I wasn’t going to post about this dish. Not because it wasn’t good – it was – but because in all honesty, it’s just a slight variation on my Orange and Vanilla Bean Baked Oatmeal that I posted about a little over a year ago and the Plum Topped Baked Oatmeal I made back in 2009. But it was so good that I gave in and decided it deserved a post of its own. Because maybe you saw that original recipe and thought that baked oatmeal sounded interesting, but you don’t like orange. Or maybe you do like orange, but you weren’t a reader of my blog back then. Either way, this recipe is for you.
The basic premise of the recipe is still the same – a mixture of oats, sugar, baking powder, milk, egg, and butter gets baked in the oven until it becomes like an incredibly moist snack cake. The main difference is that blueberries – not orange – star in this version. But don’t think that I left the vanilla bean and orange out completely. They’re here as well, just in more of a supporting capacity. I kept the original amount of the vanilla bean, but paired the orange back just to a tablespoon of zest. Sure, you could omit the orange zest and vanilla bean, but I loved how they provided depth of flavor. The orange provided a nice zing and brightness and the vanilla brings in a lovely floral sweetness. I loved this flavor combo and couldn’t recommend it more highly, but I think one of the big things worth keeping in mind is how endlessly customizable this recipe is. You can easily switch out the blueberries for whatever fruit is in season – apples, pears, strawberries, rhubarb, whatever strikes your fancy.
The one thing I do feel pretty adamant about is not losing the butter. I know it can be tempting to omit it or swap it for a fat replacer like apple sauce or mashed banana to shave some calories, but it really does add to the recipe. It really carries the flavor of the dish and helps contribute to the moistness of the oatmeal. If you must, swap it out for canola oil, but keep a little fat for flavor.
But do try this. It’s fantastic as a breakfast on the run or served warm with milk poured over the top and perhaps even a bit of whip cream, for good measure of course.
-2 cups rolled oats
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 1/2 cups fat free milk
-1 large egg, beaten
-2 tablespoons melted butter
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 tablespoon orange zest
-1 2-inch piece vanilla bean, split lengthwise
-1/2 cup blueberries
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the oats, granulated sugar, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, egg, melted butter, vanilla extract and orange zest. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the milk mixture reserving the bean for another use. Stir the oat and milk mixtures together and then fold in the blueberries.
Pour mixture into a 9×9-inch square baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray or greased lightly with butter or oil.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a nice crust has developed and the oatmeal is lightly brown around the edges. Serve warm.