Thursday, February 10, 2011

Baked oatmeal made with blackstrap molasses

DS likes to eat breakfast as soon as he gets up.  DH prefers to wait at least an hour or two.  In hot weather he even wants to get in a few hours working outside while it's still cool then sit down to breakfast at 10 or so.  And I'm somewhere in-between.  So we tend to eat breakfast in shifts.

To keep breakfast quick and easy, I try to keep breakfast staples like sausage-egg burritos and blender oatmeal pancakes on-hand in the freezer.  Eggs are always in the refrigerator thanks to the chickens and ham, sausage and bacon are readily available in the freezer or canned on the pantry shelf.  AJ's Pumpkin Bread or something similar will sneak into the breakfast rotation occasionally.  And there's always hot cereal like oatmeal or rice.

Every so often I make baked oatmeal (aka Amish baked oatmeal) which I think of as a cross between plain oatmeal and a sweet quick bread or bar cookie.  What DS calls the mom-friendly version I make these days (less sweetener and oil) means we can have it more often and without guilt.  It's a not-too-sweet dish with an almost cake-like texture which when eaten for breakfast is usually served warm in a bowl with milk but late afternoon is a good time for a piece eaten out-of-hand and accompanied by a cup of tea or hot chocolate.  I prefer to soak grains whenever possible so I mix this up part way the night before and then add the remaining ingredients the next morning and bake.

Baked Oatmeal with Blackstrap Molasses

6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups water
1/3 cup kefir, yogurt or whey
1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
1/2 cup applesauce or pumpkin puree (pumpkin is good but will impart a pumpkin flavor)
1/2 cup blackstrap or regular molasses
8-10 large eggs
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup raisins or other dried diced fruit, optional
1/2 cup nuts, optional

12- to 24-hours before you want to bake this, combine oats, water, kefir, oil, applesauce or pumpkin puree and molasses in a large bowl and stir well to mix.  Let sit on the counter, covered with a tea towel, till you're ready to bake.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. and grease a 9x13-inch pan or two 8-inch square pans.  Break eggs into a bowl and stir in cinnamon, vanilla, salt and baking soda.  Then pour this mixture into the soaking oatmeal.  Stir well to break up oatmeal and combine ingredients, adding dried fruit and nuts as you're stirring.  Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake for 30- to 35-minutes till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

The baked oatmeal will keep in the refrigerator for several days or can be frozen in individual portions. If you prefer a sweeter taste, add 1/4- to 1/2-cup honey with the molasses and you can use regular molasses instead of the stronger-flavored blackstrap molasses if you want.  If using pumpkin puree, add 1 teaspoon each nutmeg and ginger for a light pumpkin pie flavor.  Serve warm covered with milk or at room temperature for eating out-of-hand.

Yield: 12 servings

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