The microwave can do more than pop popcorn. In 1945 a self-taught engineer named Percy Spencer developed an oven that used microwaves to create heat. His first experiments were done on popcorn and then on eggs.
By the 1950's a very small amount of them were sold and by the 1970's they became more available for home use. One of the first bought by laypeople was by Jeff and Jan Thompson for $261.35. The first model in 1947 was huge listed at 750 pounds and sold for $5000. In the late 1960's the public started to take notice.
With the 70's came more and more processed foods and the food industry took notice. The microwavable food industry took off with various meals expanding on TV dinners. Also heated were drinks, meats, and of course popcorn. The first celebrity to be a spokesperson for microwave ovens was Joan Collins in the early 80's.
Now people have gotten quite inventive with microwaves. Here is a quick recipe for a chocolate brownie done in the microwave.
Brownie in a Mug Using the Microwave:
- 2 tablespoons butter, mild extra virgin olive oil, or neutral oil
- 1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons (35g) sugar
- 2 tablespoons (13g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- Pinch kosher salt
- Tiny pinch of cinnamon, optional
- 3 tablespoons (44ml) milk, water, or coffee
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Ice cream, whipped cream, or heavy cream, for serving
- Melt the butter, if using:
- Put the butter in a small microwave-safe bowl or ramekin, and microwave at 50% power (power level 5 on most microwaves) for 30 seconds. If it’s not melted after that, continue to microwave in 10-second bursts until it is.
- This step is unnecessary if you're using extra virgin olive oil or a neutral oil.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a mug:
- Place the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt (if using unsalted butter), and optional cinnamon in a microwave-safe ceramic mug. Stir with a fork until it resembles brown sand and there are no clumps.
- Add the wet ingredients and stir:
- Stir in the butter (or oil) with a fork until a paste forms.
- Then add the milk (or water or coffee) and vanilla. Stir with the same fork until smooth. The batter may look a little thin, but don’t worry—that’s how it’s supposed to be.
- Cook in the microwave:
- Microwave, uncovered, on high power for 1 minute.
- You may need to adjust the time for less or more powerful microwaves.
- If you don't know the power level of your microwave, start with 1 minute and continue cooking in 10-second increments until the brownie is done. For a 1000-watt microwave, 1 minute is good; for 1650-watt microwaves, we recommend 1 minute and 10 seconds.
- After cooking, the brownie should still look a tad moist, not dry. Some wet-looking spots are okay; those will be set up as the brownie rests.
- Rest 4 minutes:
- Let the brownie rest for 4 minutes. The inside of the brownie is very hot and still cooking, even though it’s not in the microwave. It may be hard, but the wait is worth it! It gives the brownie a better flavor and texture. If you want make a chocolate ganache and top the brownie until the chocolate hardens.
- Top with ice cream or whip cream (optional):
- Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a small dab of cream (whipped or unwhipped).