My mom was superwoman. She had a long teaching career; she worked afternoons keeping the books at my grandpa’s hardware store; she shuttled my sister and I to after-school ballet classes, tennis lessons, Japanese language classes, and 4-H meetings, every day of the week; she cooked dinner every night; and she always got her Christmas cards postmarked on the first of December. Then on Christmas day, she’d wake up early to prepare a full breakfast before my sister and I could settle in for a long morning of present-opening.
I couldn’t be more different. My Christmas cards go out after Christmas. When I come home late from work, Pizza Hut is dinner. And despite not having children or even exchanging gifts with the S.O., I can barely drag myself out of bed to have a yogurt on Christmas morning.
But my holiday-morning laziness hatched this recipe.
Baked oatmeal is like a warm bear hug — there’s no heartier, more comforting breakfast on a chilly winter morning. Egg adds a richness missing from stovetop oatmeal, and makes this baked version reminiscent of a bread pudding. It’s creamy, yet balanced with sugary maple, crisp apples, and tart cranberries.
Curling up to a bowl of this baked oatmeal is the perfect way to start Christmas morning or any winter weekend day. It’s easy to prep when you wake up. But if you want to catch a few extra winks of sleep, you can prep the night before, then just do the baking in the morning. Instructions for night-before prep are at the end of the recipe.
Apple Maple Baked Oatmeal
Makes 6 generous servings | Prep time 15 minutes | Cook time 45 minutes
- 2 tart apples (such as Granny Smiths)
- 2 C rolled oats
- 1/3 C maple syrup
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 C milk
- 1 large egg
- 3 T butter, melted and slightly cooled
- Extra butter for baking dish
- 1/3 C cranberries or other seasonal berry
- Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8″ x 8″ baking dish.
- Peel, core, and quarter apples. Thinly slice the quartered apples, no thicker than 1/4″. An apple peeler/corer machine is ideal for the task. If you don’t have one, it may be easier to chop the quartered apples into 1/2″ x 1/2″ cubes.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine apples and oats, and mix until well-incorporated. Transfer apples and oats into buttered baking dish.
- Can now use the same mixing bowl to combine syrup, baking powder, cardamom, cinnamon, salt, milk, egg, and melted butter. Mix until well-incorporated.
- Pour mixture into baking dish, on top of apples and oats. Sprinkle cranberries on top.
- Bake 45 minutes or until the oats have set. Serve warm with additional milk and syrup.
Night-before instructions: Prep through Step 4. Cover everything with cling wrap and refrigerate. The next morning, proceed with Steps 5-6.