Baked Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats

It’s cold here. It’s a deep in the heart of a Midwestern Winter, brittle bones, shield your face from the wind, don two pairs of socks, curl up under a blanket and pray for spring kind of cold. Today, it’s supposed to get up to a whopping 18 degrees, which the meteorologists are calling “balmy”. Adjectives are relative, I guess.

This past week has been downright arctic.  One day, upon returning home after a yoga class, I walked into a house that had settled at 52 degrees. I “harrumphed” and hightailed it to the coffee shop where I spent a supremely cozy morning reading a good book (more on that later!),  eavesdropping on conversations between Stay At Home Moms, and nibbling on baked oatmeal. Oh my, buttery baked oatmeal feels just right on a bitter day. So,  when I returned home at noon to a much more humane environment (62 degrees, baby!), I set to work at re-creating a baked oatmeal. I tweaked this gorgeous recipe to eliminate sugar and dairy (my husband and I *try* to steer clear!) and to increase the healthy fats.

The steel cuts oats contribute a nuttiness, and the apples and cinnamon provide a comforting sweetness on a toe-freezing morning. This morning, I enjoyed a small bowl of these nourishing overnight baked oats with a spoonful of homemade apple butter. Take that, winter!

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A bevy of baking ingredients

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Our stock of local, humane, farm fresh eggs. We pay 2.50/dozen, and you bet you can taste the difference.

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To separate the coconut meat from the milk, simply use a spoon (the thick cream will be on the top of the can). I used the cream in a paleo banana bread, and it was delicious.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups steel cut oats

1 can of coconut milk (remove the cream from the top of the can, and simply use the milk at the bottom; for those of you who aren’t dairy free, use 1 cup of whole milk or cream)

6 tablespoons melted and then slightly cooled butter

2 eggs

2 apples diced

⅓ cup of chia seeds

cinnamon (I used a liberal amount)

3 teaspoons vanilla (I used Trader Joe’s Bourbon Vanilla – the best!)

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

*For a little sweetness, you might add ½ cup of brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey. Personally,  I find that the butter adds a roundness and the cinnamon and apples a sweetness that is satisfying on its own.

Directions:

Mix the oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, and baking powder together in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, and then add the coconut milk, butter, and vanilla to the egg mixture. Stir until all the ingredients are incorporated. Simply pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients, give the mixture a couple of stirs, and then cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. The overnight refrigeration allows the steel cut oats time to soften and the chia seeds time to swell and will give the dish a gentle fermented flavor (think sourdough bread!).

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The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and pour the batter into a baking dish (I used a 9 by 13 inch dish, though as smaller one would suit just fine).Set your timer for 30 minutes, and check in with the dish then as baking times will vary. You’re looking for a lightly golden top!

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Serve with cashew butter for a hearty meal or apple butter for some sweetness.

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