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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Baked Oatmeal Muffins with Banana, Chocolate Chips and Pumpkin


I’m always looking for easy and satisfying things to have on hand for breakfast.  I discovered baked oatmeal as an alternative to hot-cooked oatmeal or to my favorite, “Over-Night Oats”.  Having moved to a nearly-dairy free and low-fat, low-sugar diet, baked oatmeal has become a new favorite breakfast staple for me.  I can bake a batch of these and then freeze them, allowing me to grab a baked oatmeal muffin each morning to have as part of my morning meal.  I love the multitude of ways I can vary the flavors of this recipe and adapt it to a variety of dietary needs. 

When using oats, I opt for quick-cook or regular rolled oats, not instant oats, which tend to go gummy when liquid is added.  Look for gluten-free oats if possible, especially if you have gluten intolerance. 


The baked oatmeal can be flavored and varied according to your tastes.  Instead of nuts, use seeds like pumpkin.  You can omit the pumpkin puree (which adds a lot of moisture) and instead, increase the mashed bananas to 2 or three bananas.  Fold in frozen blueberries or other frozen fruit; or a mixture of dried fruit such as craisins, chopped apricots, and raisins.  This recipe can be made dairy-free, gluten-free, and even vegan, buy varying the ingredients.  Alternatively you can use egg substitute like Egg-Beaters or flax eggs.  Milk substitutes, like almond milk works very well.   If you like your baked oatmeal sweeter, you can increase the sugar to ½ cup or use a combination of sugar and maple syrup, or honey or agave nectar. 

Baked Oatmeal with Bananas, Chocolate Chips and Pumpkin Ingredients:
  •         2 Eggs – lightly beaten
  •     1 Cup Milk (Almond/Soy/Rice/Regular – your choice)
  •     1/3 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar or ¼ Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
  •          1 Cup Pure Pumpkin Puree
  •         1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  •         1 Tablespoon Vegetable/Canola or Melted & Cooled Coconut Oil or Melted & Cooled Unsalted Butter
  •         1 Medium-Large Banana – Mashed (about ½ Cup total)
  •         2 ½ Cups Rolled Oats
  •         ¼ Cup Flax Seeds (optional)
  •         2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Seasoning
  •         1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  •         1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  •         ¼ Teaspoon Kosher Salt or Sea Salt
  •         ½ Cup Chopped or Sliced Nuts such as Almonds, Pecans or Walnuts
  •         ½ Cup Semi-Sweet or Bittersweet Chocolate Chips or Chopped Chocolate

Directions:
  1. Preheat Oven to 375 Degrees and set a rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Grease/spray a large 12 muffin tin and set aside.  If using muffin cups, line the tin. Or, grease an 8x8 baking pan.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and milk and 1/3 cup of sugar (or ¼ cup of brown sugar) until pale and frothy, and then beat in the pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, and oil.  Whisk until thoroughly combined.  Lastly, fold in the mashed bananas.  Set aside.
  4. In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients – Rolled oats, flax seeds (if using), cinnamon, baking powder and baking sodas, and salt. Then stir in the sliced/chopped nuts and chocolate chips.
  5. Carefully pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and fold to combine – do not over mix.
  6. Using a spring-loaded ice-cream scooper – dollop out the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling each muffin tin ¾ full – not quite to the top of the tin, to allow for rising.  Or, pour the batter into a prepared 8x8 baking pan. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over all the batter/muffins.
  7. Bake the muffins for 30 minutes, on a rack set in the middle of the oven.  Rotate the muffin pan half-way through the baking time.  After 30 minutes, test to see if they baked oatmeal is set – by inserting a skewer into the oatmeal to see if it comes out clean.  Baked oatmeal “muffins” should be golden brown and the center should spring back when touched.  If not baked enough, bake for another 5-8 minutes.
  8. If using the 8x8 baking pan, bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating the pan once.  Oatmeal is done when the top is golden brown and the batter no longer jiggles when the pan is shaken.
  9. Turn the baked oatmeal muffins out onto a rack to cool.  Once cooled, store in a covered container and refrigerate.  Eat within 4 days.  Baked oatmeal can be wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months.  If baking in an 8x8 pan, cool in the pan before serving.
  10. Serving Suggestions: Serve hot or cold, with maple syrup drizzled over or a dollop of yogurt, or with fresh fruit and berries.  These are great to eat out of hand as your breakfast-on-the-go!


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