You know what I realized this week? I have no idea why Halloween is celebrated or what the history behind it is.
To me, Halloween has always been about one thing and one thing alone: the candy. But as exciting as candy is, I decided it was about time I found out what Halloween is really all about.
So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to take you on a magical tour back in time…
Our story starts around 2000 years ago with the ancient Celtic festival of ‘Samhain’, which was held on November 1 every year.
Actually, our story starts the night before. It was believed that on the night before Samhain, the dead came back as ghosts. People left food and wine on their doorsteps to ward off these roaming spirits. And a person couldn’t just leave the house wearing anything! Whenever a person the house, he or she would wear a mask – this would trick the ghosts into thinking the person was a fellow spirit.
Presumably ghosts wouldn’t harm one of their own.
Fast forward to the 8th Century.
The Christian Church turned Samhain into ‘All Saints Day’ – or ‘All Hallows’. The Church renamed quite a few pagan festivals (even Christmas – it’s celebrated in December because the Church renamed Yule). But – while interesting – that’s not important to this story.
The important thing is: the night before Samhain became ‘All Hallows Eve’, which was later shortened to ‘Halloween’.
So that’s how we got the name. But our story doesn’t end there.
There’s another important question to answer: What’s up with trick-or-treating?
Trick-or-treating has its historical roots in Medieval Britain. On ‘All Souls Day’ – November the 2nd – those in need would beg for ‘Soul Cakes’, a type of pastry. In return, they’d pray for people’s dead relatives. This practice was called ‘Souling’.
Another medieval tradition was ‘Guising’, which involved young people dressing up in costumes and accepting food, wine, money and other goodies in exchange for singing, telling jokes or reciting poetry.
(Just to be clear: Reciting poetry was considered a good thing, and not just something you had to suffer through in English class).
Now we move across the Atlantic to 19th Century America. Irish and Scottish immigrants revived all of these old traditions, and the result was trick-or-treating. However, there was far more emphasis on the ‘tricks’ than the ‘treats’. The tricks involved pranks, hjinks and all sorts of stuff I wouldn’t like done to my house.
Halloween didn’t become candy-centered and kid-friendly until the 1950s. Since then it’s grown into a very big industry, with people spending oodles and oodles of money on costumes, decorations, haunted houses, and – of course – candy.
(Information source: History.com)
All of that brings me to today’s recipe, which is the last one for of ‘Candy Week’ (in case you missed it, it’s been Candy Week on the blog).
I’ve saved the best for last with this breakfast, which is a baked oatmeal version of my favorite candy, Peanut Butter Cups!
If you like Peanut Butter Cups, chocolate, peanut butter or just like food, then I highly recommend – for your own good – that you try this breakfast. It’s chocolate baked oatmeal with a creamy peanut butter center. And it’s my definition of heaven (which is a bit weird for Halloween, but whatever).
This baked oatmeal is also vegan, refined sugar-free, and gluten-free (if you use certified GF oats).
I maintain that real secret of this oatmeal is the banana – it adds creaminess to the filling, and a kind-of-cakey, kind-of-fudgy texture to the oats. I couldn’t taste the banana at all, but if you’re really against bananas or something, I’d recommend using either applesauce or pumpkin as a substitute (you’ll probably need to add more maple syrup though). Please note that I’ve only tested this recipe with mashed banana.
So, I hope you’ve enjoyed Candy Week! And Happy Week-Before-Halloween!
- 1 very ripe banana
- 3 - 4 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup almond milk
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- Grease two small ramekins. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Cut off one-quarter of the banana and mash it in a small bowl. Add the peanut butter, and mix well. Place the mixture in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the oatmeal.
- In a bowl, mash the remaining three-quarters of the banana thoroughly. Mix in the cocoa powder, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Add the milk and stir well.
- Add the rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and mix until combined.
- Assemble the peanut butter cups by layering the mixtures: Divide (approximately) half of the chocolate mixture between the prepared ramekins. Take the peanut butter mixture out of the fridge and divide it between the ramekins, placing a scoop of peanut butter mixture in the middle of each ramekin. Divide the remaining chocolate mixture between the ramekins, covering the peanut butter filling.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. If removing the baked oatmeals from the ramekins, allow them to cool for 5 minutes first. Enjoy!