Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Way back in 2013, when I discovered my beloved funky monkey baked oatmeal, I commented on the wrong-feelingness of eating chocolate in the morning (and, indeed, 75% of the time I’ve made that recipe since, I’ve omitted the chocolate and coconut so it’s just banana-peanut butter), and speculated about using cocoa powder so that the base of the oatmeal itself was chocolaty, instead of being studded with chocolate chips. I never bothered to follow up on this idea, or I would have seen that my trusted baked oatmeal recipe source, Budget Bytes, already had a chocolate banana version in its archives. I only spotted it recently, while posting about banana coconut baked oatmeal, and I immediately knew it was the next logical step in my breakfast journey.

It’s hardly shocking to reveal that this oatmeal is objectively delicious, but I was still surprised that I enjoyed it so much. I’ve never been one to crave chocolate cake for breakfast, even in my carefree youth, so it took a few bites to overcome the twin disconnects of (a) eating something that looked and smelled like a brownie at 8 a.m., and (b) eating something that looked and smelled like a brownie but was barely sweet. Once I recalibrated my senses, however, I loved how the deep flavor of the cocoa shone through (use a good-quality cocoa powder, because it’s going to be the main flavor here), and how I felt fully as satisfied and energized until lunchtime as I do from any other oatmeal. If you do actually hunger for dessert first thing in the morning, this may be a good way to trick yourself into thinking you’re indulging. For me, it’s another fun riff to add to my baked oatmeal rotation.

The original recipe suggested a number of possible add-ins, including coconut and peanut butter, but to make sure I got plenty of protein to carry me through the morning, I went with sliced almonds. I toasted them for added flavor, but they still got largely overshadowed by the blast of cocoa. I appreciated their crunch, however, so they’ll be making a return appearance.

3 large or 4 medium ripe bananas
2 large eggs
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 cups milk
2½ cups old-fashioned oats
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mash enough bananas to make 1½ cups.
  3. To the bowl of mashed bananas, add the eggs, cocoa powder (I like to sift this in to eliminate lumps), brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Whisk together until smooth. Add the milk and whisk again. Make sure there are no clumps of cocoa powder. Stir the oats and almonds into the bowl.
  4. Coat the inside of an 8-by-8-inch casserole dish with nonstick spray. Pour the oat mixture into the pan.
  5. Place the oats in the oven and bake for about 50 minutes, or until firm. Cut into six pieces and serve warm, with milk.
Serves: 6
Time: 1 hour
Leftover potential: Great. Oatmeal will keep for a week in a covered container; reheat individual pieces in the microwave each morning.

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