Oat Bran Almond Brownies

July 1, 2011

My relationship with oat bran started a little something like this, “Hi. I know we just met but I love you will you marry me?!” Oat bran responded with a resounding “yes!” and we rode off into the sunset, just like that. Happily ever after. Me ‘n my bag of oat bran.

I still love oat bran but we’re experiencing a little interpersonal cabin fever – I’m using oat bran for the same kinds of almost healthy breakfasty baked something-or-others, and oat bran is getting a little sick of my looking at it the same way, all day, every day. I’ll never get tired of oat bran on waffles or with yogurt, but it’s time to be a little creative. And add a little sugar. Whenever I run into any sort of problem, food-related or otherwise, my first attempt at resolving it involves copious amounts of sugar. If that doesn’t cut it, I resort to other methods, like actual problem solving and maturity.

In this case, sugar was just the cure. Brown sugar, to be exact, and lots of it. Not to mention butter. And chocolate. And almonds. I was thrilled to find a brownie recipe using oat bran and ending up enjoying the finished product a mite too much. The brownies themselves aren’t very sweet (somehow, even with all the sugar) but are intensely chocolate-y with an interesting texture from the oat bran and almonds. I ended up eating way too many of them in one sitting, enthralled by the bits of oat bran in a brownie setting. I’m not sure the people with whom I shared these brownies enjoyed them as much as I did, so you might want to evaluate your relationship with oat bran before trying this recipe.

 

Oat Bran Almond Brownies

(Recipe adapted from Freelance Muses)

Yields one 13 by 9 inch pan of brownie, but halves nicely in an 8-inch square pan

Ingredients:

1 cup, or 2 sticks, unsalted butter plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and put aside

2 cups light brown sugar, packed

¾ cup unsweetened baking cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

4 eggs

½ cup whole wheat flour

1 cup oat bran

1 ¾ cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

1/3 to ½ cup slivered almonds

Optional: 2 to 3 teaspoons sea salt

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a baking pan by lining it with parchment, with an overhand on at least one side with which to lift out brownies once baked and cooled.

2. Melt together 1 cup butter and brown sugar, either in the microwave or over the stove on very low heat, being careful not to burn the butter. Mix until combined and smooth, then take off heat.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine melted butter/sugar mixture with baking cocoa, salt, baking powder, and both extracts. Mix until well combined.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition.

5. Add both flour and oat bran, stirring just until combined.

6. Fold in chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.

7. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Sprinkle slivered almonds over surface, then brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt, if using.

8. Bake brownies for 25 to 30 minutes, until top of brownies are dry and a cake tester comes out with moist crumbs attached.

9. Let brownies cool completely in pan, set over a wire rack, before slicing and serving.

Storage: Once brownies are cooled and sliced, keep covered at room temperature up to 3 days, or freeze for up to a month.

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