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Thursday, July 19, 2012

S'Wonderful Stuff: Microwave Brownies

No need to turn on the oven for a batch of warm brownies. These microwave brownies are s'wonderfully delicious, keep the house cool, and "bake" up in minutes.

This recipe came in a booklet with our first microwave oven, over 26 years ago. That was 3 microwaves ago for us! However, I still have the recipe booklet. (We burn through microwaves quickly. This is one of the reasons, when we redid our kitchen, that we opted not to have a built-in microwave and went with a cheap one from Home Depot that we keep in the pantry. In addition, having the MW in the pantry doesn't mar our vintage kitchen look this way.)

I make this recipe in both the microwave and the conventional oven. Both ways yield excellent brownies. Whip some up tonight! To bake this recipe in a conventional oven, scroll way down to the bottom of this post for oven temp and bake time.

This batch took all of 5 minutes to mix and under 5 to microwave. Just long enough for me to make a pot of coffee.

from The Microwave Guide and Cookbook (copyright General Electric Co., 1984)

Basic Brownies

"power level HIGH (10)
microwave time 6 to 8 minutes total (This timing is too long for most modern microwaves. I just baked this batch in the photos, in 4 minutes 5 seconds, see below for details on determining when they're done.)

2 eggs
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) salt
1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla
1/2 cup (120 g) butter, melted
3/4 cup (90 g) unsifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (55 g) cocoa
1 cup (150 g) chopped nuts (I never add these. Microwave breads and pastries can be a bit crumbly and fall apart easily while still warm. Nuts might worsen this tendency. However, nuts scattered on top of batter would definitely add to eye appeal.)

  • In a small bowl at medium speed on mixer, beat together eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla, about 1 minute until light. (I mix it all with a spoon, not a mixer. Less to wash, the cocoa powder doesn't go flying, and works just as well.)
  • Add melted butter. Continue beating until thoroughly blended.
  • Mix in flour and cocoa at low speed. (Remember my caution above about flying cocoa powder. If you insist on using a mixer, add the cocoa powder to the batter first, then dump the flour on top. The flour will hold most of the cocoa powder down.)
  • Stir in nuts. Spread evenly in greased 8-in. square dish.

Microwave on HIGH (10) 4 to 8 minutes (cook time varies considerably, depending on microwave wattage), rotating dish 1/2 turn after 3 minutes. (If your microwave has a turntable, obviously no need to rotate the dish.) When done, top looks dry and will spring back when lightly touched. Cut when cold."  

"Cut when cold" -- now that just takes all the fun out of these!  I say: slightly undercook them, just until they're mostly set, but the very center still looks like it could be a tad soft. Cut while still warm and eat with a fork, they'll be gooey and s'wonderfully delicious!

if microwave has a turntable, no need to rotate dish

*Newer (more recent than the 80s, so that'd be just about all microwaves still in use) microwaves have turntables and most (but not all) cook more quickly. My Sharp Carousel from home Depot, c. 2001, cooks these brownies up in under 5 minutes.

In the first half of the microwaving, you'll notice the outside edges are raised, with a large center that is depressed and doughy. By 3-4 minutes into microwaving, that doughy center will have shrunk considerably. Watch these like a hawk. You want to take them out of the microwave when you can see that the very center has a slightly "wet" look but not a dark depression nor a very doughy look. Although, if you like very gooey things, taking them out just before that center hole closes will mean you enjoy lots of ooey-gooeyness.

in the microwave for about 3 mins., edges are raised, center depressed

Conventional oven directions
As I said, above, this recipe also bakes up well in a conventional oven. I bake these brownies at 350 degrees F (180 C) for about 18 to 20 minutes, until the center is set and springs back a bit when touched lightly.



  1. You are a lifesaver! I was about 7 when my parents bought our first microwave in the early 80s.. the GE with the rotary cooktime dial! That cookbook had a lot of great stuff in it; if you still have the book and haven't already, try the stuffed meatloaf.. it's ridiculously good.

    This is my family's favorite brownie recipe of all time and you'd think we'd have all memorized it by now but alas nobody had and my mom lost the book. It's nearly 11pm and you have just enabled our late-night batch of fudgey reminiscence.. thank you for thinking to share it!

    1. Hi Carin,
      these are our favorite brownies, as well. I often bake them in a traditional oven, about 350 F, for about 20 minutes.

      I'll try the stuffed meatoaf. Thanks for th suggestion!

  2. A quiche prepares pleasantly in the ledge oven. Anything you need to make should be possible as long as it fits.


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