I hope wherever you are reading this from is warm with tropcial breezes and sandy beaches. Where I am, it is cold. Beyond cold. The kind that literally takes your breath away and makes you think, “HOW CAN ANYTHING BE THIS COLD?”
Welcome to Minnesota.
Just like last week, I’ve been making more baked breakfast recipes. I need extra motivation to get out of my warm bed in the morning, and this Spiced Pear and Hazelnut Baked Oatmeal does the trick. This week, I had a bag of Bosc pears I’d bought on sale and thought, “I could probably make something with these.” Oh, did I ever! I tossed together my favorite spices (cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg), and added some chopped hazelnuts for protein and flavor. Enter, Spiced Pear and Hazelnut Baked Oatmeal. The best oatmeal you will ever eat.
You could say that I am kind of a connoisseur of baked oatmeals. It all began back in 2008, when I was hired at The Sweet Spot during my college days at UW-Whitewater. If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating at The Sweet Spot, it is a cafe/bakery that has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten–no exaggeration. One of the dishes that gets baked prior to opening each morning was baked oatmeal. Layers of spiced fruit, nuts, and oats combine to make a meal that you will actually be happy getting out of bed for. I’ve made this for people who detest oatmeal but shoveled the baked version in because baking the oats keeps them from getting mushy. Give this recipe a try. It is a warm, satisfying way to start your day that’s packed with whole food nutrition.
Pears not your favorite fruit? That’s one of the great things about baked oatmeal: you can swap out virtually any flavor combinations! Apple/Cranberry/Walnut, Blueberry/Almond, Peach, and Strawberry/Rhubarb are some of my favorite standard flavors. If sweet isn’t your thing, try a savory oatmeal. The only limit on flavor possibilities for this wholesome breakfast dish are your palette, imagination, and the laws of nature! Have fun!
Spiced Pear and Hazelnut Baked Oatmeal
9×13 glass baking pan
Enough Earth Balance to grease the pan (or butter)
6 cups regular rolled oats
2.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup hazelnuts, crushed
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 Tablespoon cardamom
1/2 Tablespoon nutmeg
Sucanat for sprinkling (optional)
6-8 very ripe pears, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Cut and core pears (I like to keep the skins on) and put them directly into the prepared glass baking pan. Sprinkle with a few handfuls of Sucanat, to taste. Add cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. Toss everything together and set to the side.
2. Mix dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together.
3. Add the crushed hazelnuts to the dry ingredients. Note: The best method I’ve tried is not chopping nuts but “crushing” them with the side of a chef’s knife. Very quick and easy!
4. Add the wet ingredients to the try ingredients and mix well.
5. Pour the oatmeal mixture over the pears and spread with a spatula.
6. Pop the delicious pan of unbaked goodness into the oven for about 25 minutes.
DEVOUR! Cut into squares and serve warm with hot or cold milk poured over the top.