PA Dutch Baked Oatmeal
Baked oatmeal sounds like a bland boring dish, but when basic comfort food is embellished PA Dutch style, it becomes a delicious and unusual way to serve this breakfast staple. Somewhere between hot cereal and a soft granola bar, these fragrant squares are served warm with milk or cream poured around them. The oats are soft but still satisfyingly chewy and the surface develops a bit of a crunchy crust from the brown sugar and cinnamon topping. Each bite has all the flavors and textures of a warm oatmeal cookie.
Baked oatmeal is very popular breakfast fare in the family-style restaurants across the river in Lancaster County where it is served in all sorts of variations. Every local church’s fund-raiser cookbook includes several recipes for this dish. I adapted my version from several of them to come up with this recipe, significantly reducing the amount of sugar and converting it to use regular oats instead of the quick-oats
Despite those changes this oatmeal dish cannot really be considered a particularly healthy breakfast due to the oil and sugar. But it is so delicious that even oatmeal haters love it. It is so good, in fact, that some people serve this as dessert. Well, I guess it does make a healthy dessert.
Because you must assemble it the night before (it takes just minutes) it is an easy dish to serve overnight guests. This basic recipe may be embellished by adding ½ cup dried fruit, such as raisins or dried cherries after mixing it up. You may also get creative with nuts and different spices, but I find this basic version so satisfying I always come back to it.Baked Oatmeal
Yield: 8 servings
(but everyone will want seconds so it really only serves 4)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oil and sugar. Beat in the eggs, milk, salt, baking powder, and oatmeal and mix well. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the oatmeal in preheated oven until firm, about 35 minutes. Let rest about 10 to 15 minutes to firm up. Cut into squares and serve in bowls with milk or cream poured around it.
, PA Dutch