Wednesday, March 27, 2013


More baked oatmeal! I love it so. It’s incredibly comforting to have a warm, delicious breakfast ready to go on a chilly morning. My standard version is just dandy, but it turns out that fruit (or vegetable, in the case of pumpkin) puree adds tons of moisture and nutrients, as well as flavor. This version, amped up with walnuts, a bit of brown sugar, and cinnamon—which of course  I augmented with a little cardamom—in addition to the mashed banana, truly is reminiscent of banana bread. The recipe is from Budget Bytes, which has proven to be a veritable cornucopia of intriguing-sounding baked oatmeal options. The first time I set out to make it I ended up veering into this separate (but very similar) version, because I had some leftover blueberries in the fridge that were getting past their prime. It smelled wonderful while baking, but I didn’t particularly love the result. Granted, for most of my life I’ve been mildly grossed out by bananas and haven’t cared for blueberries in baked goods, but I thought those days were behind me. I still don’t eat whole bananas on their own, but I like them in other formats, including cake, cookies, pancakes, and pudding. And blueberry buttermilk cake is one of my very favorite summer desserts! Yet I didn’t enjoy the flavor or texture of the blueberry banana oatmeal; it was quite damp and overpoweringly banana-y, and the blueberries didn’t break down at all, and I’m sure it was my error or hangup and no fault of the recipe, but bleah.

Yet banana oatmeal still sounded potentially tasty to me, so I decided to give the non-blueberry recipe a try and just ease off on the banana slightly. The original recipe called for four medium bananas or 1½ cups mashed, so I bought three small ones, got about 1¼ cups of puree, and made up the liquid deficit by adding ¼ cup extra milk. I don’t know if using a tiny bit less banana really made such a difference, but something must have done the trick, because I enjoyed this oatmeal. It’s fluffy, not too sweet, properly banana-bread-esque without overwhelming the flavor of the oats, and keeps me full all morning. I love that I now have three different baked oatmeal variations I can rotate among, especially since I started my new job last month and definitely need to have convenient, nourishing breakfast treats on hand so I can fuel up for another intense day of learning what the heck I’m supposed to be doing! I bake up a big dish of oatmeal on the weekends and it keeps me happily fed all week long.

1 to 1½ cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 to 4 medium)
⅓ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 to 2½ cups milk (depending on how much banana you use; milk and banana together should total 3½ cups)
2½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon cardamom
½ cup chopped walnuts
Canola or coconut oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the mashed bananas together with the brown sugar, eggs, salt, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk in the milk, then stir in the oats. Roughly chop the walnuts and stir them in as well.
  3. Oil the inside of an 8-by-8 glass baking dish. Pour in the oat mixture. Cover with foil (optional) and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil (if using) and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the center is solid and the edges are slightly golden brown.
  4. Serve warm or cold, topped with milk, yogurt, fruit, or whatever else you like.
Serves: 6 to 8
Time: 1 hour
Leftover potential: Great; will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for a week; reheat individual portions in the microwave. Note that the oatmeal may turn slightly gray as the banana oxidizes, but it will still be safe to eat.

No comments: