Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal

Spring is a time of transition. The long daylight hours and warmth of the sun bring promise of summer, but the chill of the mornings are still reminiscent of winter. The bare branches are beginning, ever so slowly, to gain color. In my personal life, it is also a time of transition. After an exhausting search for a house involving multiple offers and multiple disappointments, an offer was accepted on my dream house. I am still nervous, fearful that somehow even now it will all be too good to be true. There are still compromises, as I knew there would be (mainly being in proximity to a busy, noisy road), but the rest is more beautiful than I dared to imagine.

As the reality of a huge purchase is settling in, I am trying to shake off the anxious energy building within me. The closing date is two months away, so I'm spending my time designing the new space instead of worrying about the decision. The move from an apartment to a home will be an enormous shift in a dozen different ways, but I couldn't be more excited about the change.

Over the last couple months, the overwhelming stress of the house search made it difficult to take proper care of everything else. Dishes sat on the counter, clothes piled up on the floor, and other responsibilities were set aside as all free time was devoted to looking at houses. Making meals in large quantities was one choice that helped ease the stress. One of the best breakfast decisions was making a large batch of baked oatmeal on the weekends.

During the spring months, when the weather is still unpredictable, I find that a big bowl of hot cereal satisfies the hunger as well as the soul. Oatmeal has a warmth and heartiness that starts a day off right. With this baked version, I used frozen blueberries for convenience. The oatmeal comes together quickly and leftovers can be easily reheated to enjoy during the rest of the week.

Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal is a hearty breakfast that is enjoyed hot from the oven. Cinnamon spiced oats are layered with sliced bananas, toasted almonds, and blueberries. The oats are lightly sweetened with maple syrup; additional syrup can be added to each serving to find the ideal level of sweetness. The baked oatmeal reheats well, which makes it ideal for a quick breakfast on weekday mornings.

One Year Ago: Bananas Foster Sauce 
Two Years Ago: Banana Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes 
Three Years Ago: Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread & Coconut Macaroons
Four Years Ago:  Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Coconut Whipped Cream, Chocolate Ginger Biscotti, & Banana Cinnamon Pancakes
Five Years Ago: Chocolate Caramel Crispy Bars, Tropical Banana Bread, Strawberry Balsamic Jam, & Strawberry Honey Oatmeal Bars
Six Years Ago: Banana Pudding, Devil's Food Cake, Flourless PB Cookies, & Orange Scones

Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal
Adapted from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day

Yields 4-6 servings

2 cups (160 grams) old fashioned oats
1/2 cup (70 grams) almonds, toasted and chopped
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (500 mL) whole milk (I used almond milk)
1/4 cup (65 mL) pure maple syrup
1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 to 1 1/2 cups (175-225 grams) fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, half of the almonds, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the milk, maple syrup, egg, olive oil, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

In the prepared pan, place banana slices in a single layer. Sprinkle on 2/3 of the blueberries and cover with the oat mixture. Pour milk mixture over the oats. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 blueberries and remaining almonds.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown and oats are set. Serve with a splash of milk and a drizzle of maple syrup for extra sweetness, if desired.  

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    Kristin Rosenau

    Photographer, writer, and baker of all things sweet.

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    Oatmeal Fudge Bars

    I have held an affinity for houses since I was young. Growing up, I had recurring dreams of houses filled with endless rooms. I would explore them, opening door after door, impatient to see what the next one held, disappointed when I finally awoke. Nowadays, my love for houses reveals itself in less subtle manners. Along with a standing date to watch This Old House on Sunday mornings, I regularly go on home tours for no reason other than a curiosity to know what's inside. In the summer, my boyfriend and I go on long walks around the lakes scattering our Minnesotan city. The lake walks are our compromise; he prefers to take in the beauty of nature and I prefer to take in the beauty of the lakefront properties. 

    I imagine the lives held within those four walls—what the mothers hope, what the fathers fear, what the children dream.

    Now that I've recently started the search for a home, the excitement I've kindled has faded somewhat as the reality has sunk in. The market is difficult, the region I'm searching is one of the highest priced in the city, and the houses I can afford will need a lot of love. I understood there would be compromises, but it wasn't until I was actually faced with the tangible decisions that I realized how difficult this process would become. Do I choose the house with the beautiful yard, but disappointingly tiny kitchen? The house with the pleasing fit and finish, but dysfunctional layout? While a good coat of paint can go a long way, it cannot cover up the unchangeable.

