Kid-friendly Cheerful Chocolate Chip Celebration Mug Cake Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Cheerful Chocolate Chip Celebration Mug Cake

Recipe: Cheerful Chocolate Chip Celebration Mug Cake

Cheerful Chocolate Chip Celebration Mug Cake

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Natasha McCone and Kate Bezak
prep time
5 minutes
cook time
2 minutes
makes
1-2 servings

Fun Food Story

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Cheerful Chocolate Chip Celebration Mug Cake

There's something about a chocolate chip cookie that makes things instantly better, if even for a moment. Once kid chefs realize they can make a chocolate chip cookie in the microwave, it's pretty much game over. As a bonus, we will dive into the amazing microcosm of all things vanilla—from how it's grown to the only bee in the world that can pollinate the vanilla orchid plant. Yes, natural vanilla is from an orchid! Better yet, this mug recipe is even quicker than slicing cookies from a tube (with better ingredients). It's fun to celebrate the small things, the big things, and everything in between. Cheers to anything and everything you're celebrating this week!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • fold :

    to gently and slowly mix a light ingredient into a heavier ingredient so as not to lose air and to keep the mixture tender, such as incorporating whipped egg whites into a cake batter or folding blueberries into pancake batter; folding is a gentler action than mixing or whisking.

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • microwave :

    to heat or cook food or liquid quickly in a microwave oven, which uses high-frequency electromagnetic waves to generate heat in the food's water molecules.

  • mix :

    to thoroughly combine two or more ingredients until uniform in texture.

  • separate eggs :

    to remove the egg yolk from the egg white by cracking an egg in the middle and using the shell halves, the palm of the hand, or a device to keep the egg yolk in place while the egg white falls into a separate bowl.

Equipment Checklist

  • Microwave
  • Microwave-safe mug
  • Potholders
  • Measuring spoons
  • Small bowls or cups (2 for separating eggs)
  • Metal spoon for mixing
  • Paper towel or dish towel
scale
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Ingredients

Cheerful Chocolate Chip Celebration Mug Cake

  • 1 T butter **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance brand)**
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 tsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor—check label)**
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 egg **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 1/2 mashed ripe banana OR 1 T applesauce)**
  • 3 T all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub all-purpose gluten-free/nut-free flour)**
  • 1 heaping T chocolate chips **(for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY sub carob chips; for DAIRY/NUT/SOY ALLERGY use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips)**

Food Allergen Substitutions

Cheerful Chocolate Chip Celebration Mug Cake

  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance brand. Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor. Substitute all-purpose gluten-free/nut-free flour.
  • Egg: For 1 egg, substitute 1/2 mashed ripe banana OR 1 T applesauce.
  • Chocolate: Substitute carob chips for chocolate chips.
  • Nuts: Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.
  • Soy: Use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips.

Instructions

Cheerful Chocolate Chip Celebration Mug Cake

1.
microwave + melt

Microwave 1 tablespoon butter in your mug for 30 to 40 seconds until it melts. Carefully remove the mug using potholders.

2.
measure + separate + mix

Measure and add 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 pinch of salt to your mug. Crack and separate 1 egg, adding the yolk to your mug and discarding the white (or save for breakfast eggs later!). Mix the ingredients well!

3.
measure + mix

Measure and mix in 3 tablespoons of flour into the mug. Mix until all traces of flour disappear.

4.
fold + microwave

Fold in 1 heaping tablespoon of chocolate chips. Cover the mug with a damp paper towel or a dish towel and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Let rest for 10 seconds. Then microwave for a final 20 seconds. Carefully remove the mug using potholders, let cool slightly, and dig in!

Surprise Ingredient: Vanilla!

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Photo by Aquarius Studio/Shutterstock.com

Hi! I'm Vanilla!

“I'm a flower, a flavor, an aroma, a spice, a seed, and a pod! Did you know that my pods come from a Vanilla orchid? For cooking, I can flavor foods by adding vanilla extract (much tastier than imitation vanilla) or vanilla paste (made from extract and ground seeds). You can also slice open a pod and scrape out the tiny black seeds to add to your dish, and steep the pod in liquid. I'm essential for baking (and ice cream)!"

