Chocolate Molasses Oatmeal Pie

If you love the classic molasses flavor, you’re going to love this Chocolate Molasses Oatmeal Pie!  Spicy bittersweet molasses with a chewy oatmeal cookie texture, all on top of a chocolate ganache-lined pie crust.  It’s the perfect spicy and warming winter pie (and gluten free, too!).

pie crust filled with a chocolate, molasses, and oatmeal filling

My yearlong series of “delicious baked things” has become one of my favorite traditions here on Bunsen Burner Bakery.  In 2016, we did Quick Bread of the Month.  In 2017, it was Bundt Cake of the Month.  And as I hinted at in my last bundt cake post, 2018 is… drumroll please… Pie of the Month!

Why pie? Because I’m ready for a challenge.

Here’s the truth.  I love to eat pie.  I do not love to make pie.

Cutting a slice of pie gives me more stress and anxiety than anything else I make.

Faced with a beautiful, perfect pie, I feel nothing short of paralyzing fear at the thought of cutting into a slice, lest the crust crumble and fall apart, or the slice stick to the bottom, or it comes out in a messy blob.

Meaning that… I have to make the pie again.

Guys, these are not normal fears and phobias.  Most people put the crumbled piece of pie on a plate and enjoy it, because it still tastes damn good.

Most people are also not food bloggers, however, in need of a picture-perfect slice of pie.

And so this year, I am conquering my fear of cutting pie head on, by baking 12 24 32 pies.  (If the trend continues, because it took 3 different pies to get to this recipe which I liked enough to (a) share and (b) came out of the pie plate well enough to post.  Maybe more.  Hopefully fewer.  Please, hopefully fewer.)

Three pies a month to get one worthy of sharing on the food blog?  I like a good challenge.

And hopefully, by the time 2019 rolls around, I will no longer hold a knife and pie server in my hand, paralyzed with fear.  I’ll be ready to dig on in and cut like a pro.

slice of molasses oatmeal pie on a decorative dessert plate

Molasses + Oatmeal = Perfect Winter Pie

And so, this brings us to January’s Pie of the Month: Chocolate Molasses Oatmeal Pie. 

I think pies are seasonal more than most other desserts — cherrie pies in the summer, pumpkin pies in the fall, pecan pies for Thanksgiving.

January is a tough month: a dearth of fresh produce, no major food holidays.

But there’s something so warm and cozy about spicy molasses, which pairs perfectly with slightly chewy oatmeal.  And a little chocolate because really, who doesn’t like a little touch of chocolate?

Chocolate oatmeal molasses pie has that classic bittersweet molasses flavor, the chewiness of a perfectly cooked oatmeal cookie, and an ooey-gooey chocolate ganache bottom.  Yes, please!

baked pie crust with a layer of chocolate ganache lining the crust

What is Oatmeal Pie?

I’ve heard that oatmeal pies started in the south as a “poor man’s alternative” to pecan pies, when pecans were too expensive during the Civil War.

A classic oatmeal pie is generally very similar to a pecan pie, except substituting in oatmeal for the pecans. Think lots of brown sugar and corn syrup.

We’re going to switch things up a little though, and use molasses in lieu of brown sugar and corn syrup!

Adding molasses to pies, including oatmeal pies, is a Pennsylvania Dutch/Amish tradition. This makes sense given that they are not too dissimilar from shoofly pie (one of my all-time favorites!).

The end result is a pie with a sweet and spicy molasses flavor combined with the the slightly chewy texture of an oatmeal cookie. Absolutely delicious, and perfect for these long winter months!

slices of molasses oatmeal pie on a wooden table

Molasses in Baking

The star of the show in this molasses oatmeal pie is the molasses, but what is it, anyway?! Molasses is a viscous substance resulting from the sugar refining process.

There are three forms of molasses typically available: light molasses, dark molasses, and blackstrap molasses. Since they can’t all be used interchangeably, let’s discuss each briefly.

