Aaah. Baked oatmeal, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:
1. You contain oatmeal, usually some eggs and milk and sometimes fruit and nuts and other good mix-ins, so you’re a pretty dang healthy breakfast. But you still taste amazing.
2. If I make a tray of you on the weekend I have breakfast covered for 4 days (usually…snacks happen) out of the 5-day week!
3. YOU ARE LIKE EATING A GIANT COOKIE FOR BREAKFAST.
Need I say more?
It is a universally accepted fact, except among the nut-allergic crowd, that one of the best snacks in the world is apple and nut butter. (Well, besides carrots and peanut butter, nut butter straight from the jar, cheese, and sweet pickles–but I find those don’t lend themselves well to oatmeal recipe creating.) Additionally, many people (except for those Paleo or fruitarian folks) argue that oatmeal is one of the most nutritious choices for breakfast! Soluble fiber, protein, iron, calcium, other trace minerals…and yumminess.
(When I told a family member last week that one of my favorite foods was oatmeal, she spent five minutes trying to process this. I guess I forget that normal people don’t eat oatmeal for breakfast every day! ;)…What do they eat?)
Winter is coming up, so now is pretty much our last chance to pay homage to our delicious Fall apples.
Baked oatmeal=homage. Yummy, warming, comforting healthy homage.
Apple PB Baked Oatmeal
-1/3 c. applesauce mixed with 1 T chia seed overnight
-1 1/2 c. rolled oats
-1/2 c. steel-cut oats
-1 t baking soda
-1 medium egg
-2 T maple syrup
-1/2 c. milk + ~3 T
-3 T melted peanut butter (crunchy is the tastiest) (other nut butter should work as well–if you would eat it with apples, try it out!)
-3/4 c. diced apple
-Splash of vanilla extract
-Anywhere from 2t-2T ground cinnamon (depending on how much you like cinnamon! 🙂 I definitely recommend the higher amount, though)
This recipe takes a bit of forethought, since the first step is to combine your 1/3 cup applesauce with one tablespoon of chia seeds and let it soak in the refrigerator overnight (the chia will absorb some of the liquid in the applesauce). But once you’ve got that done, the rest is a breeze!
Your applesauce should look like this after the soaking. It’s disgusting looking, I know. You won’t be able to see it in the finished oatmeal.
And then, well…stir everything together! 😉 The peanut (or other nut) butter is really easy to melt in the microwave–just put it in a little microwave-safe bowl and nuke on high for 15-20 seconds. (Be careful, as you can scorch it!) It should be pretty runny and easy to mix in after that point.
During the first trials of this recipe, for some reason I fixated on one cup of milk, and it always took MUCH too long to bake and ended up MUCH too moist. I can’t vouch for the exact amount of milk you should put in now, but I recommend starting with 1/2 c. and then adding it by the tablespoon until the batter is “stirrable” (I ended up using three extra tablespoons.)
Bake in an 8×8 pan (or a similarly proportioned pan, so long as it works out to an area of 64) at 350 degrees for 30-50 minutes, depending on humidity, juiciness of your apples, oven quality, etc. (Our oven is poor quality and my apple wasn’t very juicy, and mine took 40 minutes before I declared it baked.)
Slice into 4 squares (see? It IS like a GIANT cookie!), take one, and devour. Top with more sliced apple or nut butter, maple syrup, or apple butter, if you want to be all fancy-like.