Chocolate oatmeal...breakfast or dessert?

I've mentioned I love oatmeal.  I eat it regularly and I can have it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner - or as part of those meals.  I don't remember when or where I first saw this idea of chocolate oatmeal but I did see it once and then it started popping up everywhere I turned...that's rather typical, isn't it?  
Chocolate oatmeal: Steel-cut oatmeal cooked with a bit of cocoa powder
To tell you the truth, I wasn't sure I liked the idea.  I figured chocolate oatmeal was similar to something like chocolate rice pudding but the problem was, I haven't ever had that either!  I don't know...I couldn't really picture the flavor and I wasn't sure I wanted to mingle my oatmeal and chocolate together.  Both things are awesome on their own but maybe they should remain separate, savored individually?  I was curious though, and since I love oatmeal and I most certainly love chocolate, I wanted to give the combination a try.  And seeing this post from The Kitchn recently inspired me to make it sooner rather than later.  

So, have you had chocolate oatmeal?  If so, do you like it?  And would you say this is something to eat for breakfast or dessert?  I suppose it can be either or neither.  I had it for lunch, actually.  
Topped with a little bit of dark chocolate, hazelnuts, and almonds
I can tell you that at first bite, I thought: "mmm...well, this is pretty good!"  Despite appearances, I have to say that there really isn't anything too dramatic or even overly decadent going on here. As much as it looks like a very rich, almost sinful, chocolate pudding-like concoction, the base oatmeal is nothing more than my usual bowl of steel-cut oatmeal cooked in water.  A mere tablespoon or so of unsweetened cocoa powder transforms it into this dark, chocolate concoction, and I didn't have to use much more sweetener than I normally do...just about a tablespoon of honey for a cup of oats.

Then, you move on to toppings, however.  Real chocolate enters the picture but use restraint and it's nothing to feel guilty about.  I sprinkled no more than a third of an ounce of chocolate over my bowl of oatmeal and added some nuts - hazelnuts and almonds in this case.  I have to say the best part was spooning up and tasting this oatmeal with some bits of melting chocolate mixed in.  It once again shows that everything is better with chocolate - at least for us chocoholics!  Somehow, I managed to resist the urge to add more chocolate as I went along.
This was a fun trial.  I enjoyed it though I don't see myself eating this regularly.  I really enjoy my regular bowl of plain oatmeal, sweetened lightly with honey, and I eat chocolate every day (it makes me a better, calmer person).  I think I prefer to savor each separately but now that I know what the combination tastes like firsthand, I will say it's nice and I'd enjoy it once in while as a way to mix things up a little if I get tired of my usual routine (I'm pretty much a stickler for routine though).  


Personally, I prefer my oatmeal cooked in water, as opposed to milk.  I actually vaguely remember my grandmother making us oatmeal when I was a kid and I think she used a combination of water-milk and even added an egg to it!  I definitely like to stick with plain water and that's what I do for this chocolate, or cocoa, version.  Some people like to dress their cooked oatmeal up with a dash of milk or even cream, and you could certainly do that if that appeals to you.
I cooked a cup of steel-cut oats in roughly 4 cups of water for about 25 minutes.  That formula works well for me using McCann's steel-cut Irish oats. I like my oatmeal with a good amount of chew so I don't stir it constantly and particularly not in the beginning when there's plenty of liquid and less concern about scorching.  I also like it fairly thick, not soupy, and I find 25 minutes to be about the right amount of time to get it to that stage usually.  

It only takes 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa to turn our regular oatmeal into this decadent looking result.  For sweetness, I like to use honey and just about a tablespoon is enough for me with this pot of oatmeal.  My husband would like/need a little more.

How far you take the chocolate theme comes in the topping.  Add as much or as little as you like, maybe depending on whether you're having it for breakfast or dessert.  I used a minimal amount and I think a little goes a long way.  Nuts are always nice but one thing I like about steel-cut oatmeal is that inherent chew and bite it already has so I don't normally eat it with nuts.  But here, the extra crunch and flavor from the toasted nuts works really well with the chocolate. 
Here's to all the inventive ways to incorporate more chocolate into our lives!


