Chocolate is so versatile and microwaving it is so easy that you can tailor a chocolate dessert to your time and the tastes of the people you're serving.
The chocolate liqueur mousse that follows seems complicated, but it goes together quickly and can be made several hours in advance.
8 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate
1/3 cup orange liqueur
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
6 orange peel twists
Place chocolate in 1 1/2 quart microwave casserole or measuring bowl. Microwave, uncovered, at MEDIUM (50% power) 5 to 7 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, until melted.
Meanwhile, separate eggs, placing yolks in 2 cup bowl and whites in non-plastic 1 quart bowl or small bowl of electric mixer. Add liqueur to yolks and mix thoroughly with fork. Add salt to whites and beat with mixer at high speed until stiff enough to hold peaks, but not dry.
Add yolk mixture to hot chocolate and stir thoroughly. Then, with wide spatula, fold in whites, 1/4 at time, mixing just until no white is visible. Pour mousse into 6 large dessert or wine glasses. Refrigerate. Garnish each serving with whipped cream and orange peel twist. Makes 6 servings.
CHOCOLATE FEATHER CUPCAKES
2 teaspoons vinegar
7 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon milk
1 cup hot water
4 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
2/3 cup oil
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Shiny Chocolate Glaze
Combine vinegar and milk in 1 cup measure. Let stand until milk curdles.
Meanwhile, combine hot water and chocolate squares in 1 quart microwave bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50% power) 6 to 9 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, until chocolate is completely melted. Stir smooth (mixture might look slightly separated.) Set aside.
Combine oil, flour, sugar, soda, baking powder, salt, vanilla, eggs and curdled milk in large mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed with mixer until well blended and smooth. Add chocolate mixture and beat well.
Place double thickness paper baking cups in each opening of round 6-cupcake microwave pan. Spoon chocolate batter into paper lined cups, filling about 1/2 full. Microwave at HIGH (100% power) 2 to 3 1/2 minutes, rotating 1/4 turn every minute, if necessary, and checking after 2 minutes.
Cool cupcakes on plate or platter. Repeat until all batter is used. With small spatula or knife, spread Shiny Chocolate Glaze evenly over tops of cooled cupcakes. Let stand until glaze sets before serving or storing. Makes about 4 dozen cupcakes.
Note: If desired, microwave cupcakes few at time, storing remaining batter in refrigerator. Batter keeps about 2 or 3 days. Leftover glaze may be stored, covered, in refrigerator. Microwave briefly to soften before spreading on cupcakes.
Shiny Chocolate Glaze
2 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons hot water
Combine chocolate, butter and corn syrup in 1 quart microwave bowl or measuring cup. Microwave at MEDIUM (50% power) 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every minute, until mixture can be stirred smooth.
Add salt, powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons hot water. Beat vigorously until smooth. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon hot water to make smooth glaze.
Milk chocolate pieces, which are sweeter than semi-sweet chocolate, are used in this recipe, and sugar is omitted.