Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Oatmeal is good for you...

...even if it's in a chocolate chip snack cake.  Hah.  Keep saying it over and over to yourself, and you might begin to believe it.  Actually, it's better for you than one of those icky store bought mixes that pass for cake. 

I must confess, I'm not a baker.  It's not that I don't know how to bake - I've made my fair share of tortes, mousse, buche de noels, and various and sundry cakes, cookies, and pies...I just prefer cooking.  I am guilty of buying a mix if the family wants cake, simply because I lack the passion to make it from scratch.  However, there is one exception.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Snack Cake!

I always tell myself "it's good for you!" as I cut a slice and chow down.  And it is, I guess.  Still sweet and chocolately, but it's sweet and chocolatey goodness made from oats.  Did I mention it's easy?  Did I also mention you don't even need a mixer? No? I didn't? hrm, I must be slipping.  You don't need a mixer, and it's super easy to make! There.  Now get out all your ingredients and read on.

Ingredients: (Printable recipe HERE)

3 eggs
1 stick of butter
1 cup brown sugar (packed) (Packed means you pack it down lightly with your fingers)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup rolled oats (This can be any kind of oats - in a pinch, if you have a hankering for the cake, but are out of the canister of oats, you can use the instant microwave oatmeal in a pouch.  Just try not to get too much of the sugary powder in the measuring cup - I've used maple brown sugar with good success - 3 pouches = about a cup)
1 3/4 cup boiling water
2 TB cocoa powder (This is not your powdered chocolate milk mix like Quik or Swiss Miss.  This is unsweetened cocoa powder.  HUGE difference)
12 oz. package chocolate chips (This can be any kind of chocolate chip - milk, semisweet, mini, chunky, who cares? whatever is in your cupboards will do)
3/4 cup chopped pecans (You can use any kind of nut you have in the house except perhaps peanuts.  Walnuts, hazelnuts will also work well in this recipe.  Heck, you could even combine whatever you have!)
3/4 cup coconut (*optional)

1.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Get out a 9 x 13" baking pan and spray with non stick cooking spray.

2.  Pour the boiling water into a large mixing bowl.  Add the oats.  Cut the butter up into 8 pieces and throw it into the bowl.  Let the whole thing sit for ten minutes while you go do something fun.

before adding the butter
after adding the butter
3.  Now, the butter should be melted, and the oatmeal should have absorbed some of the water.  Get a whisk, and add the eggs - whisk well, making sure the yolks are broken.  Add the sugars and vanilla, and whisk again.  (You really just need to make sure the eggs are slightly beaten, and all the ingredients are well combined.  You don't need to kill the batter)

4.  Take out a scraper - (you know, those rubber thingies you scrape the bowl with to get out every last bit of gooey goodness) Add the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder, and mix well.  Fold (remember that term?)  in HALF of the chips, and HALF of the nuts.  If you are using coconut, put ALL the coconut in.  

5.  Put into the greased 9 x 13" pan, and sprinkle the top of the batter with the remaining chips and nuts.
before baking

6.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, or until either a) a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (unless of course, you've hit a chocolate chip) or the top springs back when you lightly touch it. 
Cool on a wire rack.  It serves 16 generously.
hahaha.  Ben looking longingly at the cake

  (Here's a piece cut, with my son in the background waiting for me to take the pic so he can devour the cake.  Luckily the cake is hiding his mouth.  He's probably drooling for its yummy goodness.)

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