In my world breakfast doesn’t begin until coffee is present and accounted for. More often than not it’s thick, black espresso, lovingly nicknamed “jet fuel” made on the stove top in an old fashioned percolator. If I’m not at home, it’s a coffee shop Americano, but either way I want it to be strong, dark and bold. I don’t add cream or sugar to my coffee, but I do enjoy coffee in sweets like my Coffee and Cream Cake or warm coffee over vanilla bean ice cream for a classic affogato. Bittersweet is a flavor profile I really love. Coffee and cinnamon both fall into this category and I find them quite remarkable together, so these Cinnamon Espresso Oats were a somewhat obvious breakfast hybrid for me. They are simple to prepare – this is barely a recipe – but they make up for it in the complexity of their nuanced flavor. I’ve dressed them up here with some creamy slices of banana and crunchy green pumpkin seeds because I find oats to be at their best when they are part of a textural landscape with a variety of things going on. All alone they can be a bit, well, stodgy, but add a crunchy crisp something or a soft fruit and they get infinitely more exciting.
I have always admired ‘morning people’ because I have never really been one. I’m not a sleep-all-day type either, but I do not have a magical internal clock that rouses me, energetic and alert, every morning. In fact, the snooze button gets a lot of use and I have been known to spend far too much on really, really comfortable bed sheets.
But sometimes on the weekend I cannot help but purposely get up early before everyone else because I love the quiet stillness of the house in the early morning. I like to get up, putter around, make some tea, and catch up on some online reading — nothing too strenuous. Not surprisingly, I also capitalize on such quiet, solo mornings by cooking, blogging and taking pictures – thank goodness for the huge kitchen window and the moody softness of morning light.
So much of life is spent hurrying, worrying and just trying to get up and out the door. A weekend morning of solitude can be a welcome reprieve after (or before) a hectic work week. In the summer, early mornings are nice to spend outside before the heat hits, but now that fall has really arrived, the coziness of foggy mornings keeps me inside and gets me thinking of something warm and sustaining for breakfast.
Cinnamon Raisin Baked Oatmeal
Preheat oven to 350°
Butter for the baking dish
1 ½ C rolled oats (not quick oats)
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1 C raisins
3 C milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
Butter a 8×8 inch baking dish. Add oats and spices. Top with raisins. Stir together milk and vanilla and pour over oats. Bake for 40 minutes until tender and browned. Serve immediately with milk and more maple syrup or brown sugar as desired.