in power so you may need to do more or less time.)
Brenda’s Microwave Chocolate Pudding
2/3 cup sugar (you can reduce to 1⁄2 cup)
1/4 cup cocoa (unsweetened)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in 2 quart glass measuring cup or bowl.
Stir milk in gradually until cornstarch is dissolved.
Microwave at 100% power for 6 to 8 minutes. Stir every 2 minutes.
Stir in butter and vanilla.
Pour into dessert dishes and refrigerate or eat hot.
(I double this recipe for a pie, especially if I’m making an extra mini-pie. You can also reduce milk to 2 cups per recipe for a firmer pie if you want. )
Betheen’s “Very Easy” Pie Crust
Sift together into 9 inch pie plate:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 tablespoons milk
Stir with spoon. Press into pie pan with fingers. Flute edges. Prick with fork. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.