Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Slow Cooker Overnight Oatmeal (Water Bath Technique)
I've made oatmeal overnight in the slow cooker before. And, although it was good, clean-up was a bit of a bear because the oatmeal cemented onto the sides of the slow cooker (even though I had thoroughly greased the inside walls). We could eat from the middle of the oatmeal, but I had to soak the dang slow cooker for hours, then, literally "chisel" away at the parts that were terribly dried on.
But, I loved waking up to the smell of the oats, apples and cinnamon ... and to having breakfast ready to go! So, I came up with the concept of using a pan inside of the slow cooker and creating a water bath to help with the crusty, almost-burnt edges.
It worked like a charm! I was sooooo thrilled!
I have a large oval slow cooker, which I think would be best since you need to fit a loaf pan down into the insert. You can purchase disposable aluminum pans in various sizes that may work better with your slow cooker ... and, clean up would be even easier!
Although I used apples in my recipe, the options are endless. You can use berries, peaches, dried cherries, raisins or nuts. Or, you can totally omit any fruit during the cooking process and add fresh berries or bananas to your own bowl in the morning. Drizzle on some maple syrup, pour on some milk or top with a little fruit preserves. Whatever your fancy, just know it'll be a great meal to kick-start your morning right!
I used old-fashioned oats, but steel cut oats work great, too. They hold up a little better during long-term cooking ... and have a nuttier flavor and heartier texture.
Yields 4 - 5 Servings
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (not quick-cooking or instant!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups milk
1 cup water (plus more to create the water bath)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 apple, cut into chunks (Either peeled or unpeeled - whatever your preference)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cinnamon (however strong of cinnamon flavor you prefer)
Place a ball of foil crumpled up on the bottom of your slow cooker. This will help sturdy your pan if it doesn't quite sit stable enough in the slow cooker.
Place a greased bread loaf pan (yes, mine is very well-used and has many "miles" on it) on top of the crumpled foil.
Add in the oats, salt, brown sugar and butter. Pour in the milk, water and vanilla. Stir.
Top with the apples and cinnamon. Do not stir.
Gently pour about 2 cups of water into the bottom of the slow cooker where the foil is.
Lid and cook on low for 6 - 7 hours. (Mine was ready around the six-hour mark, so I just turned the slow cooker to warm as the family trickled in for breakfast.) This is how it will look. Give it a gentle stir. Sprinkle on some more brown sugar, if a sweeter taste is desired.
You'll wake up to the most amazing smells in your house ... and to breakfast waiting for you!