Baby. It's cold outside. Even for Arizona. This morn' it was raining. You know how it is? I was laying all snuggle-bug in bed and the sound of the rain and wind on the window just made me want to dig deep into the mattress and never leave. I started to get annoyed. I knew I had a big day of work ahead. I almost started to nag. Then I got a grateful heart and remembered I still had a home to live in, family nearby, and yes...the opportunity to work for one of the coolest grain companies ever.
Confession: I still didn't burst out of bed, but I did think of Jimmy Stewart (sigh, swoon...remember he's now old enough to be my grandpa)...It's a Wonderful Life.
"Merry Christmas Emporium!" "Merry Christmas!"
That brings me to Nancy Beykirch.
She's been the "Zu-zu's petals" of my day.
Well...technically I've been eating the petals but still...
Okay. I shouldn't call baked oatmeal "flower petals". However, for the first time in history, I've really loved a baked oatmeal. I'd put it in my pocket and carry it around. I'd be weird...but I'd carry it around. It is literally the taste of Christmas morning love.
Everyone meet Nancy. She's one of my fellow cooking instructors, kindred spirit, and a jolly-happy soul. Nancy owned her own cooking store for 12 years and has mad-skills when it comes to baking. Total kindred spirit. Cute. Cute. Cute! Seriously. The adorable apron should be our first clue that we're of the same water, right?
This is where I confess my frailties.
Confession: I have an awful weakness for pretty much anything Nancy makes. Right when she walked into the teaching kitchen this morning, she unveiled her almond cake...warm...insane. It is made with almond flour and dense with perfect tender texture...topped with toasted crisp almonds. Dear delicate little wedge of perfection...I love you.
That recipe will be another post...
Lets talk baked oatmeal. I've been long on a search for the best baked oatmeal recipe. I've tried a few that were...doozies...in a bad way. I stopped looking.
Today, I tasted a perfection in baked oatmeal that we describe at my house as,
This is it.
Nancy's Christmas Baked Oatmeal Delight
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
3 cups rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp Chef Tess Wise Woman of the East Spice blend
1 cup fresh chopped cranberries
1/2 cup flaked coconut
Brown sugar for topping
In a large bowl,beat eggs and brown sugar until they are thoroughly mixed. Add coconut oil, milk and vanilla.
Add the remaining ingredients (except the additional brown sugar for topping).
Pour the oatmeal mixture into a greased 9 by 13 inch casserole pan.
Sprinkle with brown sugar on top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes uncovered.
Do not over-bake.
Here's a picture of Nancy's hand scooping out some of this warm spiced delight for me...
Here's a picture of her tempting me with the perfect chewy tender texture of the oatmeal... and caramelized crunch of the brown sugar coating.
Here's a picture of me taking the whole pan and leaving her with a small dish...
I am super excited to work with Nancy and I think you'll be glad you made it down. She's adorable, knowledgeable, and just a down-right real person. I'll always hold a special place in my heart for her.
There you go darlings. Have yourself a very Merry Christmas! I know what we're making for breakfast! Nancy...Thank you!
Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess