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Baked Oatmeal

101 Cookbooks, the gorgeous blog started by Heidi Swanson in 2003, is one of the sites that inspired me to launch Lottie + Doof. That may surprise you if you were to compare the nutritional qualities of the two sites, but I really related to Heidi’s sense of design and to her relationship to food. It is one of the places on the web that continues to inspire me to cook. Heidi also writes some lovely cookbooks and I was pleased as punch that she sent me a copy of her newest, Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen [1].

It is incredibly beautiful and from the moment I picked it up, had a hard time putting it down. It is easy on the eyes, a good read and full of recipes that had me itching to cook. It is rare that a book can do all three things, but when it does, you know it is a keeper. I kept annoying Bryan by making him look at photos and recipes that I liked—my excitement could not be contained.

Currently, the book is filled with scraps of paper marking the recipes I plan on trying. There are many scraps of paper, but I decided to start with this recipe for baked oatmeal.

I know baked oatmeal is a thing, but it is a thing I had never tried. I have no idea why. I like oatmeal, I like baking—seems like a no-brainer. Bryan’s sister (hi Heather!) was staying with us last weekend and the three of us couldn’t get enough of this recipe. I will be making it again and again, it is fantastic. It is easily adapted as fruits come in and out of season. I can even imagine a version with jam in the depths of winter. Bryan was impressed with the leftovers, he heated this up the next day and loved it. The blueberries had turned everything a little grey by then, but close your eyes and you’ll be happy.

Thanks, Heidi, for creating such a beautiful book and for inviting all of us into your kitchen.

Of course, we couldn’t leave well enough alone and poured a tiny bit of cream on ours. Milk would be a good compromise. Either way, this is straight-up delicious.

Baked Oatmeal (from Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen [2] by Heidi Swanson)*

Preheat the oven to 375F / 190C with a rack in the top third of the oven. Generously butter the inside of an 8-inch / 20cm square baking dish.

In a bowl, mix together the oats, half the walnuts, the sugar, if using, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, if using, the milk, egg, half of the butter, and the vanilla.

Arrange the bananas in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle two-thirds of the berries over the top. Cover the fruit with the oat mixture. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the oats. Gently give the baking dish a couple thwacks on the countertop to make sure the milk moves through the oats. Scatter the remaining berries and remaining walnuts across the top.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Drizzle the remaining melted butter on the top and serve. Sprinkle with a bit more sugar or drizzle with maple syrup if you want it a bit sweeter.

serves 6 generously, or 12 as part of a larger brunch spread

***Recipe reprinted with permission from Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen by Heidi Swanson, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Thanks, Heidi and Ten Speed!