(Make Ahead) Amish Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

If you don’t eat breakfast, we probably can’t be friends. If brunch were a sport, I would be a decathlete. I love it all, but especially eggs. For many years, I woke up early every single day to cook a hot breakfast for Zac before he left for work. I can work magic for breakfast – I’ve been known to make eggs-in-a-hole with sourdough leftover from take-out, I invent elaborate hashes using leftover ribye from Sunday dinner, and a mash-up of veggies, including brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, and I am famous for my over-medium eggs. An audience assembles when it’s time to flip them over. With breakfast, I am creative and resourceful, using whatever I can. My love language is breakfast. My kryptonite is time. Very few breakfasts make the cross over from sweet/cinnamony to eggy. This is one of them.

One morning a week, all Fall and Winter long, I mix up this make-ahead Amish baked oatmeal right after I clean up after dinner. It takes less than 5 minutes to prepare, and I know the recipe by heart. I put it in the fridge, covered, and in the morning when I get up to go to the gym, I take it out and put it on the counter. When I come back in, I preheat the oven, and by 8 am, when it comes out of the oven, puffed and brown, the entire house smells like an apple pie.

This recipe makes a weekday morning feel like a weekend, it’s all of the luxury of a hot, filling breakfast, with all of the laziness of me in my bathrobe, mainlining coffee. I get to be with my family for the brief time that we had together in the morning, rather than being in the kitchen.

My family devours this hot breakfast. It lacks the gumminess and stickiness that I’ve always found off-putting about traditional oatmeal. This recipe easily adapts to feed a crowd (read: houseguests), and can be liberally adapted to use whatever fruit you have on hand, although I love apples, pears and bananas the most. It’s a showstopper, beautiful on the table, and easy to serve up seconds (you’ll want seconds).

I made some swaps to the original recipe that I feel really good about. I want my kids to have the full monty in the morning – some fat, some carbs, and some protein, without too much sugar. This oatmeal sticks to their ribs like glue, warms their tummies, and makes mornings so easy for me. I only wish I had more tricks up my sleeve like this one.

(Make Ahead) Amish Baked Cinnamon Oatmeal, adapted from Once Upon a Chef

The original recipe used 3/4 cup of brown sugar, 2 cups of whole milk, and 4 tbsp of butter. I’ve made swaps that make sense, and make this a healthier morning choice. After all, we’re not working in the fields, we’re um, probably hitting up Target.

2 cups old fashioned rolledoats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup of milk (I use 2%, but skim or whole milk will also work fine)
1 cup of almond milk (if you don’t buy or use almond milk, feel free to use 2 cups milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons melted butter, plus a little more for greasing the pan
1 cup of chopped fruit- peeled and chopped (I use 2 medium honeycrisp apples, peeled, or I often slice 2 bananas and layer them in the bottom of the pan; pears work too)
1/2 cup of toasted walnuts (optional, my kids actually love them in this dish)

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Preheat oven to 325F. Grease the bottom of an 8×8 or an oval baking dish with butter or your preferred greasing method. I love my 8 inch Le Creuset oval baker for this dish.  Scatter your fruit in the bottom of the greased pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, maple syrup, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk(s). Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Add the milk mixture to the oat mixture, along with the melted butter.

Pour the mixture over the top and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the 1/2 nuts on top, if you are using. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden and the oats are set – jiggle the pan and it will not jiggle if it is set. Serve warm.

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