Oat base brownies

Oat based brownies

These brownies are absolutely nothing like what they should have been.

The recipe I was following, from Brown Eyed Baker, should have resulted in a triple layer bar, with an oat base, fudgy chocolate middle and oaty crumble topping.

Sadly as soon as I poured the melted butter into the oat mix, I knew it wasn’t to be, as there was no way it ever would have made a crumble, there was just too much liquid and it came together into more of a cookie dough, which is why I ended up pressing all of it into the base and just baking the fudgy brownie layer on top.

I don’t doubt that the original recipe works, I think perhaps something got lost in translation from cup sizes to grams, but if I were to make them again I think using the traditional method of rubbing butter into flour, rather than melting it, would get a result much closer to a crumble.

In the end it didn’t really matter, they still tasted great and went down well both with the pony and with people at work – the crunchy base adds a nice texture contrast to the super fudgy brownie, and chocolate and brown sugar can never really be a bad combination!

Oat base brownies (adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

For the base

  • 100g oats
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 90g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 110g butter, melted

For the brownie

  • 50g brown sugar
  • 30g plain flour
  • 2 tsp instant coffee
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 30g butter
  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 1 egg

To make the base, mix the oats, flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl then pour in the melted butter and stir to combine. Press the mixture into the base of an 8×8″ square tin lined with baking paper and bake at 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and starting to crisp up. Leave to cool completely.

To make the brownie layer, melt the chocolate and butter together over a pan of simmering water, then remove from the heat and whisk in the egg. Fold in the  sugar, flour, coffee and salt, then spread on top of the oat base and bake for a further 25 minutes, until just set with a crisp papery top. Leave to cool before removing from the tin and slicing into squares.

Strawberry and blueberry crumbles for two

I am literally obsessed with bargain shopping.

I used to stick to the ‘it’s only a good deal if you really need it’ motto, but not anything and everything that has a reduction sticker on it goes into the shopping trolley.

So naturally, when I found a punnet of blueberries originally £4 for 65p, and strawberries originally £1.50 for 55p, I couldn’t resist.

For the most part they were perfectly fine to just eat fresh, but a few of the strawberries were starting to look a little past their best, so I decided to whip up a couple of quick, individual crumbles for a really easy weeknight dessert.

This is so ridiculously easy that it may become a bit of a regular habit whenever I see bargain fruits, particularly when it’s as miserable and rainy as it has been this week…

Strawberry and blueberry crumbles for two

  • 125g strawberries
  • 100g blueberries
  • 15g butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 15g demerera sugar
  • 15g rolled oats

Hull and quarter the strawberries, then mix with the blueberries and divide between two small ramekins. Rub together the butter and flour to form a rough breadcrumb-like mix, then stir in the sugar and oats and sprinkle on top of the fruit. Bake at 180 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until the crumble is golden and the juice is bubbling up at the sides. We had ours with custard but ice cream would be delicious too!

No-bake chocolate oat bars

I don’t know if it shows from reading this blog, but a lot of things I make involve  ‘bars’, chocolate and/or oats.

The reason for this is the friendly pony’s need for sustenance at work, in the form of something sweet, easy to eat, and that won’t get destroyed by being carried around in a bag all day.

These bars are absolutely perfect for that, as in addition to having everything mentioned above, they are also unbelievably simple to make!

Essentially, they are flapjacks that don’t need baking, with a nutty chocolate mixture spread on top – laden with calories, just what the greedy friendly pony likes.

No bake chocolate oat bars (adapted from Gingerbread Bagels):

  • 1/2 cup packed muscovado sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 75g dark chocolate
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup Nutella

Line an 8×8″ square tin with baking paper, no need to grease. Heat the butter and sugar together over a low heat until the butter has melted. Stir in the oats and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. Spread the mixture into the tin and flatten down with a wooden spoon or bottom of a measuring cup.

Break up the chocolate and place in a bowl with the peanut butter and Nutella (the original recipe uses just peanut butter, but I didn’t have enough which is why I went for half and half – peanut butter on it’s own or Nutella on it’s own would both work fine!) Microwave in 15 second bursts, stirring in between, until the chocolate has just melted – be careful not to let it burn! Pour onto the oaty base, then chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours before slicing into bars.