    Right now I am looking for a beautiful place, a beautiful place to grow my family, a beautiful place that needs only a good coat of paint and little else. It doesn't exist—not for me and not right now—which has been a hard realization to swallow. Adjusting my expectations has left me with complicated feelings, especially when reality still comes at such a high price.

    A house doesn't make a home, as my mother reminds me. And she's right, of course. It will be up to me to make a place beautiful, to put in the love and the work and the hope, to build a home.

    Oatmeal Fudge Bars are a sweet, chewy bar to satisfy your cookie cravings. The bars feature rich dark chocolate sandwiched between chewy oatmeal cookie layers. The cookie layers are more pronounced than the chocolate, creating a balance between flavors. Enjoy with a tall glass of milk.

    One Year Ago: Quick Puff Pastry & Traditional Challah
    Two Years Ago: Chocolate Orange Cake & Blackberry Coconut Scones
    Three Years Ago: Almond Cake & Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
    Four Years Ago:  Blueberry Lemon Pancakes, Lavender Lemon Shortbread, Lemon Pudding Cake, & Chocolate Oat Muffins
    Five Years Ago: Rosemary Focaccia, Swedish Visiting Cake, Chocolate Toffee Scones, & Rosemary Crackers
    Six Years Ago: Lemon Chocolate Tart, Coconut Cream Cupcakes, Yeasted Waffles, & Vanilla Almond Cupcakes

    Oatmeal Fudge Bars

    Yields 16 servings

    Oatmeal Bar
    1/2 cup (113 grams) butter
    1 cup (200 grams) brown sugar, packed
    1 large egg
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 3/4 cups (170 grams) old-fashioned oats

    Chocolate Filling
    5 ounces (140 grams) semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
    1/3 cup (80 mL) heavy cream or full-fat coconut milk
    1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with parchment paper and lightly grease.

    In a medium bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until uniform. Gradually add flour, baking soda, salt, and oats, mixing until uniform. Press 2/3 of the dough into the prepared pan evenly. Set aside the remaining 1/3 of dough.

    In a microwaveable safe bowl, combine roughly chopped chocolate, heavy cream, and espresso powder.  Heat in 30-second increments in the microwave, stirring between each increment until smooth. Pour over dough and smooth.

    Crumble remaining 1/3 dough over the top and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting and serving.

    7 Comments

    Kristin Rosenau

    Photographer, writer, and baker of all things sweet.

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    Sprouted Wheat Vanilla Chai Bars

    The world is powered through small acts of compassion: a simple text message to say thinking of you to a friend, taking time to truly listen to another person, giving a voice to the needs of others, a genuine smile towards a stranger. Though compassion comes in many different methods and is as varied as people themselves, showing compassion does not come easily to me. I am sometimes awkward with words, the right order often failing to appear. Instead, I channel my feelings and thoughts of goodwill into the food that I bake. I may not be able to speak away the worry or ease the pain, but I can pull up a chair to the table and share burdens and bars alike.

    Compassion towards others, in acts both big and small, comes in many forms—even dessert—which is why I wanted to bake up something sweet and special using one of my new favorite flours: sprouted wheat.

    Sprouted wheat flour is a fine, soft textured flour with a mild, nutty flavor. The flour is made from white whole wheat berries which are sprouted, dried, and milled. The process of sprouting enhances the nutritional benefits of the 100% whole grain flour, improving the digestibility and providing a good source of fiber. With an inherent sweetness and creamy appearance, the flour is quickly becoming a pantry staple in my kitchen.

    For everyday use, sprouted wheat flour can be substituted 1:1 for whole wheat flour or up to 50% for all-purpose flour in your favorite recipes. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of all-purpose flour, you can use 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup sprouted wheat flour instead.

    These vanilla chai bars are similar to a sweet, spiced blondie. The recipe starts by whisking together sprouted wheat flour with a leavener, chai spice, and salt. The dry ingredients are set aside and the liquid ingredients are prepared.

