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I am a mom to twin boys, full-time employee of a telecommunications company and wife to a professional musician. I work, do yoga, cook and try to squeeze in DIY projects and spending time with friends.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Oatmeal Coco-Nutters

A rare recipe that I made almost entirely following the directions, and only changing one or two ingredients.  I never do that! 

These fall squarely into the 'yummy little treats' category.  Not dense enough to be called fudge, not thick enough to be cookies.  Kind of candy-like.  And good, definitely good.   I clipped this recipe as a part of my effort to give the kids something sweet in their lunch.  Parents seem to fall to one side or another on the treats/sweets continuum.  My mother was definitely no sweets... it was a shock for me to learn later in life that she was once known for a fantastic cheesecake recipe!  I never imagined my mom could make something so indulgent?!  On the other side of the spectrum are the kids whose lunches had Twinkes, Ho-Hos and all other sorts of mass produced dreck.  Yes, I felt deprived that I had no dreck, and spent many an allowance on candy from the deli on Governor Drive. 

As a parent, I am trying to save my kids from the candy binges of my childhood.  I try to include some treat in their lunch each day.  Might be a Hershey kiss, or a few chocolate covered berries, or something.  I make a lot of healthy-ish cookies and muffins for this effort too.  Hey, I like to bake and it means I get to eat some too!

This recipe, clipped from the Washington Post is in that vein.  Its not healthy per se, but there are a lot of worse things out there.  Isn't that what parenting is about... steering your kids away from the worst stuff?  And one recipe makes a ton of these little treats.  The crumbs left behind are delicious served over vanilla ice cream.  Mr. Unwired made an emergency ice cream run last night so we could test that scientific theory.  'Anything for science,' we always say!

The original:

Oatmeal Coco-Nutters
2 cups sugar
1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup whole or low fat milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
Pinch salt (do not omit- the recipe needs this)
1 cup chopped toasted almonds (could substitute other nuts or dried fruit)

1.  In a saucepan, combine sugar and butter until the butter is melted, stirring occassionally.  Stir in cocoa powder and milk (warning-- hot sugar is extremely hot, so add liquid slowly or reduce heat first to keep it from spattering like crazy).  When combined, increase heat to medium high and bring to just under a boil, so it looks like bubbly brown lava.  Remove from heat after five minutes.

2. Stir in the vanilla, then let the mixture cool for five minutes.  Stir in salt, oats and nuts and mix until everything is coated in cocoa goodness.

3. Using two teaspoons or a small scooper like this, scoop small spoonfulls of the gooeyness onto wax/parchment lined cookie sheets.  Leave them as balls or lumps- flat pieces will crumble in the lunch box later.  They can be close together on the sheet, since they won't spread as they cool. 

4.  Place in the fridge to harden for an hour or so.  They can be stored at room temperature- I prefer to put them in a large Ziploc bag in the freezer- the extra chill time gives them a better chance to hold together before lunchtime.  Who am I kidding... they probably get eaten in the gym before school!

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