Last weekend I had one Granny Smith apple languishing in the fruit bowl, and all week long I had envisioned using it in a variation of a baked oatmeal dish I love to eat on leisurely weekends.
Along came the weekend and I began to scour the cupboards for additions to the concoction brewing in my mind. First, though, I wanted more apples but didn’t want a trip to the market. Oddly, our June-bearing apple tree has ever-so-slowly been ripening several apples which had germinated during the late fall heatwave (thank you bumble bees), so I picked a couple even though they hadn’t come to complete fruition yet (meaning they were miniscule in size and thwarted by the recent cold weather).
What pairs well with apples? Cranberries! And I happened to have some dried cranberries leftover from the holiday Macadamia Butter Cookies. Perfect.
Digging around in the freezer, I spotted a bag of forgotten flaxseed. Why not toss some into the oat mix?
Looking for nuts, I found a handful of sliced almonds that I had intended to use in a cookie recipe but never got around to making. And then I spotted a bag of turbinado sugar hiding in the pantry. Well, I decided to toss them all into the mix.
And what a yummy mix this dish turned out to be. First of all, it makes the house smell heavenly with the aroma of apples and cinnamon. Second, baked apples with tart cranberries and crunchy nuts just feels so deliciously luscious on a weekend morning when I get to hang out in my pajamas and not rush off to work. Perfect weekend breakfast fare. And the leftovers? Heated up, they make a hearty and warm breakfast for those very early work mornings when I’m out of the house before dawn to get to work and attack a stack of student essays, made all the more bearable with a belly full and warm.
Mind you, this can be made with simply apples and whatever other fruit you want to pair with apples. Use nuts (or not)–whatever kind you have on hand. The dish is very adaptable to suit your tastes and what you have on hand. Whatever you combine, I’m sure it will taste absolutely scrumptious.
Baked Oatmeal with Apples & Cranberries
- 2 small apples or 1 large, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces (I used a combo of the tart Granny Smith and a sweeter, firm apple like Fuji)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted, divided (I used 1/4 cup chopped pecans in the baked oatmeal and then used 1/4 cup sliced almonds to sprinkle on top)
- 1/4 + 1 tbsp. cup dried cranberries, divided (or use other dried fruit, such as blueberries or tart cherries)
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (the thicker kind rather than the thin instant oats; I buy mine from the bulk bins at Sprouts or Whole Foods)
- 1 tbsp. flaxseed (optional)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 3/4 tsp. apple spice mix (1 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 tsp nutmeg + 1/4 tsp allspice), divided
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1/4 cup maple syrup, regular syrup, or honey (maple gives best flavor)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. turbinado sugar (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Melt butter and allow it to cool while mixing rest of ingredients.
- Peel, core, and slice apples. Mix with 1 tsp. of the cinnamon or apple spice. Spread evenly over the bottom of a 7 x 11 baking dish or a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.
- Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the nuts and 1/4 cup of the cranberries over the apples.
- In a medium bowl, combine oats, flaxseed, baking powder, remaining 3/4 tsp. apple spice mix, and salt. Sprinkle the oat mixture in an even layer over the apples/cranberries/nuts.
- To the melted and cooled butter, add the syrup (or honey), milk, egg, and vanilla. Stir with a fork to combine. Pour evenly over the oats.
- Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup nuts, 1 tbsp. cranberries, and 1 tsp. turnbinado sugar (optional but it adds a heavenly light sweet and crunchy touch).
- Bake 35-40 minutes, until the top is browned and the oats have set. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
SOURCE: adapted from Baked Oatmeal post