If you live in the US and ever shop at such supermarkets as Safeway or Albertson’s, you’ve probably been inundated recently with flimsy paper game boards and tiny tear-off tickets. The goal of the Monopoly grocery game, as you may or may not have cared to read in the instructions, is to keep shopping, wear your eyes to charcoal nubs and hunch your back into a hilltop while you pore over the game board, struggling to match a set of alphanumerical tickets to the prize that a certain combination allows you to win, “potentially.”
Meanwhile, the grocery store issues the same tickets over and over so you’d have to travel the US to find all the unique codes to win a prize. If this seems like too much work, there is also an online sweepstakes wherein you can enter codes on specially-marked tickets and get a message that your code is not a winner. In exchange, the site will collect your contact info for who knows what subliminal purpose, as if the great wide Internet didn’t already provide this information for anyone curious as long as the inquirer swore their conniving intentions.
If you by some cosmic accident earn all the tickets required for a certain prize, you can take your fragile ticket-game-board to a store and, providing no desperate rival tears it out of your grasp on the journey, show your “potential winning game board” to an employee, who will surely call over several others of increasingly intimidating stature within the company hierarchy, until one finally has the authority to convince you that you are not eligible to receive your prize after all.
Or, alternately, the employees may surrender and give you that $35,000 vehicle or $200 family picnic. Thinking you have triumphed, you will march through all the red tape to actually obtain your prize, no doubt to find that your Cinderella story is fleeting: the fairy godmother may give you a free car, but she’ll certainly not help you pay for gas or maintenance after that fender-bender resulting from your boundless road excitement upon having won against all odds. You may well receive a free jar of pickles for a family picnic, but there’s no guarantee your family will be willing to budge from the Superbowl commercials or eat their sandwiches without fighting over the Frisbee and making all the potato salad spill on your nice new checkered blanket. Is that heartwarming family experience really worth $200? Or your newly incurred blindness and hunchback?
For most of us, who will not “win” anything at all, the contest simply results in lifelong trauma from seeing this old geezer threatening us with the heavy hand of capitalism around every corner of the supermarket:
Regardless of the threat posed by this skulking symbol of human subjugation and dehumanization as hopeful middle-class citizens are reduced to statistics in an odds ratio, I have bravely continued to shop at my local grocery stores. After all, I had to buy ingredients for this fudgey, chocolatey breakfast cake for one with a touch of tropical tang that made my morning marvelous. Besides, I might as well collect the tickets while they’re available: I might win a prize!
You don’t have to win the lottery to taste this hearty, intriguing, and indulgent microwave cake. All you need is five minutes, a microwave, and a few commonplace ingredients you probably already have lying around (feel free to replace the brands/flavors I used with ones that suit you). Fuel up for the race to the top – but don’t get so strong and nourished you beat me to that $200 family picnic, or I’ll be so mad I just might have to sue you!
Chocolate Fudge Breakfast Cake with Peachy Mango Tang
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
- one single-serving packet bananas ‘n’ cream instant oatmeal
- dash ginger
- 1 egg
- one single-serve Jell-O brand sugar free crème brûlée rice pudding cup (103 grams)
- 1 tbs chocolate peanut butter blend (I used Reese’s Spreads)
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbs semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Nestle)
- one container nonfat peach Greek yogurt
- 1 tbs sweetened flaked coconut
- handful of dried mango (I used a 10 g pouch of Crispy Green brand dried mango)
- 1 tsp honey
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine cocoa, oatmeal, and ginger. Mix.
Beat in egg. Add pudding, peanut butter, and honey. Mix to combine. Batter will be thick.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Microwave batter in microwave-safe bowl for about 2 minutes or until cooked through (I did 1-1/2 minutes but found my cake was just a little on the fudgey side).
Top with yogurt, coconut flakes, dried mango, and a drizzle of honey. Enjoy warm.
Lately I’ve been thinking up desserts to represent the major princess tales we all loved/hated as children: what type of cake would tell the story of The Little Mermaid? How to design a sticky bun fit for Cinderella? I like the idea of desserts based on fairytales because 1) it’s a fun idea for a kids’ party (and by kids I mean kids of ANY age), 2) desserts are a necessary part of life and abstaining from them will NOT yield an anatomically-impossible Disney-Princess figure, it will just turn girls into Grumpy of the Seven Dwarfs. All of today’s princesses should enjoy life and learn to accept their realistic figures. 3) I’m really into fantasy writing at the moment. Immersion in the genre through handmade food is a
procrastination technique method writing exercise.
Anyway, one of the dessert ideas that stuck in my head was a wake-up cake for Snow White, so she wouldn’t have to wait for a kiss from some wayward prince. Chocolate espresso fudge is a sweeter awakening than insistent lips anyway. Add some spiced Granny Smith apples and melty chocolate morsels and this dessert is a masterpiece fit for royalty! I also mixed in some Post Cocoa Pebbles cereal to go along with the breakfast theme, but unfortunately the cereal didn’t stay crunchy and so it doesn’t add much to the texture. I recommend replacing it with something flavorful, such as chocolate covered dried fruit mixed into the batter.
While it is a refreshing bite cold from the fridge, I find this fudge cake most tasty warm, with the chocolate morsels melting at the slightest brush of the fork and the aroma of tart baked apple permeating the deep, barely sweet chocolate.
For those who like their chocolate cake a bit sweeter, I might add some additional sweetener by substituting a sweeter liquid for the yogurt in this recipe. I also accidentally used twice as much salt as the 1/2 teaspoon I had intended, but I don’t think it affected the taste noticeably, so use however much or little salt you prefer.
Snow White Fudge Apple Pie
Adapted from recipe on Add a Pinch
Makes one 9″ round cake/pie/thing
Serves about 8
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
- 1 packet Starbucks Via Veranda Blend
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (or use agave to increase sweet taste)
- 5.3 oz Greek 2% apple cinnamon flavored yogurt (or use regular yogurt for more sweetness)
- 7 fl. oz (one container) Früzinga brand honey vanilla drinkable yogurt (or use any other sweet liquid such as flavored milk, almond milk, etc.)
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup cocoa pebbles cereal (I recommend replacing this with dried fruit, nuts, chocolate-covered fruit, etc. for more flavor/texture contrast)
- 1 medium Granny Smith apple
- dash of cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- pinch of ginger
- 1/4 cup cocoa pebbles (or other mix-in/topping of choice)
- 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Nestle Toll House)
Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Line a 9″ cake pan with aluminum foil. Apply nonstick cooking spray.
Combine flour, cocoa, instant coffee, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.
Beat in egg with a fork.
Add maple, yogurts, and vanilla extract. Use a hand mixer on a medium speed to blend the batter.
Reduce mixing speed to low as you slowly add the boiling water to the batter.
Mix for about one minute on high. Batter should be thin.
Stir in your mix-ins (Cocoa Pebbles, dried fruit, etc.)
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for a total of about 30-35 minutes or until set, removing from oven after about 20 minutes to add topping before baking is finished.
Chop Granny Smith apple into small chunks. Toss with the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
After baking the cake at 350 Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle on the spice-coated apple pieces evenly. Add chocolate chips and your dried fruit or other mix-in (I used Cocoa Pebbles.) Then bake for another 10-15 minutes.
Serve this cake hot. After all, it has to replace an unconscious kiss and awaken a very sleepy Snow White…