The Biggest Mistake To Avoid With Baked Oatmeal

Baked oatmeal with canned peaches
Baked oatmeal with canned peaches - Kristen Carli/Mashed

While oatmeal is nutritious, a bowl of beige lumpiness may not be what you want to face first thing in the morning (or possibly ever). Enter the oven, the appliance that miraculously transforms plain old oatmeal into a dish of a different texture so you can eat your oats every day without making that "yuck" face. As Kristen Carli describes the consistency of her baked oatmeal, it's "more cake-like than granola bar ... still moist but [it] holds together." This means that you can cut it into bars that are not only more palatable but also more portable than a bowl of the mushy stuff. While this recipe is pretty straightforward, the developer does caution against one big mistake you could make.

As Carli warns, you really need to stir all of the ingredients until they are well combined. If you don't, you might wind up biting into a big chunk of plain oats, which won't taste too great. You should also stir until any fruit you're using is dispersed throughout the batter, so you don't get any giant clumps of that, either. Carli favors canned peaches, which can be smooshed as you stir, but any fruits that aren't quite so soft may need to be chopped up before you mix them in.

Read more: The Most Useless Cooking Utensils, According To Chefs

Another Mistake Might Be To Let The Bars Get Too Dry

Oatmeal with canned peaches
Oatmeal with canned peaches - Kristen Carli/Mashed

With this baked oatmeal -- or with anything you bake, for that matter -- timing is everything. If you forget and leave it in the oven too long, you could come back to find a blackened, smoldering mess that hardly resembles food as well as a pan that will take hours of scrubbing and soaking to rid it of stuck-on food. Barring such a worst-case scenario, though, there's always the possibility that you may leave the baked oatmeal in the oven for just a bit longer than you should. Perhaps you'll realize that you've placed the pan in one of its hot spots so it cooks faster than it otherwise would. In this case, you may find your bars to be dry and crumbly but still salvageable.

If you like a more granola bar-like consistency, you might actually enjoy the drier oatmeal bars, as they'll be more crunchy than squishy. If so, just consume them as they are. If you want your baked oatmeal to be softer, though, you can always put the bars in a bowl and top them with a little warm milk or a scoop of yogurt, then wait for them to soften up. You could also repurpose the dry baked oatmeal by crumbling it up and layering it with fruit and yogurt (Greek, regular, or any other kind) to make a breakfast parfait.

Read the original article on Mashed.