Mug the holiday for quick, welcome gifts

By Jean Redstone

With holiday season in full swing, it’s time to hack the gift list and up the family dessert fun at the same time. Yes. You can do both together. With a mug.

The newest trend in tasty and easy and microwave speedy is the common household coffee mug. The mug has upped its usefulness to become a baking vessel, delivering dessert for one, in under 5 minutes. A few select ingredients put in the mug, a stir or two, and heat in the versatile microwave oven – you make the mug cake, a satisfying dessert, just like that!

You can transform that trendy treat into a charming, personal and inexpensive holiday gift. Get a pretty Christmas or other-themed mug (I have one that announces I am the best sister in the world. Yes it does.) Gather most of the very few ingredients that will make your chosen flavor mug cake, but only gather the dry ingredients.

Place them, already mixed, in a bag in the mug. Add a recipe so your giftee will know how to finish making the mug cake you are offering, and that’s it.

Wrap in cellophane like a food basket, or in tissue paper, or put the filled mug in a box and add ribbon. You are good to go.

The mug cake is also a thoughtful dessert for a small party, since each guest can have a different flavor cake – and take home a mug, if you wish to offer. But best of all, it’s a quick, yummy hot confection to please your friends and family.

Here are three recipes to start you off, but you can make them personal to you and yours fairly easily. Add chocolate chips to the flour-less cake, for example, or chopped maraschino cherries to the chocolate chip dough cake for a chocolate cherry delight.

Even the cookies in the chocolate cookie cake can be changed to vanilla or ginger snaps. You can add toppings – sauces or fruit slices come to mind – for extra festive garnishes.

If you wish to bake any of these cakes in a regular oven, preheat to 350F and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is a golden brown (or darkened, if chocolate) and the center is firm. Cool about 5 minutes and serve warm.

cooking-chocolate-cookie-peppermint-mug-cake2-webCHOCOLATE COOKIE PEPPERMINT MUG CAKE

As happy and sweet as a holiday

Per Mug:

2 chocolate cream sandwich cookies, crushed
11/2 crushed peppermint candy or 2 tsp crushed candy cane
6 Tbls all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 Tbls plus 1 tsp sugar
4 1/2 Tbls milk or fat-free or low fat milk
1 Tbls vegetable oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients except the cookies and candy into a microwave-safe mug that can hold at least 12 ozs of liquid. A larger mug will do, but the cake will sit below the rim. Mix ingredients with a spoon or small whisk until the batter is fully smooth and blended.
Add crushed cookies into the batter and stir in. Sprinkle crushed peppermint candy on top. Cook in microwave for about 2 minutes on medium. Test with a cake tester and, if too moist, microwave another 20-30 seconds. Let cake cool a few minutes before serving Top with whipped cream, sprinkles, icing or whatever seems tasty. Cake is best served warm or within a few hours out of the microwave.

TO GIFT: Crush peppermint candy and chocolate cream cookies. Put into a small, easily-closed sandwich-type bag and set aside. Place all other dry ingredients into a second bag and close. Put both bags and a copy of the recipe inside the gift mug and wrap with festive cellophane or other paper. The recipient will have to supply the wet ingredients.


Pair with cookie dough ice cream for a doubly happy taste

1 egg
3 Tbls brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 Tbls butter
3-4 Tbls mini chocolate chips
ice cream (optional)
Crack the egg into a 10 ounce or larger mug. Add the brown sugar and flour and mix until batter is no longer lumpy. Use microwave to soften the butter in a small bowl or cup and add butter to the flour mix. Add the mini chocolate chips and mix cake together with a spoon.
Microwave cake for 1 1/2-2 minutes, or just until the top center of the cake has set. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream if desired. Serve warm.

TO GIFT: Mix all ingredients except butter and egg (which recipient will have to supply) into a sandwich size, closeable bag and seal. Place the bag and a copy of the recipe into the mug, wrap like a food basket or give in a small box.

Only a banana for sweetness, yet delicious

2 Tbls natural peanut butter, almond butter, or nut butter of choice
1 very ripe, to the point of mushy, banana
1 egg
¼ tsp baking soda
spices, to your liking, i.e., dash of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg or allspice (optional)
Combine all of the ingredients into a mug about 8-10 ounces capacity, and mix until smooth. Microwave on medium for 1-2 minutes. Don’t over-cook, cake should have a natural loose, but not liquid, consistency.

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