I’ve been waiting for a nice, chilly morning to make this lovely bowl of Toasted Coconut Pecan Steel Cut Oats.
But, geez, it’s still like summer around here in the northeast, with well above average temperatures.
Normally, I get a little blue at the end of summer. That feeling usually fades away by the end of September as the excitement for fall sets in.
This year, for some reason I still haven’t figured out, I was ready for summer to end by mid August.
I had no end of summer blues. I was just ready to be done with hot, humid weather. But summer has been hanging on like gum on a shoe. Seriously, I just want to cozy up in a sweater. Is that too much to ask the week before Halloween?
We had a few really cool nights recently and it was awesome sleeping weather. The past two days? Warm and really humid.
You’re going to think I’m crazy, but just ask my hair. It knows exactly what % humidity we’re having. It’s at its happiest at about 72% humidity. Plus or minus 10% or more and I’m assured a bad hair day. I’m not kidding, either. It’s a proven fact :)
So, I stopped waiting for the weather to change and went ahead with the recipe. (Carpe Diem!) I happen to love steel cut oats. I love oatmeal in every form, but steel cut oats have such a hearty chewiness. I find that chew factor very satisfying.
It’s kind of like farro. Nice and chewy and hearty.
The only possible con to steel cut oats is that you need 20 minutes to cook them. If you don’t have that time in the morning, (I don’t), just make them the night before and heat them up in the microwave the next day.
Like regular oatmeal, this is a one pan deal. Unlike regular oatmeal, I’m using a combination of organic reduced fat coconut milk and water for the liquid.
This recipe is very much inspired by a Filipino dessert dish called, “Kalamay.” Kalamay is made with a short grain sticky rice. For today, I’m just subbing in steel cut oats and reducing the sugar dramatically.
With rice? Sticky. With steel cut oats? Chewy. Lots of sugar? Dessert. Low sugar? Breakfast! :)
A word on coconut milk. I’m not going to go into the various health claims on all things coconut, be it coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut sugar etc. There’s plenty of research out there with contradicting views. Me personally? I consider it a treat. Others might consider it a health food. I’m pretty sure, though, we’ll all agree that it’s delicious.
The coconut milk adds great flavor and a creamy richness. I cut it with some water to reduce the overall fat content. And honestly, I prefer the water in the recipe anyway. It keeps the recipe from becoming too rich or too creamy.
To make this easy dish, you’ll bring the milk, water and sugar to a boil then stir in the steel cut oats. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
I used 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar in the recipe. That amount gave it a light sweetness that was plenty for my family. I could have easily gone with just 1 Tablespoon or even none. You can adjust to taste, using more or less. And you can use any sweetener you like such as honey, maple syrup or agave.
If you haven’t already toasted the nuts and coconut, you’ll have plenty of time while the oatmeal cooks. I used to burn toasted nuts often until I came up with a method that works for me every time.
Instead of toasting in my main oven or on the stove top in a dry frying pan, I use the toaster oven. I spread whatever I’m toasting in a single layer on a piece of foil or small baking sheet.
I set the toaster to the lowest setting, which on mine, is a “1.” This controls how long they’re in the oven. And the bonus is that my oven beeps when the time is up.
They’re never done on the first try, so I’ll repeat the process until the nuts are fragrant or the coconut has the color I’m looking for. I never forget they’re in the oven, and the toaster intervals are short enough so that nothing gets burned.
When the oats are done, go ahead and top them with the coconut and pecans. Their toasted flavor is wonderful and they add such great texture.
That’s all you need for these Toasted Coconut Pecan Steel Cut Oats. It’s a hearty, fiber rich breakfast that keeps us satisfied until lunch time.
Once it’s in the bowl topped with nuts and coconut, it’s ready to go. (Though feel free to add extras to your hearts delight.) For us, the oats were perfect as is. Actually, I could have used one more thing….a chilly morning…
and 72% humidity ;)
Toasted Coconut Pecan Steel Cut Oats
- 13.5 ounce can Reduced Fat Coconut Milk
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- toasted coconut
- toasted pecans
- 1 cup steel cut oats
Shake can of coconut milk well, then pour into a large (4 cup) liquid measuring cup. You'll have about 1 1/2 cups of milk. Add water until you have a total of 3 cups of liquid. Pour milk/water mixture into a sauce pan.
Add brown sugar and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally to incorporate the melting sugar.
Once the mixture comes to a boil, stir in the steel cut oats. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover, stirring occasionally. Cook for 20 minutes or to desired tenderness.
Top with toasted coconut and pecans and serve.
*It's easy to burn nuts or coconut when toasting. You have to keep a watchful eye because it happens fast. If you have a toaster oven, here's my tip. Place nuts or coconut on a foil lined tray. Toast on the lowest level (that's level 1 on my oven.) Check for doneness. Repeat toasting on that low level until you can smell the aroma of the nut or the coconut is the desired color. The timer on the toaster is a constant reminder not to forget about what's in the oven.
*Do not toast the nuts and coconut together. They need different times and you'll likely burn one while waiting for the other to finish.
*The amount of sugar I used yields a very lightly sweetened oatmeal. I wanted just enough to bring out more of the coconut flavor. My family thought it was perfect as is; I could easily have cut the sugar in half and been fine. You can omit the sugar, increase it for more sweetness, or simply offer additional sweetener at the table for those who desire it. You can also use other sweeteners like honey, maple syrup or agave.
*If you want to make these the night before, allow them to cool. Transfer to a storage container or into individual microwave safe serving dishes. Cover the top by placing plastic wrap directly on the surface of the oats. This will help keep the top from drying out. In the morning, heat it up in the microwave.
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