Baked oatmeal is not just a fall staple...
Well, in true 2020 fashion, the South has already had our first tropical system move through which doesn't necessarily bode well for the rest of hurricane season, but did parts of Alabama some much-needed rain these last few days. I wouldn't normally crave oatmeal or baked oatmeal for that matter during the warm months, but we've barely hit 90 so far here in Alabama and I decided to celebrate.
First, who doesn't love pastries and baked goods for breakfast? Somehow, Cliff and I have managed to limit ourselves to one breakfast "cheat day" per week, which is usually waffles...and more recently, made a little more healthy with avocado oil as the fat and flax eggs for the emulsifier and structure-builder. We still use "homemade" syrup, but it's a cheat day and everything in moderation, right? Though waffles are our preference on cheat day, it doesn't mean we turn our backs on coffee cake, monkey bread, cinnamon bread, pancakes, and their friends. All hold a special place in our hearts.
On non-cheat days, we do enjoy slow cooker steel cut oats since it's so easy to just leave them to cook overnight and wake up to the smell of cinnamon, bananas - whatever flavor combo we decide to use that day. Plus, it makes leftovers in our house, which is an added time-saver for busy days! That's where this summer berry baked oatmeal recipe enters the picture. I envisioned a cross between a coffee cake and the slow cooker oatmeal recipe, but highlighting ripened summer berries and pecans, given the time of year. It's fun to try new things!
When making baked oatmeal, don't skip these two steps:
> Use old-fashioned oats and not quick-cooking oats.
> Line your baking dish with oil or non-stick spray of your choice.
>Sandwich the layers with your fruit. Use half the fruit by lining the bottom of the pan and reserve the other half for the topping.
Baked Oatmeal Assembly
If you have the bug (like I do) to create your own concoction, I highly recommend reading this article before getting started. Remember, as with any new recipe, pay attention to proportions and weight. The biggest takeaway is that the wet ingredients need to match the measurements of the dry ingredients. For those that want to use this particular recipe, here are a few notes to make easy adjustments:
- Make it vegan-friendly by substituting the honey for a sweetener of your choice. This baked oatmeal recipe already calls for flax eggs.
- Use gluten-free oats if you are restricting gluten in your diet. I added pecan meal (optional), which is already gluten-free.
- You can substitute olive oil (or another oil of your choice) for the avocado oil, if that is what you have on hand.
Make your baked oats extra tasty by incorporating the following:
- Spices of your choice. Cinnamon is always the popular one in the room, but it does play well with others, if you would like nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves, etc. Just note that some spices are heavier and typically used in the fall (if that matters to you - rules are meant to be broken!).
- Quickly toast pecans, or the nuts of your choice, on the stovetop. This unleashes their aromas and gives the baked oatmeal a little more depth of flavor.
- Pecan meal also adds a bit more flavor to the dish AND it made the consistency a little more spongy (like a sponge cake vs just toasted oats)...delish. It's optional, so feel free to omit if you don't have any at the ready.
Your baking dish matters
If using a flat dish, like a 13 x 9 baking dish, pay attention to your cooking time. It will be less than deeper dishes.
- A flatter dish will provide a thinner, more crispy "body" to the baked oatmeal.
- A deeper dish will make it a little less crispy. Depending upon the depth of your dish, add 5 - 15 minutes more cooking time than a traditional 13 x 9 size.
See the recipe notes below to make adjustments to the layering process. I baked mine in a deep dish, so would suggest combining the wet and dry ingredients before adding to the dish. In more traditional baked oatmeal recipes - and those made in a wider baking dish - need to line the bottom of the dish with half the fruit, cover with dry ingredients, cover with wet ingredients (don't stir), and then the remaining fruit.
Summer Berry Baked Oatmeal
- 1 ½ qt. Corningware baking dish (use a size you desire)
- 1 cup old-fashioned dry oats
- 1 ½ cups soy milk use the milk of your choice
- 1 ½ cups fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- ⅔ cup raw pecans, chopped
- ⅓ cup pecan meal
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons flax meal eggs
- 6 tablespoons water to mix with the flax meal
- ⅓ cup avocado oil reserve a small amount to coat baking dish
- 1 generous pinch kosher salt
- Combine flax meal and water to make flax eggs and set aside (preferably in the fridge).
- In a small skillet over medium heat, toast pecan halves for about 5 minutes or until their nutty aroma is evident. Remove from heat and allow to cool before chopping.
- Use a small amount of avocado oil (or oil of your choice) to thinly coat the sides of the baking dish.
- Line the bottom of the baking dish with half the blueberries and strawberries.
- Combine dry ingredients (oats, pecan meal, baking powder, cinnamon, chopped pecans, and salt) in medium bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.
- In a separate, medium-sized bowl, combine wet ingredients (milk, remaining avocado oil, honey, light brown sugar, flax eggs, and pure vanilla extract). Stir thoroughly to combine. Gently add to dry ingredients and barely stir until combined. Pour over dry mixture in baking dish and refrain from stirring.
- Pour the mixture over the fruit bottom and top with remaining fruit. Bake for 50 minutes - 1 hour.
- Half the fruit on the bottom of the dish.
- Dry ingredients to cover the fruit (do not mix)
- Wet ingredients to cover the dry
- Remaining fruit and any extra nuts, for decoration.
Serving + Storing Baked Oatmeal
- Don't worry about making distinct slices - just scoop and serve.
- Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if it is a dessert and you want to add a little something cool.
- Reheat in the oven, if you need to reheat the entire dish for multiple people. Otherwise, just warm in the microwave, or on a skillet (with some butter or fat alternative to crisp the sides).
- The baked oatmeal can be covered and stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Do you think this will be your next dessert or breakfast fave? Until next time, friends, cheers to your #hearthhealthhappiness!