History & Etymology

  • Vanilla has an intriguing history. Because of its high value over time, vanilla has been the subject of historical robbery and great intrigue. Growers in Madagascar are known to "tattoo" their beans with a knife when the pods are still green so they can identify their beans if they suspect someone has stolen them. How they find the stolen beans is anyone's guess!  
  • Vanilla is indigenous to southeastern Mexico and, in the 1500s, traveled to Spain. Initially, it was only valued for its use as perfume. 
  • For hundreds of years, Mexico was the only country that grew vanilla. Now, Madagascar, an island country off the coast of Southeastern Africa, grows the most vanilla in the world.
  • Other places that produce vanilla are Costa Rica, Guatemala, Uganda, Kenya, China, India, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Fiji, Tahiti, Hawaii, and other Pacific Islands. Find these places on your map! What do they all have in common? They are hot, tropical places where vanilla orchids can grow abundantly.
  • Why is vanilla so expensive even today? It's because growing vanilla is very labor-intensive. In fact, vanilla is the second most labor-intensive agricultural crop, next to saffron. It can take nearly three years after planting the vines before the first orchid flowers appear. Vanilla beans must remain on the vine for nine months before developing their sweet aroma. The beans are still green when growers harvest them. Then they turn brown and become richly flavored during the drying and curing process. 
  • We consume the most vanilla in the United States compared to any other place! However, the vanilla found in fragrances and foods is 98 percent imitation! This is because synthetic vanilla is less expensive than the real thing.
  • Only the Melipona bee in Central America can pollinate the vanilla flower. In other parts of the world, farmers mimic the process with wooden needles.
  • July 23rd is National Vanilla Ice Cream Day in the US. 
  • The English word "vanilla" comes from the Spanish word "vainilla," meaning "little pod, the diminutive of "vaina," meaning "sheath" or "pod." 

Anatomy 

  • Vanilla is a member of the orchid family and prefers hot, wet, tropical climates. Vanilla is also the only edible orchid (that we know of).
  • A climbing vine, vanilla grows whitish-green flowers that are hand pollinated. It requires supportive structures for optimal growth. Vanilla vines can grow anywhere from 30 to 50 feet long!
  • The fruit, when mature, is about five inches long, a half-inch thick, and looks like a bean pod.
  • The pod ripens gradually for 8 to 9 months after flowering, eventually turning black and giving off a strong aroma. Inside the cured vanilla bean pod are thousands of tiny vanilla seeds that are rich in flavor. 
  • These seeds give vanilla bean ice cream its tiny black flecks, and it is how you know your vanilla ice cream is the real thing! 
  • The vanilla orchid lasts only a day, and pollination needs to happen before it dies. 

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • No two vanilla beans are the same in taste, color, or aroma, just like wine grapes.
  • Store vanilla beans away from heat or light.
  • To open a vanilla pod, place it on a flat surface. Press down at the top to hold it steady, then take a knife and split the pod down the middle. Next, spread apart the pod and run your knife down its length. The seeds will stick to the knife! 
  • Use the empty vanilla pod to infuse a jar of sugar or salt. Or steep it in milk or cream to use in recipes! Or poach fruit with a vanilla bean to give it a subtle kiss of flavor.
  • A few drops of vanilla will balance a tomato's acidity. 
  • Steep vanilla beans in coffee or tea, or grind them with your coffee beans for flavored java.
  • Spiders don't like vanilla! So, vanilla and vinegar in a spray bottle will send spiders running!
  • Try chopping up vanilla beans and mixing them with Epsom salts and a little vanilla extract for a luxurious bath.
  • One vanilla bean is equivalent to about three teaspoons of vanilla extract.
  • You can add vanilla to sweet and savory recipes. Try mixing some vanilla beans into a homemade salad vinaigrette or poaching a vanilla bean in butter for a delicious sauce to serve over fish!
  • Vanilla extract is made by pounding vanilla pods in a solution of ethanol and water. Ethanol is a grain alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, but it is also used as a fuel additive, often blended with gasoline (especially corn-based ethanol). However, the ethanol manufactured for drinks and vanilla extract has to follow more purity standards than the type used in petroleum products.

Nutrition

  • There are some claims of the health benefits of vanilla, such as reducing skin damage, aiding digestion, and alleviating nausea; however, there is not enough evidence to confirm these. Still, vanilla's pleasant fragrance may help calm and lift moods.

 

History of Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Photo by Mandi J. Smith/Shutterstock.com
  • Chocolate chip cookies are asserted to have been created in the United States around 1938 by Ruth Graves Wakefield. She and her husband owned the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, and she was the chef. While experimenting with a new cookie recipe, she chopped up a Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate bar and added it to the dough. 
  • The cookie became so popular that Wakefield and Nestlé agreed that her recipe would appear on the back of Nestlé's packaged chocolate bars in exchange for a lifetime of chocolate! The first recipe for chocolate chip cookies was published in Wakefield's 1938 cookbook: "Toll House Tried and True Recipes." Chocolate morsels or chips were subsequently produced and sold by Nestlé in 1941. 
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough contains chocolate chips or chunks. Variations may also include nuts, oats, and peanut butter. It is a drop-style cookie, meaning the soft cookie dough is dropped by the spoonful onto a baking sheet. The mounds of dough spread and flatten as they bake, and the chocolate morsels melt slightly. Anytime is a good time for a chocolate chip cookie, but they are especially delicious eaten warm from the oven!

