The morning hour is at its most romantic when the first site your eyes see are tree tops covered in fresh snow. A house is never quieter, a blanket never softer, a cup of coffee never warmer. While our house is a stone's from from a bustling town center, mornings like today feel as though we are surrounded by nothing but evergreens, each other and our few belongings. There is nothing I want beyond a full pot of coffee, quiet, easy company, and warm, carrot-cakey oatmeal.
About a year ago, I read an article in Cook's Illustrated where the writer was seeking the perfect bowl of steel cut oats without the long simmering. While I agree the texture of steel cut oat far outweighs the texture of rolled outs, I'm the first to admit that the 30 minute cook time is a long time to wait, even on snowy mornings at home. (All you people who don't wake up hungry, I will never understand you). This food writer came up with a genius tip to speed up the cook time without sacrificing the sought-after creamy, toothsome quality of steel cut oats.
The night before, measure out your oats in whatever pot you are going to prepare them in and pour some boiling water overtop. Cover the pot and go to bed! When you wake up, the oats will be slight congealed. Adding the rest of your cooking liquid will quickly break them up, and they will be done in 10-15 minutes! Magic. I'm eternally grateful for the person who figured this out... if I knew where she lived I would mail her a thank you note.
I used the Cook's Illustrated method on this oatmeal recipe from Megan Gordon's new book, Whole Grain Mornings, and it worked like a charm. This book is full of beautiful and practical breakfast inspiration. If you treasure the morning hour, this book is for you.
And if you want to eat oatmeal that tastes like carrot cake, this recipe is for you!
Morning glory oats :: carrots, dried currents, coconuts
What you'll need:
1 cup steel cut oats
1 cup almond milk (or whichever milk you prefer)
3 cups water
2 carrots, finely grated
1/3 golden raisins
1/3 dried currents
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
3 T maple syrup, plus more for serving
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tsp grated orange zest (from about half an orange)
Start the night before by measuring oats into a large pot, and pour in 1 cup of boiling water. Cover, and let soak overnight.
In the morning, stir in the rest of the liquid (2 cups of water + 1 cup almond milk), and bring to a gentle boil. Stir in the carrots, raisins, currents, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, salt and maple syrup. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Once most of the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and stir in the coconut and orange zest. The oatmeal will thicken up quite a bit when it cools, so leave a little liquid here. Cover and allow the oats to rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot with a bit of warmed maple syrup, to taste!
*A quick note about proportions: I often use the night-before method to make an easy single serving of oatmeal. To do that, just stick to the 4:1 rule - four parts liquid to one part steel cut oats. I find that 1/4 cup of oats and 1 cup of liquid (3/4 water + 1/4 milk) is the perfect serving for 1. Of course, if you do that for this recipe, scale back all the other ingredients accordingly.