I love oatmeal, especially during the winter. Whether it’s cooked cereal, an ingredient in bread or rolls, or the major component of a chewy cookie, that mild, nutty flavor is always a favorite.
Cookies. I can live without cake or pie, but cookies are a food group. Ina Garten, the host of Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network, is my cookie sensei, with several of her recipes ranking among my all time favorites. The last cookies I baked were her Oatmeal-Pecan-Raisin cookies.
As usual, however, I made a few tweaks:
- Additional spices and salt
- Whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose
- A cup of unsweetened shredded coconut (toasted along with the pecans)
- Raisins soaked in spiced rum for a few days prior to baking
- Addition of some of the raisin-rum to the dough
- A spiced rum glaze (1 cup confectioners sugar + 2-3 tablespoons spiced rum)
The resulting cookies are soft and chewy, and a little on the sweet side. This is the first time I’ve added a glaze, and it won’t be the last.
I also enjoy oatmeal for breakfast on cold winter mornings, of which we’ve had quite a few of late. In the past, I’ve made a week’s worth at a time, poured it into a loaf pan, and stuck it in the fridge—I would then slice off a portion each morning. But by the end of the week, the remainder had usually lost all the nice nutty chewiness and taken on the paste-like consistency that is a major reason folks give for disliking oatmeal. So when I learned about baked oatmeal—with added eggs and streusel toppings—I had to try a few recipes. This one, which also includes a 15 oz can of pumpkin puree, quickly became a favorite.
I tweak this recipe on the fly as well. I’ve always added regular whole milk instead of the almond milk that the recipe calls for, but in my latest batch I decided to give cashew milk a try. I’ve substituted pecans for walnuts. Added raisins or other dried fruit. And as for spices, only a quarter-teaspoon of pumpkin spice? Really? I add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the oatmeal and another to the streusel topping, along with ground ginger, mace or nutmeg, and allspice. Sometimes ground cloves. I also add 2x the salt called for because that’s what brings out the flavors. If you add a bit more salt, you may be able to cut back on the sugar, if that’s a concern.
The result is like an extremely moist, not very sweet coffee cake. I serve it with extra milk and sliced banana, and occasionally add maple syrup.
So, these are the current favorite oatmeal recipes. If you have one, I’d love to hear about it.
(N.B. I’ve linked to the recipes instead of copying/pasting because the recipes are under copyright and related pages and comments often contain useful info)