Introduction: Baked oatmeal has a fascinating history, dating back to the early 1800s when oats were first cultivated in Europe. Oats were initially used primarily as livestock feed, but their culinary potential was soon discovered. Today, baked oatmeal remains a popular choice for breakfast, cherished for its wholesome ingredients and cozy, satisfying texture.
Historical Context: Oats are one of the oldest cultivated grains, with a history dating back over 2,000 years. They were first domesticated in Europe, where they thrived in the cool, damp climates of regions like Scotland and Ireland. Baked oatmeal, as we know it today, likely originated in these regions, where oats were a dietary staple.
- Preheat the Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×9-inch baking dish or line it with parchment paper for easy removal.
- Combine Dry Ingredients: In a mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, chopped nuts, dried fruits, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon. Stir these dry ingredients together until they are evenly distributed.
- Whisk Wet Ingredients: In another bowl, whisk together the milk, maple syrup (or honey), eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Combine Dry and Wet Ingredients: Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir everything together until all the ingredients are well incorporated. The mixture will have a slightly thick, oatmeal-like consistency.
- Transfer to Baking Dish: Pour the oatmeal mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading it evenly.
- Bake: Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown, and the oatmeal is set.
- Cool and Serve: Once baked, remove the dish from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack for a few minutes. This helps the oatmeal set further. You can then cut it into squares or scoop it out.
- Serve: Baked oatmeal is delicious when served warm. Top it with fresh berries and a dollop of yogurt if desired. The natural sweetness of the fruits and maple syrup will add a delightful touch to your morning.