Every year around this time, we have the fortunate opportunity to head our butts up to Big Bend, California, where there’s a cabin just waiting for us to snuggle into. Near Lake Tahoe, Big Bend is just as good without all of the snowbirds. We are not snowbirds. We are from Louisiana, where snow is as common as low humidity and cool summers. We’re always with other friends, and to keep things manageable, the ladies share dinner cooking duties. This year, I whipped up something ahead of time: Baked Oatmeal from Super Natural Every Day. I totally lied all weekend – unknowingly – telling everyone it was a Donna Hay recipe. Not so. It’s a Heidi Swanson recipe – whoever you are Heidi, this oatmeal rocks it.
This recipe serves 6, but I doubled it without a problem.
- 2 c. rolled oats (I used old fashioned oats, not the instant kind.)
- 1/2 c. walnut pieces (I also used pecans, because I didn’t have enough walnuts. I think you could substitute however you want here.)
- 1/3 c. natural cane sugar or maple syrup (I used honey, because I seriously do not like maple syrup.)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 c. milk
- 1 large egg
- 3 TB. unsalted butter
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 bananas
- 1 1/2 c. huckleberries, blueberries or mixed berries (I used blueberries because I had a ton of them, but I think you can use just about whatever berry you want. I also think that dried fruit would do really well, like cherries or strawberries.)
- Preheat the oven to 375, placing the rack in the top third of the oven. Generously butter the inside of an 8 inch square baking dish. (Note – I didn’t “butter”, I “Pammed” the dish.)
- In one bowl, mix together the oats, half the walnuts, the sugar (if you’re using sugar instead of syrup), baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- In another bowl, mix together the maple syrup (if you’re using syrup instead of sugar), milk, egg, half of the butter and the vanilla. (Oops – I just realized I used all of the butter in this step. Whatever. It was wonderful.)
- Cut up the bananas and arrange them in a single layer in the bottom of the baking dish, sprinkle 2/3 of the berries over the bananas.
- Cover the fruit with the oat mixture.
- Slowly pour the milk mixture over the oats. Gently shake the dish to make sure the milk is spread throughout the oats.
- Scatter the remaining berries and walnuts on top.
- Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Drizzle the remaining melted butter on the top and serve.
One thing to note, on top of everything else I’ve mentioned, is that this keeps pretty well overnight. In fact, it keeps pretty well stored in the back of a 1989 Wagoneer overnight when it’s 40 degrees outside. Just heat it through before you serve it.
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