Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal with Pomegranate Molasses

So December starts on Saturday... Wait what??!  Yeah.  Time flies when you're having fun, or in my case working a full time job and starting a small business simultaneously.  Let me pause for a second because it still makes me lose my breath every time I say the words "small business"...  Ok I'm back.  And with pumpkin oatmeal!  And Pomegranate Molasses!  And a lot of exclamation points!!!

Have you ever had baked oatmeal?  I hadn't until last weekend.  I know, I know.  I'm a little late to the baked oatmeal party, but better late than never, right?  I've been thinking about this baked oatmeal since it was officially late enough in September to call it "fall" and pumpkin puree started gracing store shelves.  I knew I wanted to sweeten it with maple syrup, subtly spice it with cinnamon and fresh ginger, and give it a good dose of pumpkin.  After I had concocted this baked breakfast treat in my mind, I knew I had to make something to top it with.  I couldn't leave well enough alone and serve it naked, so I made a pomegranate molasses to go with it.  If you think it sounds odd, just trust me on this one.  It's delicious, especially on this oatmeal.

Before I get to the oatmeal, I wanted to announce that December will be cookie month on the blog!  I'll be sharing a variety of cookies and other treats you can make and give away for the holidays.  Or, if you're like me, you can make them as a treat for yourself.  Treat yo self!  (Parks & Rec anybody??)

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal with Pomegranate Molasses
notes: If you want easy breakfasts for the week, make this oatmeal on the weekend, then reheat a portion with a bit of extra milk when you need it.  If you don't really like pumpkin, you can use an equal amount of mashed up bananas, applesauce, or other fruit puree in its place.  You might be able to find pomegranate molasses already made in the middle eastern section of your store if you don't feel like making it.   

for the oatmeal:
3 cups whole rolled oats
2 tsp cinnamon
a heaping tsp freshly grated ginger (or 1/4 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp sea salt
6-8 tbsp pure maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want it)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups hazelnut milk (or other milk of your choice)
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
raw sugar for sprinkling on top (optional)
pomegranate arils for serving (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease your baking dish.  Combine the spices, salt, maple syrup, pumpkin, and milk in a bowl.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth and uniform.  Add the pecans and oats and stir until well coated in the pumpkin mixture.  Spread the oatmeal into the baking dish.  You can sprinkle the top with a bit of raw sugar at this point for a little crunch, but it's up to you.  Bake the oatmeal for 30-35 minutes until firm.

for the pomegranate molasses:
16 oz (2 cups) pomegranate juice
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Combine the ingredients in a pan over medium heat.  When the sugar dissolves, drop the heat to low and cook 60-70 minutes until very thick and reduced to about 1/2 cup.

To assemble
Drizzle each portion of the pumpkin oatmeal with molasses, then sprinkle on some pomegranate arils.  If you don't have pomegranate arils, some diced up apples or pears would also be delicious.

Makes 6 servings

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