apple cranberry oatmeal bake

abhor the end of daylight savings.  The whole idea of it is absolutely maddening!  Can’t we just have those long summer days all year long?  It’s been well over a week since we rolled the clocks back and, still, I can’t quite get used to my sunset ride home from work at 4:30PM.  My formerly cheery windows and sliders that soaked up the blazing afternoon sun are now eclipsed with inky black sky by 5:30PM.  The days are shorter and I’m in vitamin D withdrawal.  It’s no wonder people get SAD

Have I sufficiently depressed you yet because that wasn’t my intention.  I need you to keep reading through the tears.  Step away from the ledge, damn it!  The buck stops here with my doom and gloom rant because after darkness, there is always some light. The morning sun is rising earlier than normal and, with that, my eyes feel as though they’re opened a bit wider.  My dawn workout, a little easier; almost as if it’s solar fueled.  Best of all, I have something ever so wonderful to look forward to afterwards… breakfast.

To treat my “SADness,” I self-medicated with a hearty portion of this divinely tasty oatmeal bake.  It’s loaded with yummy and filling whole grains and seasonal fruit.  Best of all, it comes together in ten minutes (baking time excluded) and can feed you and your crew for a few days at a time.  It’s the kind of dish that is also extraordinarily brunch-friendly and tasty enough to sneak in among the common “health-food-phobe” types.  (Dad, you’re not reading this are you?)  Anyhow, the recipe was loosely adapted from Heidi Swanson’s huckleberry baked oatmeal in her fantabulous and deliciously healthy cookbook, Super Natural Every Day.  I subbed in almond milk for regular milk (the latter just doesn’t agree with me in large doses), replaced and upped the fruit, and added some ground flax for good measure.  The recipe is extremely basic and super flexible, making it impossible to put a limit on the directions you can take it: peanut butter-banana, blueberry-almond, tri-berry, peach, coconut-pineapple, raisins, plums… you name it, it would work.  So use your imagination and get creative with what’s in season – or fresh picked and frozen – in your neck of the woods.

P.S.  Your home will smell amazing while this is in the oven…

Apple Cranberry Oatmeal Bake
Slightly adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Baked Oatmeal
Serves 6 generously or 12 as part of a larger brunch

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup natural cane sugar
3 Tbsp. ground flax seed
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon + more for sprinkling
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 cups almond milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped
3/4 cup cranberries
Maple syrup for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 375-degrees.  Generously butter the inside of an 8″x8″ baking dish.  Combine oats, half the walnuts walnuts, sugar, flax seed, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt in a medium bowl and mix well.  Combine almond milk, egg, butter, and vanilla in another bowl with a whisk and mix until smooth.

Line the bottom of the baking dish with the banana slices.  Scatter half of the chopped apple and cranberries over the banana.  Sprinkle with the oat mixture.  Drizzle the almond milk mixture evenly over the oats and fruit and shimmy the dish around until all the oats are wet.  Top with the remaining fruit and walnuts and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake 35 – 45 minutes until puffed up, golden, and the mixture has set.  Serve as is or top portions with a generous glug of maple syrup.

A few notes:

  • I used a local hybrid apple, Stayman Winesap, but any apple will do.  I also opted to top the dish with very thin apple slices instead of chopped apple.  This was purely for decoration – either works.
  • Heidi drizzles a couple tablespoons of melted butter over the baked oatmeal after it comes out of the oven.  Not necessary, but no less delicious.  Hello, decadence!
  • This will keep well in the fridge up to four days.  I have been cutting up squares, wrapping them in foil, and reheating at work.  A microwave would do just fine, but I’ve really been enjoying my toaster oven reheats, as the top gets a little crunchy.

24 Responses to “apple cranberry oatmeal bake”

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  1. Claudie says:

    Yup, I’ve never been a huge fan of daylight savings either. It’s interesting what you say about SAD too, because, if I’m not wrong, starting this year, Russia has decided not to do daylight savings anymore just in order to prevent people from getting it. I’m interested to see data on the effects in the future.
    In any case, your bake is definitely a great way to treat any SAD symptoms. It’s pretty, with holiday colors. Just what we need right now!

  2. I hate daylights saving time in the winter. I don’t care about the extra hour of sleep, give me back my sunlight!

    Anyway, this looks fantastic. Definitely bookmarking this recipe!

  3. Anna says:

    Not a fan of DST either but since I can’t do anything about it…I try not to dwell much on it, I just search for good recipes in the net with a heavy heart and then I realize I have managed to smile due to recipes like what you have posted =)
    I love apples and oatmeal and so does my little girl…This is truly a treat! A must try!Have a great day ahead, thanks for sharing!

  4. Kara says:

    This sounds incredible! Will be making soon 🙂 thanks for the recipe!

  5. Wow, this looks amazing and perfect for these dark wintery days! Definitely planning to make this soon…beautiful picture too!

  6. I never knew… such a homey warm food could look this beautiful! I’m definitely trying these out…

    • KarmaCucina says:

      Aww, thanks Jesica! I wasn’t confident the deliciousness of this dish would translate well in a photograph. Glad to hear it’s looking good!

  7. jane says:

    Oh, this recipe looks so yummy & healthy, too!
    I have to say, though, that I think you actually like dst, because November (when we set our clocks back an hour) actually marks when daylight saving time ends, rather than when it begins. I am all for dst all year ’round, because I also dread the early darkness at this time of year! 🙂

  8. Juile says:

    Alyss, this looks and sounds AMAZING! I can’t wait to try this one out. I am going to have to sub out the cranberries–not a fan, but you know the peanut-banana combo is right up my alley 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • KarmaCucina says:

      Cranberries… You either love ’em or hate ’em.

      I think this would be AMAZING with bananas, toasted peanuts and dollops of peanut butter plopped in. Let me know if you do it!

  9. Gail says:

    Just finished having seconds! I’ve been looking for a baked oatmeal recipe, tried one and it was a disaster. This one is a keeper! Great flavor, texture and especially good with pure maple syrup drizzled over the top. There will be NO leftovers to pack away–thanks for sharing!

  10. Nicole says:

    quick question about the almond milk- sweetened or unsweetened?

    • KarmaCucina says:

      I use unsweetened, but sweetened would work as well. This dish packs plenty of flavor, so no need for the extra sugar


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