Thursday, 2 February 2017

Date Cardamom Baked Oatmeal

I mentioned in a previous recipe for oatmeal breakfast pudding squares that using dates and cardamom could be an option for this very versatile recipe. This is how I make this version of the baked oatmeal. It is a little different to the other recipe but just as delicious, as the method extracts the sweet flavor of the dates, which is complimented by the Cardamom. 
1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 cup Scottish oatmeal
1/2 cup flax meal
2 tablespoons dry, shredded coconut
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 cup dried Medjool dates, chopped
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 ½  teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons allspice
1 ½  teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
1 medium Granny Smith or other slightly tart apple, peeled and coarsely shredded
2 cups milk
1 1/3 cups half and half
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1.      In a large bowl, combine the oats, oatmeal, chopped nuts, flax meal, coconut, baking powder, and salt. 
2.      Mix the sugar, molasses, spices, chopped dates, and vanilla, with the milk and half and half. Slowly bring to below boiling, stirring frequently to prevent it from burning. Remove from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm temperature.  
3.      Heavily grease a 8x8x2 inch baking tin or Pyrex dish (If I’m using Pyrex, I put about 1-2 tablespoons of butter in the dish, microwave to melt, then swirl around to coat the bottom and sides just like you would do when making a bread pudding).  
4.      Whisk the eggs, and add the lukewarm milk mixture to this.
5.      Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix well. Add in the shredded apple. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Use a wooden spoon to distribute the solids evenly. Refrigerate for a few hours (6 hours at least) or overnight for the dry ingredients to absorb the wet mixture. 
6.      Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and fifteen minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until the center is set, firm to the touch, has a golden color, and a cake tester inserted comes out relatively clean (I use a food thermometer to make sure that the center temperature is 164 degrees Fahrenheit or just above). For a nice “crust”, broil for a couple of minutes, watching carefully that it does not burn). Serve warm, or let it cool before freezing. Wrap for freezing as indicated in the previous recipe, using plastic wrap and foil. To freeze, wrap each square in plastic wrap, then wrap in aluminum foil, sealing well, then put all in a plastic freezer bag. To defrost, do so by putting it in the fridge overnight, then warming up in the microwave AFTER removing the foil and plastic wrap. A square with freshly cut fruits, and a tablespoon or two of plain Greek yogurt, is a great way to start your day!.

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