Chocolate chip baked oatmeal jazzed up with cherries and almond extract. Vegan and gluten free
Well, there’s no escaping it now: Valentine’s Day is upon us. Which means another excuse to eat chocolate the whole day (not that I need an excuse).
As I mentioned last week, at this stage I’m fairly indifferent to Saint Valentine’s Day. I don’t love it – it often seems too schmaltzy and tacky – but I don’t hate it either. Maybe things will change in ten years when I’m still single. Then I may go on an annual anti-Valentine’s Day rampage and destroy every flower and oversized balloon in sight.
But for now, it’s just like any other day. Except I’ll probably raid my not-so-secret chocolate stash.
Since I love to celebrate anything and everything with a themed breakfast, today’s baked oatmeal is all about chocolate and cherries.
The ‘base’ for this baked oatmeal is made from frozen cherries blended with almond milk. I almost always use frozen cherries if they’re being blended/pureed, as the fresh ones are just so expensive. And out-of-season 51 weeks a year.
While I kept the almond extract fairly mild, go ahead and increase it if you’re a fan. Almond extract is a strong flavor and reminiscent of marzipan. Some people love it and some people hate it (a bit like marzipan, I suppose).
Then come the mix-ins! Chocolate chips are mandatory. I used dark chocolate chips, although milk or even white chocolate would be A-OK.
For a stronger cherry taste, I recommend adding some chopped cherries (fresh or frozen). Otherwise, slivered almonds add some welcome crunchiness.
You know, Monday is Presidents’ Day (also called Washington’s Birthday). And George Washington is often associated with cherries, due to that story about him chopping down his father’s cherry tree.
So – as weird as it sounds – this breakfast could celebrate either Valentine’s Day or Presidents’ Day.
Or it may just be a way to eat chocolate for breakfast.
- ⅓ cup frozen cherries
- ¼ cup almond milk
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- 1-2 tablespoons chocolate chips
- Optional mix-ins: Chopped cherries, slivered almonds and/or dried cherries
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a small ramekin.
- Use a blender to puree the frozen cherries and almond milk. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl.
- Add the rolled oats, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract and almond extract. Mix until well combined.
- Stir in the chocolate chips and any extra mix-ins. Transfer the oatmeal batter to the prepared ramekin.
- Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until the top is dry and a little bit firm when touched.
I used dark chocolate chips, although milk, semi-sweet or white chocolate chips should all be fine.