Recipe:


Chocolate Steel-Cut Oatmeal
Adapted from The Kitchn

- For 2 to 4 servings - 

4 cups water

1 cup steel-cut oats (I particularly like McCann's Steel-Cut Irish Oatmeal)
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons (or to taste) sweetener of your choice (I use honey)

For topping
1-1 1/2 ounce dark chocolate, chopped
1-1 1/2 ounce roasted nuts, chopped (I used hazelnuts and almonds)
(Optional) Splash of milk or cream, if desired

Bring water to a rapid boil.  Stir in oats, cocoa powder, and salt.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered and stirring frequently (particularly after the first ten minutes to prevent scorching) for about 20-30 minutes or until oatmeal reaches your desired consistency and texture.  Remove from the heat and sweeten to taste.

Ladle into serving bowls and top with chopped dark chocolate and nuts. Serve immediately. 

Leftovers, without toppings, can be refrigerated and reheated later in the microwave or stove-top with a little bit of water.






44 comments:

  1. I think warm oatmeal is something that I haven't got used to. Well, I have been avoiding since first few times I tried close to 20 years ago, so it's hard to say how/if I like it now... It was my first American breakfast that my host mother made that I just couldn't eat. I thought I didn't like oatmeal so I avoided oatmeal cookies for the next 10 years (that was silly choice, now I love oatmeal cookies!). Looking at this chocolate oatmeal with toppings, I'm actually very tempted to try. It sounds good. I know it's about time to re-try... =P

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    1. Childhood dislikes can be hard to get over but sometimes you try it as an adult and it is nothing like you remembered. I do love oatmeal for some reason! : ) I wouldn't recommend you start your new oatmeal endeavor with a chocolate version though, Nami...that might be a little extreme. : )

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  2. I've never had chocolate oatmeal, but I'm pretty confident I would love it!

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    1. Isn't it a little crazy, Marie!? I had to go there and it's not really as odd as I thought.

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  3. Oh Monica! I have no clue what your talking about this oatmeal looks great :) very creamy and I just love the texture. I never thought you could use steel cut oats to make chocolate oatmeal. I am just so stuck on the rolled oats. Lovely recipe :)

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    1. haha. I used to get the old fashioned rolled oats for oatmeal but tried steel cut once on vacation and never looked back. So good. I'd read that to save on time and get a mixture of texture, you can try mixing 50/50 with it. It sounds like a great idea.

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  4. I think chocolate oatmeal sounds fun for an occasional sweet cereal, Monica! Your photos and description certainly make me want to give it a try! For some reason, sweet cereal has always been a dessert item at my house. My kids preferred plain steel cut oatmeal, Cheerios and Wheat Chex to the sugary stuff. I know you said that you didn't sweeten yours much but I think I would prefer if chocolate oatmeal was sweet and eaten as a filling snack.

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    1. Definitely a good occasional sweet cereal - or a good experiment like in my case. : ) I suppose oatmeal is so bland on its own, it's not too hard to imagine how it'd taste with the cocoa and chocolate but I just had to try it to satisfy my curiosity. I like your 'go hard or go home' attitude with sweetening it! : )

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  5. Wow very interesting! I love oatmeal too but never thought of trying it with cocoa. I need to try this! And I don't like it too sweet either, so I like the idea of using just a little honey. Thanks for the great idea!

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    1. I am hoarding my farmer's market honey for my oatmeal...down to my last jar...May can't come quick enough for me to restock! ; )

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  6. I haven't had chocolate oatmeal but based on these pictures it looks delicious and creamy! I love hot oatmeal, like, I tried cold and sigh I don't know, maybe it's because I'm not used to cold. But I have had it for breakfast lunch AND dinner so I totally understand! I just bought a ton of oatmeal so I'm going to try some of this out!

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    1. A crazy little idea for you then, Jessica! : ) I like a cold crunchy cereal but not cold or lukewarm oatmeal. I like it piping hot. I usually put it in a tight soup crock to eat so it stays hot longer! I hope you give it a shot...I wonder what you'd think.

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  7. I would be very willing to try chocolate oatmeal for breakfast...or dessert! :) ela

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  8. Hi Monica, I have to tell you I was a little skeptical myself, but after reading through the ingredients list everything looks pretty healthy. Moderation in the toppings right? That's where I will Have my trouble. Looks delicious!

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    1. Hi Cheri - yes, I really think it's how you sweeten it and how much chocolate (and even nuts) you load up on. : ) I was impressed with myself for being able to hold back...but really, I was reserving my chocolate allotment for later in the day...I like some treats at night!

