Baking from Bookmarks
This month I have finally gotten around to trying a few of the recipes I carefully bookmark when I am looking through my favorite food blogs. One that struck my imagination hard last month was a recipe from Kim at The Ungourmet for Cranberry and Apple Baked Oatmeal.
I love the idea of baked oatmeal. I like to provide a homemade and nutritious choice for breakfast when my children are home from college or when we have guests from out of town. Oatmeal seems like a great idea but, though I often eat oatmeal on my own, I normally cook it on the stovetop and unless everyone is eating together it quickly gets lumpy and cold. Even fresh and warm my usual oatmeal is very plain and I must admit it appeals to almost no one except my husband and me.
This oatmeal jumped off the screen because it is so very different. It looks almost like a cobbler. Topped with a thin browned crust of toasted oats and flecked with fruit it has the appeal of a breakfast dessert though it is packed with wholesome ingredients. It is cooked just enough to produce a texture that is defined without being tough and smooth without succumbing to the glutinous stickiness that is too often the predominant characteristic of oatmeal. Nope, no mushy stuff here. Rather, when drenched in milk, it makes a creamy porridge with oats that are nicely al dente in texture.
Again and Again...
I’ve made this recipe three times now! I have to admit I made it differently each time. In the final version I cut the butter in half and reduced the sugar by one third to make it a bit less of an indulgence. I also changed the flavors around just a bit. The recipe I settled on is reminiscent of the delicious Cranberry Pecan Cookies I made several times last month. I added orange juice concentrate, instead of apple butter, for a sweet-tart tanginess along with a little ginger and cardamon.
Then, to add a festive touch that reminds me of a breakfast of Porridge with Brown Sugar and Whisky I had in the Cotswalds several years ago, I soaked the dried cranberries in a splash of whisky to plump them before stirring them into the oats. I thought it was an inspired touch (though you can use orange juice instead if you’d rather.) Or you can stir in a cup of chopped fresh cranberries if you have them. They add a delightfully bright fresh tartness to the flavor.
Cranberry Orange Baked Oatmeal
adapted from Cranberry and Apple Baked Oatmeal at The Ungourmet
3 cups rolled oats (I use Snoqualmie Falls Lodge Oatmeal)
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cardamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup butter, melted
1¼ cups milk
¼ cup orange juice concentrate (or orange juice)
1/3 cup dried cranberries (or substitute 1 cup chopped fresh cranberries)
2 Tablespoons whisky (or orange juice)
¼ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (if desired)
In a small microwave safe container stir together the dried cranberries and whisky or orange juice. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Set aside. (Skip this step if using fresh chopped cranberries)
In a large bowl stir together the oats, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, ginger and cardamon.
In a small bowl stir together eggs, butter, milk and orange juice concentrate.
Add the egg mixture to the oat mixture. Stir to combine. Fold in the cranberries and nuts, if desired.
Pour into a lightly greased 9-inch square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes.
Serve warm with milk and brown sugar.