Baked Blueberry-Banana Oatmeal

baked_oatmeal.jpgThis recipe, originally from Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks (great site btw) has been all over the internet, but I was a little skeptical of the whole idea of oatmeal baked in the oven. I am picky about my oatmeal and don't like it too cooked, so I was afraid baking it would end up dry and/or pasty. Once I made it once, however, I converted whole-heartedly. The finished dish was creamy, sweet, almost like a banana pudding with the layer of bananas and fresh blueberries scattered throughout. Start to finish it takes around 1 hour to make, which can be a long wait in the morning, but most of that is hands-off time in the oven. Plus leftovers the next day or two are wonderful heated up with a little milk poured over.

1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup maple syrup, plus more for serving
1 cup milk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or spray a 1 and 1/2-quart casserole dish with either butter or cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, toss together the oats, half of the walnuts, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, milk, egg, the melted butter, and the vanilla.

Place the sliced banana pieces in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle about two-thirds of the fresh blueberries over the top of the bananas, then cover the blueberries with the oat mixture.

Drizzle the milk mixture over the oats, making sure to distribute the milk as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries and walnuts over the top of the oats.