Tuesday, July 10, 2012

baked oatmeal

Baked oatmeal may have origins outside of Pennsylvania. I don't know. But in my heart and mind, this perfect breakfast treat is and always will be synonymous with nowhere more than Lancaster County. Having lived there for eight years from middle school to college, I can assure you that Pennsylvania Dutch food is comfort food at its best. Chicken corn soup. Whoopie pies. Shoofly pie. Friendship bread. Chow-chow. Ham Loaf. Apple dumplings. Apple butter. Oh my heavens. I'm getting hungry just at the thought of it all.

If I had to choose a favorite Lancaster staple, though, it would be baked oatmeal. Let's think about this for a moment. All of the sensible goodness of oatmeal + the added creaminess, sweetness, and crunch of milk, sugar, fruit, and nuts. It's like dessert for breakfast! And for every amazing baker that Lancaster can boast of, there are just as many variations of recipes for this dish. This particular one is especially sentimental for me as it is based on the one used by the mother of one of my dearest friends in the world, Ashley. Mrs. V is a phenomenal cook and always spoils me by serving this at least once during my yearly visits. I've modified the original recipe through the years - swapping out oil for melted butter, cutting the granulated sugar by half and replacing it with brown sugar, and mixing up the add-ins - all of which I've written into the recipe below.

Sidenote: Special thanks to my fabulous friend Sally - photography aficionado - for the fun little foodie photo shoot with her fancy shmancy new camera. You're the best. xoxo

Baked Oatmeal

1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the butter, sugars, and egg until blended. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into a greased 9x5 loaf pan.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until 'set' in the middle.

This recipe is also fabulous with other fruit and nut combinations. Strawberries and walnuts...peaches and pecans...raspberries and almonds. The sky is the limit!

Oh, and you'll be glad to know that this dish can easily be doubled and baked in a 9x13 dish for 35-40 minutes. It's so good that you may just want to plan on that from the beginning. Trust me.


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