The biggest compliment this seasonal addition of my Overnight Crunchy Top Baked Oatmeal received when I first started making it last year was from my younger son. He asked, would I make this for breakfast every day? After a few more bites, he asked if I could bring enough to school for a class snack. Not that all the kids would ooh and aah, but it was a definite thumbs up from one of my toughest critics!
I made several noteworthy changes from the original version. For great flavor, moisture, and a healthy version of cream, I used coconut milk in lieu of regular milk. Coconut oil, as opposed to butter or canola oil, reinforced the health benefits and flavor. (Another perk of cooking with coconut oil is the incredible, aromatic smell which wafts out of the oven. The tropical fragrance is heavenly.) Of course, you may certainly substitute the milk and oil of your choice. The recipe is flexible that way.
Of course, I also use strawberries, although I have not entirely eliminated the apple from the original recipe. Actually, I have made this baked oatmeal with the applesauce and the grated apple and with one or the other. Using both will add an extra level of moisture to the baked oatmeal, although my personal preference is to use on or the other. Through experimentation, I have learned that grated apple will replace the applesauce often used to reduce added fat in many baked goods. I use a sweeter apple, like a Fuji or Honey Crisp, which also allows for a lesser amount of added sweetener. If using an organic apple, I don’t even bother to peel the skin. That said, those single serving applesauce cups are easy to have on hand and just the right size.
Occasionally, I bake the oatmeal in a 10-inch springform pan so I can transfer it to a cake platter. (I put candles in it for a fun birthday “cake” and sometimes pipe letters on it with melted white chocolate!) Your largest spatula will aid in the transfer of the baked oatmeal from springform pan to serving platter. Usually, however, I use a 9×9 square pan or a 10-inch cast iron skillet. If you use a springform pan, allow the oat mixture to soak in your mixing bowl, and then transfer to the pan for baking. This will reduce the possibility of liquid seeping through the crevices of the pan. For added insurance, place the pan on a baking sheet or wrap the bottom with a piece of aluminum foil prior to baking. In the notes section of the recipe, I also provide details on how long to cook for muffins. These make a great portion-controlled, grab-and-go breakfast.
Serve plain or with milk, warm or room temperature. Sprinkle with extra berries, chopped macadamias or almonds — however you like to adorn your stovetop oatmeal. Leftovers keep well stored, covered, in the refrigerator.
Note: My dear friend Ann of Sumptuous Spoonfuls made her own version of baked oatmeal inspired by this recipe. Follow this LINK to see her masterpiece!
- 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk (I use light; could substitute milk of choice.) See notes
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup honey (could use maple syrup)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (could substitute melted butter, canola, or grapeseed oil)
- 1/2 cup applesauce or one small apple, grated (may leave skin on)
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
- 1 cup sliced or chopped strawberries, plus a few sliced berries reserved for the top
- Optional: slivered or sliced almonds for the top–about 1/4 cup
- 1/4 cup packed (2 ounces) brown sugar
Grease 2-quart round casserole, 9-inch square pan, or 10-inch cast iron skillet.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the oats and the brown sugar. Stir in oats and combine well. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and spread evenly around. Place the sliced, reserved strawberries on the top and sprinkle with almonds, if desired. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (See summary above for details on baking sooner.)
In the morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Allow the oatmeal to sit on the counter while the oven is preheating. Unwrap oatmeal and bake for about 30 minutes or until just firm in the middle.
Remove from the oven, switch oven setting to broil, and sprinkle brown sugar over the top. Broil oatmeal for one minute, watching very closely, or until the sugar is melted and top is golden.
- When baking as muffins, I use 1 1/4 cups of the coconut milk instead of the whole can. Refrigerate the uncooked oatmeal in the mixing bowl then transfer to the muffin tin once the liquid has been absorbed by the oats. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. Often, I will top the muffins with a teaspoon of brown sugar, some sliced almonds, and a slice of strawberry prior to baking instead of following the broil step. The recipe yields 8 regular muffins or 6 jumbo.
- One additional note, you may use the 1 1/4 cups amount of coconut milk for the recipe when baking in a standard baking dish, too. My kids love the added moisture of the full can; I like a slightly drier oatmeal and then often add warm milk when serving. It is a small difference based on personal preference, so feel free to experiment.