Top Ten Microwave Baking Tips

Want to beat the heat in your kitchen and make your dessert-making prep work easier? Using the microwave is perfect answer. I constantly use my microwave for melting chocolate, toasting nuts and much more. Here are the top ten items you too can prepare in your microwave.

* Brown Sugar. To soften - place in container in microwave. Also place 1 cup of water in the microwave. Cook on high for 1 minute.

* Butter or Margarine. To soften sticks - High for 10 seconds. Sticks will retain shapes when softened.

* Chocolate Squares. Microwave 1 square for 1 and 1/2 minutes at 50% power. Chocolate also maintains its shape if properly softened.

* Coconut. Toasting - Cook on high for 3 minutes. Stir every 30 seconds.

* Citrus Fruits. For easier juicing - microwave on high for 15 seconds.

* Cream Cheese. To soften - Cook on low (30%) power for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes for an 3 ounce bar or 3 to 4 minutes for an 8 ounce bar.

* Ice Cream. To soften - Check every 15 seconds while cooking on high.

* Nuts. Toasting - Use 1 teaspoon of butter for every 1/2 cup of nuts. Cook on high 2 1/2 to 5 minutes. Stir every 30 seconds. This can be done without the butter.

* Upside Down Sundaes. Heat topping in bowls first, then add ice cream.

* Quick Frosting. Place mint patties over cupcakes. Microwave on high for 15-20 seconds. Spread softened mint over top of cupcake.

Source: Carroll Pellegrinelli

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