Oatmeal is one of the healthiest breakfasts you can eat, and I usually like to keep the toppings pretty simple. But once in a while, why not make it just a little indulgent? Adding rich espresso and cocoa powder – and just a few nuts and chocolate chips on top – combines my morning bowl of oatmeal with my favorite winter drink, the mocha.
The espresso and cocoa powder give the oatmeal lots of rich flavor, and a few chocolate chips on top just puts it over the top. And because we like a little something crunchy with our oatmeal – indulgent or not – we added a few chopped nuts. We suggest mixed nuts for extra crunch, but plain almonds or cashews would work as well.
I love my morning oatmeal, but I get stuck in my same old routine of plain oats with maple syrup and milk. So I've had my eye on Joanna's recipe for a while. It's barely more work than regular oatmeal (just add some espresso and cocoa), and the crunchy topping of nuts and chocolate was a seductive little treat for a cold winter morning.
This came together so easily and quickly. I like my oats fairly al dente, so I only cooked it for 20 minutes. The cocoa and coffee flavors were just right — not overpowering — and the oatmeal wasn't too sweet either.
And, like any steel-cut oatmeal, this is very good the next day. Just warm in the microwave or on the stove with a little extra milk to thin it out. If you like a little chocolate with your breakfast, this is a great pick.
3 cups water
1 cup steel-cut oats
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar or agave nectar
1/4 cup roasted mixed nuts
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Milk or cream, to serve
Bring water to a boil. Stir in oats, espresso, cocoa powder, and salt. Bring back to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the oats reach your desired tenderness. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar or agave nectar.
Meanwhile, while the oatmeal is cooking, roughly chop the mixed nuts and chocolate chips. Mix them in a small serving bowl.
When the oatmeal is ready, serve hot with milk or cream on the side, and sprinkled liberally with the nut and chocolate topping.
Updated from recipe originally published January 2010.