  1. Light Molasses: Light molasses is the liquid that remains after the first boiling of the beet or cane syrup. This has a higher sugar content and is sweeter than dark molasses. Also called mild or fancy molasses.
  2. Dark Molasses: Dark molasses is made from the second boiling of the beet or cane syrup. It is darker, thicker, and has a more “molasses-y” flavor with a lower sugar content. Also called full or robust molasses.
  3. Blackstrap Molasses: Blackstrap molasses is made from the third boiling, resulting in a very thick and more bitter molasses.

For this recipe, either light or dark molasses can be used. Light molasses will yield a sweeter, lighter flavor, while dark molasses will have more a gingerbread flavor. Either way, just be sure to use unsulphered molasses. Why does this matter? It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!

Kitchen Chemistry

Traditionally, molasses was treated with sulphur dioxide as a preservative to kill mold or bacteria.  However, the sulfur dioxide can leave behind a strong chemical flavor and the molasses is less sweet and should not be used for baking.

Most molasses sold in grocery stores these days is unsulfphured, but always double check to make sure!

view of half of a baked pie with a chocolate molasses oatmeal filling

Tips and Tricks for the Best Chocolate Molasses Oatmeal Pie

  1. For the best flavor, use either light or dark unsulphured molasses. Do not use blackstrap molasses or sulphured molasses. For the sweetest pie and lightest molasses flavor, use light (also called mild or fancy) molasses.
  2. Let the pie cool completely before slicing. The filling needs to set completely – I recommend waiting overnight if possible.
  3. Make the pie ahead of time. This pie can be kept at room temperature for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Perfect to take the stress off of holiday desserts!
  4. For extra flavor and presentation, top with drizzled chocolate swirls, whipped cream, or a scoop of ice cream.
  5. To make a gluten free pie, use the chocolate molasses oatmeal filling in your favorite gluten free pie crust! Confirm all ingredients (molasses, oatmeal, etc) are certified gluten free.
molasses oatmeal pie with two slices on dessert plates and rolling pin in the background

More Winter Desserts

2018 Pie of the Month Series

Chocolate Oatmeal Molasses Pie: spicy molasses paired with a chewy oatmeal cookie texture and a chocolate-ganache lined pie crust. The perfect winter pie! {Bunsen Burner Bakery} #pie #oatmealpie #molasses

Chocolate Molasses Oatmeal Pie

Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Spicy bittersweet molasses with a chewy oatmeal cookie texture, all on top of a chocolate ganache-lined pie crust.

Ingredients

  • 1 unbaked No Fail Pie Crust
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) heavy cream
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup (340 grams) unsulphured molasses
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) miniature chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cup (111 grams) old fashioned rolled oats

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
  2. Fit pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate and crimp the edges.  Place the pie plate in the freezer for 15 minutes to allow the dough to firm up.  Prick the bottom of the crust several times with a fork and cover the pie dough with aluminum foil, tucking up and over the edges of the crust.  Fill the center with pie weights and blind bake the crust for 20 minutes.  Allow the crust to cool to room temperature.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 °F.
  4. To make the black bottom chocolate ganache layer, heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the chopped dark chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Pour the chocolate into the bottom of the crust and use a pastry brush to brush the chocolate up the sides of the pie.  Place the crust in the freezer to solidify the chocolate.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the molasses, eggs, melted butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt.  Once well combined, stir in the miniature chocolate chips and rolled oats.  Remove the pie from the freezer and transfer the oatmeal molasses mixture into the crust.
  6. Bake the pie 40 to 45 minutes, until the filling is just set and slightly wobbly in the center.  Allow the pie to cool to room temperature, ideally overnight, before serving.

Notes

To make this pie gluten free, certify all ingredients (molasses, oats, etc) are gluten free and use this gluten free pie crust recipe or purchase a pre-made gluten free pie crust.

Pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

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Chocolate Molasses Oatmeal Pie: spicy molasses paired with a chewy oatmeal cookie texture and a chocolate-ganache lined pie crust. The perfect pie for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or all winter long - and gluten free, too!