Individual Baked Oatmeal: Success or Failure?

I was reminded yesterday that for some crazy reason we have an abundance (some would say “overabundance”) of steel-cut oats in the pantry.  If I’m being honest, which I suppose I am, I will tell you that Jeff and I can easily go on tangents with food.  We find something we like and then we make it repeatedly until we get sick of it.  That’s probably what happened with the steel-cut oats – we went on a tear (or perhaps “tare” would be equally appropriate) with steel-cut oats and burned out!

Abundance of Steel Cut Oats

Abundance 2

Well, regardless of the reason for having 4 bags/boxes of steel-cut oats, I decided to use them!

Breakfast is a difficult meal for me – I’m usually running late and “don’t have time for breakfast.” AND I’m not someone who likes sweet foods in the morning. Since I’ve yet to find a pizza flavored breakfast cereal and I don’t make time to make eggs for myself, I need fast but healthful options I can grab on the way out the door.

Keeping my personality quirks in mind, I decided to make individual baked oatmeal cups using steel-cut oats.  I looked at several recipes for baked oatmeal online and cobbled together my own ideas and those recipes that would work with the ingredients I had on hand.  I used very little sweetener, but added some peanut butter and jelly to the middle for flavor and protein.  I also added a few chopped salted peanuts for crunch and a nod to the savory.

So, was my experiment a success or a failure?  I guess that depends on your definitions of “success” and “failure.”

Out of the Oven

I haven’t tasted them yet so it’s difficult to say.  I wanted to taste my creation while writing this post (and I will), but before I do I will share some initial impressions with you:

I thought using muffin papers would make my baked oatmeal cups more easily transportable, but I didn’t consider that the oatmeal had to soak in the dry ingredients overnight in the fridge.  I lined the muffin tins with papers and filled them with the oatmeal mixture.

Next time I make these, and I will make them again to play with the recipe, I will soak the mixture in a large bowl and divvy it out among the lined muffin tins just prior to baking.  The papers got soggy and created a mess in the tins and made the individual servings difficult to remove from the tins.  Some came out easily and others were a mess!

However, I still think using muffin papers will make transport easier than not using them.

I also think some of the servings had more moisture than others and therefore baked differently.  Again, a viable solution is soaking the entire recipe in a bowl overnight and then divvying it out just before baking – after the dry ingredients have had a chance to soak up the liquid ingredients.

So, success or failure?  The moment of truth is upon us.  I will now taste my creation and let you know the final analysis!

On the Cooling Rack

Well….peeling the papers from the oatmeal made me realize that more testing is necessary.  I thought, just a moment ago, that continuing to use muffin papers was a good idea; however I lost a lot of my baked oatmeal because it stuck to the papers.  Of course, that could be because the oatmeal soaked overnight in the paper-lined tins and if I added the mixture to the papers just prior to baking they wouldn’t stick; but it could be that the papers are just a bad idea…..more testing is definitely in order!

As far as taste and texture go, for my money they were right on.  The oats were still just a bit crunchy, they were not too sweet but every now and then I got a little hint of sweetness from the jelly, and the chopped salted peanuts added an interesting element of savory.

I will keep working on the recipe before I share it with you.  But I will tell you that for a non-sweet breakfast girl (and one who is usually eating breakfast on the fly) these are a great option.

Cooling Rack 2

Success or failure?  For me, experimentation in cooking is part of the fun; so I prefer to think of this as Thomas Edison might have.  He is quoted as saying, “I have not failed.  I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”