    In a saucepan, butter and brown sugar are melted together until they form a smooth paste. Once the mixture cools, eggs and vanilla extract are stirred into the mixture. The flour is gradually added and the batter is stirred until uniform. Sprouted wheat flour absorbs liquids and holds water better than other flours, resulting in a final product that stays moist.

    The batter will be quite stiff when fully mixed. I recommend using a spatula to transfer the batter to a prepared 9" x 13" baking pan. Once there, use your hands to press the batter into an even layer. Using any other tool here is a fool's errand; the batter sticks to the tool and pulls away from the pan, making a simple task into a more complicated process.

    The texture of the bars can be customized to fit your taste. For chewy bars, bake for 17-21 minutes, and for bars with a cake-like texture bake between 23-27 minutes. For my ideal texture, I baked the bars for 22 minutes, achieving the best of both worlds.

    When the bars come out of the oven, they should be cooled for at least 15 minutes, or until warm to the touch, before adding the topping. The bars are brushed with a layer of butter and sprinkled with chai-spiced sugar. Then, the pan is shaken until the sugar forms an even layer and left to cool completely before slicing. Alternatively, the bars can be topped with a drizzle of white chocolate. However, I prefer the crunchy texture and contrast the sugar adds to the bars. The opportunity to lick granules of chai-spiced sugar from the tips of my fingers and corners of my lips is a source of joy.

    For more recipe inspiration or to learn how to incorporate sprouted wheat flour into your favorite recipes – both savory and sweet – take a look at King Arthur Flour’s complete guide.

    Sprouted Wheat Vanilla Chai Bars are a sweet, spiced version of a blondie. The bars are moist and chewy due to the addition of brown sugar. Covered with a layer of butter and chai-spiced sugar, the crunchy top and dense interior provide a contrast in textures. The recipe yields two dozen bars. With plenty to go around, these bars are a sweet treat to bake and share with family and friends, or perhaps as a token of compassion. 

    One Year Ago: Chocolate Almond Cake & Coffee Eclairs
    Two Years Ago: Chocolate Raspberry Tarts & Rosemary Soda Bread
    Three Years Ago: Banana Cacao Nib Muffins, Chocolate Almond Biscotti, & Grapefruit Rum Cocktails
    Four Years Ago:  Bruleed Grapefruit, Bacon & Chive Beer Bread, Pomegranate White Wine Panna Cotta, Toasted Almond Fig Cookies, Coconut Raisin Granola, Chocolate Pudding, & Black Tea Honey Cake
    Five Years Ago: Cheddar Dill Biscuits, S'mores Brownies, Beer Bread, Flourless Chocolate Rum Cake, & Mocha Pancakes
    Six Years Ago: Vanilla Rum French Toast, Banana Bread Oatmeal, Chocolate Blueberry Ice Cream, & Chocolate Coffee Cake

    Sprouted Wheat Vanilla Chai Bars
    Recipe from King Arthur Flour

    Bars
    2 cups (227 grams) King Arthur Sprouted Wheat Flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    4 teaspoons chai spice*
    2/3 cup (150 grams) unsalted butter
    2 cups (425 grams) light brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract

    Chai Spice Topping
    3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    3/4 teaspoon chai spice
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

    Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and chai spice until well blended. Set aside.

    In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes together and forms a fairly smooth, shiny paste, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the hot mixture to a medium bowl and allow it to cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir until well combined; the batter will be stiff. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

    Bake the bars for 17 to 21 minutes (for chewy bars) or 23 to 27 minutes (for cakier bars), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it; the top crust will have risen and fallen.

    Remove the bars from the oven and allow them to cool for 15 minutes.

    For the topping, mix together the sugar and chai spice in a small bowl.

    Gently brush the melted butter evenly over the surface of the warm bars, then sprinkle on the spiced sugar, shaking and tilting the pan to distribute the sugar evenly.

    Allow the bars to cool completely, then cut them into squares.

    *To make homemade chai spice, mix together 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon cardamom, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper, and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon orange zest

    This post is sponsored through a partnership with King Arthur Flour. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

    4 Comments

    Kristin Rosenau

    Photographer, writer, and baker of all things sweet.

    Print Recipe!