Thursday, July 10, 2014

Baked Banana Bread Oatmeal

I've been baking my steel-cut oats for years. Baking steel-cut oats takes a few hours of moderately attended time on the stove to 30 minutes of hands-off time in the oven, but I'd never thought much about applying the same approach to old-fashioned oats. After all, they cook fairly quickly on the stove top, even faster in the microwave, and can even be soaked for overnight oats instead. But with a little extra time for a leisurely breakfast on the 4th of July, the idea crept back into my mind, and since it was a holiday, I decided to make them extra luxurious.

Coconut oil has made the rounds as the latest super health food, but I eat it because it is delicious. I've always loved coconut-flavored foods and I'm happy it has gone from culinary villain to nutritional superstar (like another favorite, eggs) so I can eat it without guilt. And the glorious tablespoon in this recipe is really what takes it from good to exceptional. Banana, walnuts, and cinnamon call up all the familiar favorite flavors of banana bread, but coconut oil makes it as delicious as a piece slathered in butter. I like the complex sweetness of maple syrup here, but just as you may choose the lower calorie option of milk or banana, you may want to reduce or eliminate the amount of sweetener. (Like I said, this was a holiday breakfast for me.)

The recipe here is for an individual serving, but this is a great opportunity to scale up for a crowd of people or many breakfasts for one. With all the ingredients at the ready, it's easy to make several servings with individualized additions at once, which can either be baked in individual ramekins or a jumbo-sized muffin pan.

Baked Banana Bread Oatmeal
serves 1
adapted from Chocolate-Covered Katie

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
Pinch of kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste
2 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
2 tablespoon mashed banana
3 tablespoons milk of choice
1 tablespoon coconut oil, coconut butter, or melted butter (you can substitute extra milk or banana, but it will be much less rich)
1 tablespoon maple syrup, honey, or brown sugar, or to taste

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a small baking pan, loaf pan, or 1-cup ramekin with cooking spray.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together oats, salt, cinnamon, nuts, and brown sugar (if using). In a separate bowl, mix together banana, milk, coconut oil, and maple syrup/honey (if using). Add wet ingredients to try and mix to thoroughly combine.

3. Pour mixture into baking dish and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until firm. (Cooking time will vary based on the baking dish and whether or not you used oil). Raise the heat to broil and continue cooking for 3 to 5 more minutes or until the top has a nice crust. Turn oatmeal out onto a separate dish, if desired, and serve promptly.

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