Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cinnamon Raisin Baked Oatmeal

I’m sure you’ve noticed that this winter has no interest in ending. My part of the world hasn’t had quite the inundation of snow that the East Coast has endured, but the cold cold COLD seems to have settled into my bones and taken up long-term residence. A few shakings from a box of cereal served with cold milk just isn’t going to get me going in the morning, I’m afraid. I was thinking fondly, instead, of this delicious baked oatmeal from back in apple season. I make breakfast (for around 100 people) at work and one of our occasional hot cereals on the winter menu is a similar baked oatmeal without the apples. I decided to see if I could combine the two ideas and make something warm and hearty for a weekend breakfast.

This recipe with raisins and walnuts is really a simplification of the version with apples, since it’s pared down to just the oatmeal, nuts and dried fruit. I used the same proportion of oatmeal, eggs and milk, and just added extra raisins and walnuts to take the place of the apples and dried cranberries. I also increased the cinnamon (and left out the nutmeg) and added a bit of additional sweetener in the form of maple syrup.

The resulting warm and comforting breakfast dish is still not very sweet, so if you like it sweeter, you could serve it with maple syrup. I stole another idea from the work recipe and served mine with warm milk poured over it, which is a very fine addition. The baked oatmeal has a texture of more like a slightly moist and crumbly cake than a bowl of oatmeal, so the additional liquid is nice. I’m sure the baked oatmeal with apples would also be well-accompanied by warm milk.

This recipe makes a whole 8-inch square pan of baked oatmeal, so it will serve me warm and cozy breakfasts for a few days (it heats up well in the microwave). I certainly hope that a little warmth from the inside does some good in getting through this tough winter in one piece rather than shattering into many. Keep warm, friends!

Cinnamon Raisin Baked Oatmeal

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup raisins
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
warm milk for serving if desired

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray or grease as desired.

2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, baking powder, salt, walnuts, and raisins. Toss together to combine.

3. In a medium-size bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the milk, brown sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla and whisk together until smooth. Whisk in the cinnamon.

4. Pour the egg mixture over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish.

5. Bake at 325 F for 35-40 minutes or firm and the top is brown. Serve with warm milk if desired. (I recommend!)

Makes 6-8 servings.

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