I had a breakfast in Burlington, Vt., a few years back that I’ve wanted to recreate but never got around to it. Now that I’m a busy mom of a 3-month-old and going back to work, I’m inspired to finally give it a whirl.
The original was a steel-cut oatmeal cake topped with whipped cream, fresh berries and maple syrup. The oatmeal is prepared, poured into a baking pan, cooled in the fridge and then individual, square servings are cut out and placed under the broiler to get all the edges browned and crisp. It was oatmeal the way your mother never made it and I could have eaten by the brick. The way the berries and cream and syrup ran down into the cracks of the oatmeal cake, like water over stones…oh…so tasty.
My version adds some portability, though it admittedly lacks the same flair. Instead of a cake, I’ve turned it into a muffin and baked the fruit and syrup into it. I’ve omitted the cream, too (though in the picture, I’ve added a little half-and-half and maple syrup for kicks). I eat these hot or cold, and they can be frozen and reheated at work for an oaty pick-me-up.
4 cups old fashioned oatmeal
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 diced apple
1/2 cup dried dates
1 cup crushed walnuts
3 Tbs. maple syrup (Grade B from Morse Farm)
Liberal dash of cinnamon
Brown sugar for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Bring water and salt to a boil. Add oatmeal. Lower heat to medium and cook oats for approx. 5 minutes. Oatmeal mixture should be thick. Remove from heat and add apples, dates and walnuts (and feel free to vary the fruit and nuts to your liking). Stir in and then add maple syrup and cinnamon. Spoon heaping helpings into a greased 12-count muffin tin (approx. 1/3 cup in each hole). Sprinkle tops with brown sugar if you like. Omit if you’re counting calories. Place in oven for 25 minutes so tops can get browned and a bit crisp. Remove and let cool. Serve as you see fit.