Leah Cooks Brown Butter Chocolate Oatmeal from NYT Cooking

You guys, I keep trying to make breakfast happen for my family.

My kids, if given their druthers (they’re usually not because “Ugh Mom why do you hafta make us like HEALTHY STUFF??”), would much rather wolf down a couple of bowls of Lucky Charms Frosted Flakes (no, I did not make that up. Yes, there is such a thing as BOTH in ONE BOX. Endocrinologists of the world, rejoice!) each morning before school. But my kids also know that, when given their druthers, they wind up exhausted and cranky by nine o’clock, and that’s usually the time they’re headed into math or gym or their weekly mass at school (they love that last part no, no, not so much) or somewhere equally important that requires a focused child and not one who’s daydreaming about what would happen if sweater lint grew legs.

So on a snow day recently, I saw a friend share this recipe and decided to try it. The kids sort-of-kind-of liked it (“Mom? Can I have more sugar?”), and it made so much that I ended up having leftovers for the next three days. Which was a total win for me, because this breakfast is so up my alley: a little sweet. Really filling. And–and!–you can top it with whatever you have lying around the house. I almost threw in chocolate chips, but you’ll be happy to know I drew the line somewhere.

(If you think our kids come by their sweets addictions honestly, yes.)

So, win for me. As for the kids? They still really, really like those Lucky Charms Frosted Flakes, Lord help me. Can’t say I really blame them, but also don’t tell them I said that.

And if you’re wondering what David eats for breakfast: a banana. Wolfed down, over the kitchen sink. I am a lone ship over here.

Caveat: this recipe seems to take FOREVER to make (at any rate, way longer than it takes to pour some LCFF into a bowl), so don’t even attempt it when you’re trying to get the kids out the door for school plus get ready yourself plus make sure somebody let the dog out before she decides to take herself out in the front hallway. It’s just not going to happen. But. If you’re willing to invest a bit of time to stand around your kitchen on a Sunday morning, and are happy enough to do so if it means you’ll have breakfast ready to go for the next few days, BY ALL MEANS, FRIEND. Do try this one. It’s a keeper.

Brown Butter Chocolate Oatmeal

(from NYT Cooking, serves 4)


  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups steel-cut oats
  • 3 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  •  Raw sugar, coconut sugar, honey or maple syrup, to taste


  •  Cream, milk or coconut milk
  •  Butter
  •  Flaky sea salt
  •  Sliced bananas
  •  Shredded, unsweetened coconut
  •  Sliced dates
  •  Sliced berries


Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter turns golden brown and smells nutty (about 2 to 4 minutes). Add the oats and cook, stirring, until they turn golden around the edges, around 2 to 4 minutes more. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.

In the same pot, add 4 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil (don’t worry about rinsing it out beforehand). Whisk in the cocoa powder, making sure all lumps are dissolved. Whisk in the reserved buttered oats and salt.

Lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, about 25 to 30 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let sit for five minutes more. Stir in sweetener, and serve with toppings of choice.

Note: I topped mine with a little turbinado sugar (okay, a lot, but it was a snow day don’t mind my hypocrisy), sliced strawberries and shredded coconut. And now that it’s all gone and I’m writing about it, I think I need to go make it again.


  1. Renée | 10th Apr 18

    Looks and sounds incredible. I must try it!

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