Let's Learn About the United States!

Photo by JeniFoto/Shutterstock.com (July 4th Picnic)
  • Most of the United States of America (USA) is in North America. It shares its northern border with Canada and its southern border with Mexico. It consists of 50 states, 1 federal district, 5 territories, 9 Minor Outlying Islands, and 326 Indian reservations. 
  • The country's total area is 3,796,742 square miles, globally the third largest after Russia and Canada. The US population is over 333 million, making it the third most populous country in the world, after China and India.
  • The United States of America declared itself an independent nation from Great Britain on July 4, 1776, by issuing the Declaration of Independence.
  • The Revolutionary War between the US and Great Britain was fought from 1775-1783. We only had 13 colonies at that time! On September 9, 1976, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and declared that the new nation would be called the United States. 
  • The 13 colonies became states after each ratified the constitution of the new United States, with Delaware being the first on December 7, 1787.  
  • The 13 stripes on the US flag represent those first 13 colonies, and the 50 stars represent our 50 states. The red color of the flag symbolizes hardiness and valor, white symbolizes innocence and purity, and blue symbolizes vigilance and justice.
  • Before settling in Washington DC, a federal district, the nation's capital resided in New York City and then Philadelphia for a short time. New York City is the largest city in the US and is considered its financial center. 
  • The US does not have a recognized official language! However, English is effectively the national language. 
  • The American dollar is the national currency. The nickname for a dollar, "buck," comes from colonial times when people traded goods for buckskins!
  • Because the United States is so large, there is a wide variety of climates and types of geography. The Mississippi/Missouri River, running primarily north to south, is the fourth-longest river system in the world. On the east side of the Mississippi are the Appalachian Mountains, the Adirondack Mountains, and the East Coast, next to the Atlantic Ocean. 
  • On the west side of the Mississippi are the flat Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains (or Rockies), and the West Coast, next to the Pacific Ocean, with several more mountain ranges in coastal states, such as the Sierras and the Cascades. Between the coasts and the north and south borders are several forests, lakes (including the Great Lakes), rivers, swamps, deserts, and volcanos. 
  • Several animals are unique to the US, such as the American bison (or American buffalo), the bald eagle, the California condor, the American black bear, the groundhog, the American alligator, and the pronghorn (or American antelope). 
  • The US has 63 national parks. The Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, and the Grand Canyon, with the Colorado River flowing through it, are among the most well-known and visited.
  • Cuisine in the US was influenced early on by the indigenous people of North America who lived there before Europeans arrived. They introduced beans, corn, potatoes, squash, berries, fish, turkey, venison, dried meats, and more to the new settlers. Other influences include the widely varied foods and dishes of enslaved people from Africa and immigrants from Asia, Europe, Central and South America, and the Pacific Islands. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in the United States?

  • Education is compulsory in the US, and kids may go to a public or private school or be home-schooled. Most schools do not require students to wear uniforms, but some private schools do. The school year runs from mid-August or the beginning of September to the end of May or the middle of June.
  • Kids generally start school at about five years old in kindergarten or earlier in preschool and continue through 12th grade in high school. After that, many go on to university, community college, or technical school. 
  • Spanish, French, and German are the most popular foreign languages kids learn in US schools. 
  • Kids may participate in many different school and after-school sports, including baseball, soccer, American football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, swimming, and track and field. In grade school, kids may join in playground games like hopscotch, four-square, kickball, tetherball, jump rope, or tag.
  • There are several fun activities that American kids enjoy doing with their friends and families, such as picnicking, hiking, going to the beach or swimming, or going to children's and natural history museums, zoos and wild animal parks, amusement parks, water parks, state parks, or national parks. Popular amusement parks include Disneyland, Disney World, Legoland, Six Flags, and Universal Studios.
  • On Independence Day or the 4th of July, kids enjoy a day off from school, picnicking, and watching fireworks with their families. 
  • Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Thursday in November when students get 2 to 5 days off school. Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are popular December holidays, and there are 2 or 3 weeks of winter vacation. Easter is celebrated in March, April, or May, and kids enjoy a week of spring recess around that time.  
  • Barbecued hot dogs or hamburgers, watermelon, apple pie, and ice cream are popular kid foods for 4th of July celebrations. Turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie are traditional Thanksgiving foods. Birthday parties with cake and ice cream are very important celebrations for kids in the United States!

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call Chewbacca when he has chocolate stuck in his hair?

Chocolate Chip Wookiee!

That's Berry Funny

What kind of candy is never on time? 

Choco-LATE!

THYME for a Laugh

Why do basketball players love cookies? 

Because they can dunk them!

Lettuce Joke Around

Why do golfers love chocolate chip cookies?

Because they help with their chip shots!

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