Baked oatmeal filled with chocolate and peanut butter à la buckeye brownies. Gluten-free and vegan.
I have never lived in nor visited Ohio. But I’ve always imagined that every four years the Buckeye State turns into an extended episode of Twilight Zone as people attempt to escape the onslaught of political ads, over-zealous campaigners and candidates.
When faced with electoral madness, I suspect the only reasonable thing to do is turn off the TV, stay inside and eat some peanut butter.
And that brings me to today’s recipe, which is all about peanut butter, chocolate and Ohio.
If you’re unfamiliar with the sweet treat, a buckeye brownie is a chocolate brownie topped with a peanut butter ‘buckeye’ filling, which is then topped with a peanut butter and chocolate glaze. In other words, it’s heaven.
The peanut butter filling is essentially the same mixture that makes the center of a buckeye candy – a buckeye candy being a variant of a peanut butter cup. From what I can gather, the main differences between buckeyes and peanut butter cups are:
- Buckeyes are round (like the nut that grows on the buckeye tree)
- Buckeyes contain quite a lot of butter, as well as peanut butter
- While buckeyes are mostly coated in chocolate, some of the peanut butter filling is exposed
Candy is a tricky business, people.
This baked oatmeal is my attempt to convert buckeye brownies into a reasonably healthy breakfast.
On the bottom is a chocolate brownie baked oatmeal, which is moist and fudgy due to the pumpkin puree (oh, how I adore pumpkins!). It’s also sweetened with maple syrup rather than sugar. Partly because maple syrup is supposedly healthier than sugar, but mostly because I love maple syrup as much as I love pumpkins.
Next, is the peanut butter baked oatmeal. In this layer, applesauce replaces butter and dates are used instead of sugar (I used dried dates instead of medjool, since they’re cheaper). I’ve tried this recipe using both Peanut Butter & Co’s Smooth Operator* and PB2 (mixed with water) with good results. However – not surprisingly – the real peanut butter undoubtedly tastes better.
*I have received products courtesy of Peanut Butter & Co.
Finally, there’s the top layer of the baked oatmeal: a few tablespoons of the the brownie layer mixed with a couple of teaspoons of peanut butter.
And I just realized I made this recipe sound a million times more complicated than it is. Good going, me.
By the way, while baked oatmeals always look prettier out of the ramekins, I wouldn’t bother with it. The effort of waiting for the oatmeal to cool slightly, inverting them onto plates, and then turning them the right way around – generally speaking, that’s too much fuss for my liking (unless I feel like taking tons of pictures – such as with this recipe).
Question of the Day
What’s your favorite type of brownie? Chocolate fudge? Buckeye? Raspberry? Cheesecake swirl?
So. Many. Brownies.
- For the peanut butter layer
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons applesauce
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons almond milk
- 2 (dried) dates, finely chopped
- ⅓ cup rolled oats
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
For the chocolate layer
- ½ cup pumpkin or squash puree
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup rolled oats
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- ⅓ cup almond milk
- 2 teaspoons peanut butter
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease two ramekins.
- Make the peanut butter layer: In a small bowl, mix together the peanut butter, applesauce, vanilla extract, almond milk and chopped dates. Stir in the rolled oats and baking powder.
- Make the chocolate layer: In a medium-sized (or large) bowl, combine the butternut squash puree, cocoa powder, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix in the rolled oats, baking powder and salt. Add the almond milk, and mix until well combined.
- Divide the chocolate layer between the prepared ramekins – reserving two heaping tablespoons of the batter. Stir the two teaspoons of peanut butter into the reserved batter, and set aside.
- Divide the peanut butter layer between the ramekins, placing it on top of the chocolate mixture. Top with the reserved chocolate mixture.
- Bake for 18 to 25 minutes. A shorter baking time (18 - 20 minutes) will yield a soft, fudgy oatmeal, whereas a longer baking time (22 - 25 minutes) will result in a firmer, slightly chewy oatmeal. If removing the baked oatmeals from the ramekins, allow them to cool for 5 minutes first. Enjoy!
I used dried dates (the smaller ones), not medjool dates.