First things first. This is not a cake.
It might be cut into nice little squares, and look like a cute little snack cake, but one bite and you’ll know that it’s oatmeal, Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal. That’s right, oatmeal..that’s baked…and of the pumpkin spice variety. Yep, I’m jumping onto the now ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte trend, commonly known as PSL. I’m just leaving off the “L”, but feel free to have a cup of coffee with it and we’ll call it even :)
Seriously, the real thing I’m jumping on is a breakfast I can make ahead. And, not only breakfast that I can make ahead, but one that makes enough for more than one meal; I like to leverage my time in the kitchen whenever possible.
Somehow, I’ve evolved to being a mom who makes hot breakfasts about 95% of the time. I think I ate cold cereal and skim milk for most of my single life and one day, I had just had enough. As much as I had loved it for those years, I was o-v-e-r it. That complicated things since cereal and milk is just about the fastest breakfast you can make and I only had myself to worry about back then, so it was particularly fast.
Then I got married and had kids. I had to figure out what healthy choices to feed my family, and over time, that turned into breakfasts like Spinach Feta Egg White Cups, Pumpkin Waffles, Whole Wheat Pancakes or Avocado Toast with scrambled eggs. What do these all have in common? I can make almost all of them ahead of time and either refrigerate or freeze them for a future meal. (Except the avocado toast and eggs…that can’t be made ahead and is quick enough that it doesn’t need to. )
In the summer, I love to make muesli, which is a refrigerator oatmeal that is creamy, cold and perfect on a hot summer morning. It’s super fast to make ahead and there are a million flavor options. But now that it’s fall, I like to transition to a warmer oatmeal choice, which is where this Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal enters the picture. I wanted to see how it would work if I made it ahead of time and just warmed it up in the morning. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to mix something up and bake it for 35 minutes during the week when everyone’s just trying to get out of the house on time.
So, I baked it the night before and decided to make it in one of my family’s favorite flavors, pumpkin. I’m not even going to say a fall flavor, because we really do eat pumpkin year ’round. We love the flavor of pumpkin, but I also like the nice nutritional bonus it adds to the deal. Add that to the fiber rich oats and the protein in the eggs and milk. I even used olive oil here instead of melted butter (which you can sub if you wish.) Together they make for a delicious, hearty and healthy breakfast.
The next morning, I sliced it up, and did a quick reheat in the microwave. (And yes, I had enough leftover for the next morning as well! Woohoo!) I put out milk, pecans (extra protein:) and brown sugar, honey and maple syrup for anyone that wanted additional sweetness, although it doesn’t really need it and I prefer to keep sugar at a minimum for breakfast anyway. My husband went for the maple syrup, but my kids just ate it with milk before they even knew there were some extra sweetness options. I think I had them locked in once they saw the chocolate chips on top. Or, maybe they just thought they were getting cake for breakfast.
Hey, whatever works :)
There’s a deelicious banana version of this oatmeal too! This time, I baked it in a muffin pan :)
Pumpkin Spice Baked Oatmeal
- 3 cups old fashioned oats
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil or other oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups milk I used skim
- 2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips
Optional topping ideas:
- brown sugar honey, syrup
- nuts and dried fruits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9" square baking pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine oats, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking powder.
In a separate bowl whisk together pumpkin puree, oil,eggs and vanilla until well combined. Whisk in milk.
Pour pumpkin mixture over oat mixture and stir well to combine. The batter is going to be very liquidy and appear like it's not holding together. It's not supposed to; just stir until everything is well combined. It's going to look very soupy.
Pour mixture into prepared pan. Because the mixture is so loose, the oats may pile up in areas. Use a spoon or spatula to help spread the oats evenly throughout the pan.
Sprinkle the top evenly with chocolate chips and bake for 30-35 minutes or until set.
Cut into squares and serve warm with additional toppings, if desired. Or, if making ahead, allow to cool, cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, reheat in microwave.
*This recipe is lightly sweetened to allow for adjusting to individual tastes at serving. If you like a sweeter oatmeal, increase sugar to 1/4 cup, remembering you can always add more later. The recipe, as written, is sweet enough for me, but others in my family love adding a bit more sweetness at the table.
*You'll be surprised how much liquid gets absorbed into the oatmeal. I may even try adding more pumpkin in next time to see how much it can take and still bake up with a good texture. I'll add an updated note if I decide to try that. Update 4-2-16: I've recently started using a full cup of pumpkin instead of the 3/4 cup listed in the recipe. Either will work, so I'll leave the recipe as is, but just know that you have an option, especially if you're constrained by trying to use up some leftover pumpkin that you may have on hand. The extra pumpkin adds a bit more moisture and of course, more nutrients!
*Adding milk is optional. If you do add milk, break up your square of oatmeal to help it mix in with the milk. The spices of the oatmeal will add nice flavor to your milk.
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