Photo by Joseph De Leo; styled by Mariya Yufest
Is there anything as unexciting as the dehydrated apple chunks in instant oatmeal packets? As if their somehow sour smell isn't unappetizing enough, they offer little more enticement after their inevitable hot bath, barely swelling to a fraction of their former, lively selves. Of course you could solve this problem by chopping up a bit of fresh apple and adding it to your hot oatmeal each morning. And that would be totally lovely. But we see this as an opportunity for reinvention.
And so, we go from the bowl to the baking dish. Soft-centered, but with a firm granola bar-like edge, baked oatmeal straddles the line between breakfast cake and trail mix bar, pulling in the best of both worlds: fork-friendliness from the former, portability and texture from the latter. Prefer a bit more crunch? Bake it an extra ten minutes and you're deeper into granola-bar territory. Swap in chopped dried fruit for some of the frozen berries, and you're rewarded with something a little chewier, a little denser.
And speaking of rewards, this baked breakfast isn't stuck in the land before noon. Try it warm with a scoop of ice cream on top, just as you'd serve a fruit crumble. Now, can instant oatmeal do that?
Apple-Berry Baked Oatmeal
Canola oil cooking spray
2 cups frozen mixed berries
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 organic apple, peeled, cored and grated (about 1 cup)
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
How would you alter this recipe? Share your ideas in the comments section below.
Like this post? See the Easy Everyday topic from last week: Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches with Pistachios and Arugula.