Spiced Oatmeal with Cocoa Nibs

February 15, 2012
1 Ratings
  • Serves 1
Author Notes

I developed this recipe as a way to get more excited about oatmeal. It deserves a more regular spot in my morning routine, especially because it staves off my tendency to have a second breakfast of cookies or cake. I wanted a version that was more exciting than the typical dried fruit and nut versions that I’m used to making. Having just bought a canister of cocoa nibs, I decided to sprinkle some on top of my oatmeal, and was instantly hooked. I played around with spices to complement the cocoa nibs, and landed on a combination of star anise, cloves, and cinnamon. Instead of using ground spices, I steeped whole spices in milk, then used that milk to cook the oatmeal. The process takes only five extra minutes, and it’s so worth it; the combination of the creamy, spiced oatmeal with the crunchy cocoa nibs is downright addictive. —EmilyC

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe was a revelation -- to think that it takes only 5 extra minutes on a busy weekday morning to infuse such flavor into my regular, plain old oatmeal! All you need to do is throw some whole spices into a cup of milk and simmer for 5 minutes, then add oats and cook as usual. Fish out the spices, then treat yourself to a topping of cocoa nibs. The result is a sophisticated, complex, not-too-sweet take on oatmeal. I made it twice in a row, the first time as written, and the second time, using equal amounts fat-free milk and water (my usual way). The results with fat-free milk were of course less creamy, but still delicious. I recommend wrapping the spices in cheesecloth before adding to facilitate their removal from the finished dish. —Tarragon

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 pods star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa nibs, or to taste
  • Optional toppings: more milk, dark brown sugar, fresh fruit
  1. Combine the milk, spices, and sea salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer and let the spices steep for 5 minutes. Remove the spices. Add the oats and cook, stirring occasionally, until they're tender.
  2. Remove oatmeal from the heat and stir in any additional toppings. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle generously with cocoa nibs. Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • hardlikearmour
  • EmilyC
  • Tarragon

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

7 Reviews

Tarragon March 25, 2014
I love this!
EmilyC March 26, 2014
Great to hear -- thanks Tarragon!
EmilyC April 11, 2014
Hi Tarragon -- thanks for testing this and your lovely review! So glad you liked it, and your cheesecloth suggestion is a smart one (it's a pain to fish out the spices, esp. the cloves). Thanks again!
hardlikearmour March 1, 2012
Emily, I used your idea for making some oatmeal with peanut butter swirled in and sliced bananas and cocoa nibs on top! Yum! Love the texture and flavor from the nibs. Brilliant idea!!
EmilyC March 1, 2012
Oh -- love this variation HLA! Happy to hear that you like the cocoa nibs - oatmeal combination as much as I do.
EmilyC February 19, 2012
Thanks HLA! It's hard to go wrong with cocoa nibs for breakfast!
hardlikearmour February 19, 2012
Now this is my kind of oatmeal! Love your spice combo and I'm a huge fan of cocoa nibs.