Do you ever wonder about the fascination that we have with serving our food upside down? Take for instance: Pineapple Upside Down Cake. It just has to be served upside down, or well, it would need a new name. Or what about "Fruit On The Bottom" yogurt cups? The goodness is hiding in the bottom and we stir it up and through before indulging. There was a restaurant when I was a kid that served a kids' "Surprise Sundae." Yeah, you guessed it: underneath the inverted sugar cone, chocolate sauce, and the dollop of vanilla ice cream there was buried treasure. Please don't tell me that I was the first to reach down, fist first, straight through all the sugary goodness to unveil the prize of color coated chocolate candies! Truly, there's something to be said about special foods having that element of hidden surprise.
I think that Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal fits nicely into that special food category. From the top, the unsuspecting breakfaster assumes a baked oatmeal, and is drawn in by the crunchy pecans and a waft of the cinnamon-y aroma. All it takes if the first spoonful to reveal the hidden soft sweet apples and tangy cranberries beneath. Delectable goodness is baked into both the bottom and the top. And it doesn't even have to stop there. Truly the crowning glory is a Warm Vanilla Custard Sauce that is poured over each serving, filling in the cracks and bringing a warm and cozy breakfast to the culmination of perfection. But why stop at breakfast? This dish also makes a just-sweet-enough treat for a rustic dessert.
Go ahead and indulge in this warming breakfast. And I won't tell anyone if you dig straight away to the delectable hidden layer!
Here's what to do:
Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal
1. In a the bottom of an 8"x8" baking dish, spread 1 Tbsp. melted coconut oil. Layer 2 cups peeled, thinly sliced apples over oil and sprinkle 1/2 cup dried cranberries over apples. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. brown (muscavado) sugar. Set aside.
2. In a bowl whisk together 2/3 cup rice milk, 1/3 cup honey, 2 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 eggs, and 1/2 cup melted coconut oil.
3. In a separate larger bowl, stir together 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir gently to combine. Pour mixture over apples and cranberries.
4. Top oatmeal with 1/4 cup pecan pieces and 1 Tbsp. brown (muscavado) sugar. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes.
5. Serve individual portions topped with Warm Vanilla Custard Sauce (coming soon!)