Christmas Dessert- No Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Squares

Christmas was a bit weird this year…no snow, no decorations, no school Christmas concerts. No build up of any kind really.

We finished school on the 14th of December and December 25th crept up and all the sudden it was Christmas.

I was lying on a beach on Christmas Eve….

Being away from family and friends, we knew, would mean a very different Christmas for us, and we were ok with that. What we didn’t expect was to meet people who have become our family abroad. People who we share so many experiences with and who we can celebrate holidays with and have that little taste of home.

What I have enjoyed even more is seeing how those who are not from Canada/USA process some of our traditions. For example, when you want to watch A Muppet’s Christmas Carol with your Middle Eastern and French friends and they stare at your blankly and say “What is a…muppet?” You realize that not everyone celebrates the same way.

Our wonderful friends Darren and Leanne offered to host Christmas dinner a few days after we all arrived home from traveling. We had all the traditional things- turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, veggies. It was great!

I was in charge of dessert- our friend Hassan calls me “the sweet woman” because I make good sweets. Thanks Hassan- I like to think I do a pretty good job.

I wanted something easy to make and serve (since we all have only 6 sets of dishes in our school issued houses) and something that could use up the boat load of oatmeal that I bought for a recipe that only required 1 cup. (Got to free up space in my micro-kitchen you know)

I found this recipe on Pinterest and immediately knew it was the one.

No Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Squares

Chocolate- good, Peanut butter-good, butter- good, oats- really good!

Its a no bake recipe, but you will still need your stove to cook the base. Really this recipe could not have been easier!

I measured out 2 cups of butter and 1 cup of brown sugar and put it in a pot on my stove.

No Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Squares

Now let’s just take a moment and talk about the amount of butter I have bought since I moved to the UAE. I can’t even count the number of sticks…I buy multiples of butter every time I go to the grocery store. What am I making? I never bought butter at home….

But I digress.

I let the butter and sugar melt together and then added in 2 tsp of vanilla and 6 cups of rolled oats and mixed and cooked it for 2-3 minutes. I read that the longer you cook it, the harder the base will get. So if you want a soft, chewy base, undercook it. If you want a crisp base, cook it maybe a minute or two longer.

No Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Squares

I spread half the oat layer into a parchment paper lined 9×13 pan and pressed it firmly down.

No Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Squares

Next, I measured 2 cups of chocolate chips and 1 cup of peanut butter into a microwave safe bowl and melted that together in short 10 second bursts stirring in between so that I didn’t scald or seize the chocolate.

No Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Squares

When that is all deliciously gooey, pour it over the first layer and spread evenly.

No Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Squares

Take the rest of the oat layer and spread it on top of the chocolate layer. I did not leave enough oat layer to totally cover the top so mine looked a little more like a crumble topping rather than a oatmeal bar top.

No Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Squares

I let this sit in my fridge for a few hours to firm up before I cut into squares.

No Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Squares

The Verdict- These are delicious and chocolaty and buttery. In fact, the next time I make these I think I would cut back the butter to 1.5 cups rather than the full 2 because they were REALLY buttery….but all in all they were a hit and I would totally make them again if I needed a quick, easy to serve dessert.

Chocolate Black Bean Cupcakes

I am the black sheep of the family when it comes to food.

I eat very differently from everyone else and they often stare at me with a look of disgust when I explain some of the things we eat….and then they look at Andrew with a distinct look of pity. “What is she making you eat?!?” is written across their faces and sometimes they even say it out loud.

But I am not easily deterred…

Good thing because I would have never found this gem of a recipe and believe me, when you try these cupcakes, you will never go back to regular cupcakes again. Seriously…these are incredible AND healthy AND delicious. What more could you ask for?

Chocolate Black Bean Cupcakes

I originally made these cupcakes for my uncle’s birthday. He was recently diagnosed with diabetes and is trying to limit his sugar intake as well as up his fiber intake (music to my ears). I wanted him to have a treat without having to compromise his healthy eating plan. I have always wanted to make black bean cupcakes/brownies/cake, so I figured this was the perfect time to try it. I made them a day early and forced Andrew to be my tester. If they were REALLY bad, I would go and buy a not so healthy dessert and no one would be any the wiser (and Andrew would have only had to suffer through one cupcake).

And just so you know- I have made these cupcakes 4 times for my family since my uncle’s May 1st birthday. Here is what is interesting and vindicating all at the same time- everyone makes fun of me for eating the way I do, they crinkle up their noses and ask Andrew how he can possibly survive all this weird stuff….but when someone needs a healthy dessert, who do they come running to? Me! Healthy, fiber-loving, sugar-limiting, hiding-veggies-in-other-things me.

Chocolate Black Bean Cupcakes

To make these cupcakes you will need to preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners. The first time I made these I just sprayed my pan and poured the batter right in…but they were VERY hard to get out. Go with the liners, it just makes everything so much easier.

In a blender mix together the following things until very smooth.

  • 1 can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda

In a separate bowl whip the following ingredients until smooth

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 7 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 eggs

Pour the honey/coconut oil mixture into the blender and blend until completely smooth, scraping down the sides to make sure that everything is mixed together well.

Pour the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. I usually start checking around the 15 minute mark so that they do not over bake.

Once cooled you can ice with any type of icing you like or serve with a little whipped cream and berries. These are awesome just plain, but be aware they are a rich dark chocolate flavor (because there is so little honey and absolutely no sugar) so if you want just a little hint of sweetness (since they are so healthy) a small dollop of icing won’t hurt you.

Chocolate Black Bean Cupcakes

The verdict- I’d like to think my dad would have taken a bite of one of these, chewed it thoughtfully, nodded his head and said “hmmm, these are actually good.” and then proceed to eat 2 or 3 as the night went on. They are a guilt free way to have a treat and feel like you are indulging without really indulging. And an added bonus- these are gluten free too. I know I will be making these again…and like I said, I may never make a regular cupcake again.