Sunday, August 15, 2010

Baked Cranberry-Apple Oatmeal...

I usually have oatmeal once or twice a week in the mornings for breakfast - more often in cooler weather for sure, but I find I still enjoy it during the warmers months as well. When we were thinking of a breakfast-for-dinner night this week, oatmeal popped into my head, but that didn't sound all that exciting until I remembered I had saved a recipe for a more unique way to prepare oatmeal... by baking it!

While most of the work is taken care of in the oven, there is a bit of prep work to get this Baked Cranberry-Apple Oatmeal ready. We are using a mix of oats here, the tiny steel cut pellets and old-fashioned rolled, however the former need a quick pre-soak to be softened as they are quite crunchy! The nuggets are steeped in a hot mixture of apple cider (juice is fine too) and water, along with a big knob of butter. Once those oats have lost some of their rugged exterior, the rest of the dry ingredients are stirred in - the regular oats, a chopped apple (we went in the tart direction, using a crisp Granny Smith), dried cranberries, crystallized ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, fresh grated nutmeg and for an alluring whisper of spice, a touch of cardamom. Whew! I know it seems like a fair amount of ingredients for just oatmeal, but stick with us - it'll be worth it!

To gather all those ingredients and hold them together, an egg, milk and a few drops of vanilla are swirled together and join the moistened oats. Bake this until the oats have absorbed the liquids and the center is set and just firm to the touch. If you serve this hot right out of the oven, it will be fairly spoon-able, almost pudding-like in texture, but if you let it cool for just a few minutes, you will be left with a firmer, slice-able oatmeal (cut-able into shapes, too!), which you can either enjoy as-is or with a splash or two of milk as we did.

With the apple cider and brown sugar, I did find this to be fairly sweet (though Jeff thought it was just right), so if you don't groove on a bunch of sweetness in your oatmeal, think about dropping a tablespoon or two off the brown sugar. This stores well in the refrigerator or the freezer, and can be quickly warmed back up with a zap in the microwave. Or if you're feeling adventurous and frisky, take a slice of the chilled oatmeal and instead of heating it in the microwave, brown the slab in a skillet with melted butter and top it off with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream!

Being fairly versatile, feel free to experiment to your hearts content - for blueberry oatmeal, drop the apricots and switch out the diced apple for 2 cups of fresh blueberries. Fancy bananas? Exchange the apples for the same amount of diced banana and toss in a half cup of chopped, toasted walnuts for the apricots. Want to go one step further with that theme and make a Banana Split oatmeal? Add the bananas and walnuts, then stir in a handful of bittersweet chips just before pouring the mix into the pan.


  1. Looks delicious - love all the flavours you've used.

  2. My whole family enjoys oatmeal... with the start of school just a few days away this is the perfect good start to the day!

  3. now ts my kind of food i loveee oatmeal

  4. I love baked oatmeal. So convenient as you say and incredibly easy to customize. That looks gorgeous and like a little preview of fall.

    As a side note, I'm not sure if you have/had my blog in your RSS reader, but if so you may need to update the feed. I didn't realize when I switched over to feedburner that my old subscribers would no longer be updated so just wanted to send out the FYI. I have the link to the new feed at the top of my blog. :-)

  5. Katie - Thank you!

    Kim - It took Jeff awhile to warm up to oatmeal, but he finally did a few years ago.

    TIF - Great!

    Kelly - Thanks for the update!

  6. This looks really good. Love the presentation!!