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  9. I love Oatmeal and eat it all the time, but have never tried chocolate oatmeal. I know chocolate and oats go well together. I make those kind of cookies all the time. I'm thinking would be a good dessert. I've gotta try it!

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    1. Same here, Cindy. I was wondering if it would be okay with steel-cut and I liked it more than I thought I would. Make a little and see what you think one day...

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  10. I've never tried chocolate oatmeal, but I like oatmeal and I like chocolate so I think I'd love this. It looks terrific and the topping must add a wonderful crunch!
    Happy Friday!

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    1. Yes, the extra crunch, not to mention swirls of chocolate, make it a nice bite! : )

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  11. I've never had chocolate oatmeal, but it sounds pretty good! Chocolate and oats are some of my favorites so I can't imagine not liking it : ) Although I agree - I don't know if I would consider it breakfast or dessert!

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    1. Definitely more a fun thing to try to mix things up or just see what it's all about. Kind of weird but kind of good...

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  12. I've added a few chocolate chips to oatmeal before, but it was no where near this chocolaty. It looks wonderful!

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    1. I've always been the 'draw within the lines' kind of person so I've never been adventurous enough to do that...kind of surprised I never thought of it given how much I love chocolate! : )

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  13. I'd love to have this chocolate oatmeal for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, during the middle of the night, walking down the street, really any time. LOOKS DELICIOUS!

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    1. Middle of the night snack might just be the perfect way to have this!

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  14. I would eat this as dessert! My husband loves oatmeal with milk and bananas for the dinner. This looks really delicious, Monica.

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    1. Yes, dessert sounds good to me, too! : )

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  15. I've never had chocolate oatmeal before, but with that delicious chocolate + roasted nuts topping, I don't know how you could go wrong!

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    1. Thanks, Alyssa! It isn't half bad.. : )

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  16. This sounds fun as a sort of special occasion oatmeal for when I want something decadent! I can just see the.boy mixing M&Ms into his bowl!

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    1. You crack me up! M&Ms!! Love that...haha. I have to confess I was totally daydreaming yesterday thinking maybe I should've tried it with a swirl of Nutella!

      I did mix in some espresso powder at the end (heated it up, etc.) and I'm glad I stuck with just chocolate...it would need more sugar to sweeten in a mocha version and I want just chocolate here. Nutella though...

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  17. I love oatmeal but have never tried adding chocolate - it sounds like a great change from my usual with honey too :) I love how you added roasted nuts and dark chocolate pieces for the topping - it looks delicious with so many fun flavors and textures in one bowl! Thanks for sharing a great new breakfast idea Monica, chocolate and oats are always a good thing :) Hope you have a fantastic weekend my friend :)

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    1. Hi Kelly! Sweet of you to find time to stop by with the new addition - thank you!
      I had to give this thing a try...not bad at all though I wouldn't eat it very often since I like the two (chocolate & oatmeal) separately savored...Fun though! Have a good weekend - rest up and take care!

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  18. Have you ever tried chocolate nips? I bet that these would go really good on top. I say it is always interesting to try new things as you don't know until you do. I am a big oatmeal fan and eat it on most mornings.

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    1. Chocolate nips, the hard candy? I don't think I have...
      I totally agree..it's interesting and fun to try something you never have before!

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  19. Mmm, look at the indulgent nut and chocolate topping! Can I join the chocolate oatmeal fan club Monica? :-)

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    1. haha - yes...the topping is the fun part...and please join the club. : )

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  20. Monica, this looks fantastic: something my kids would look forward to everytime!

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  21. I cannot believe I never even thought of adding chocolate to my oatmeal before! I know I would love it, because, what's not to love?? And you can be sure I'll be adding extra chocolate toppings :-) Also, I much prefer cooking oatmeal in water too. I find it gives a lighter texture and the milk can sometimes make it a little stodgy. Anyway, gorgeous breakfast idea!

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    1. I hear you. I heard Jamie Oliver say the same - cooking with milk can make a mess and the texture is just too goopy (or something). I was wondering how I'd never been tempting to add chocolate to my oatmeal before too when I started thinking about it. It might be time to try it, Aimee, and see what you think! ; )

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  22. I have a tendency to eat oatmeal with Nutella so I can understand why u r so keen beans on this chocolatey breakfast :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. You're a genius. : ) I was thinking afterwards about Nutella in here..I think that's why I choose the hazelnuts. I'm sure that's delicious...too delicious, maybe, if that's possible...

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