Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa

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This post first appeared over at Real Housemoms where I’m a contributor.

Rich and decadent Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa made from milk, half and half, chocolate, and coconut rum will warm your belly and put a smile on your face!

Rich and decadent Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa made from milk, half and half, chocolate, and coconut rum will warm your belly and put a smile on your face!

It is definitely cold and chilly in the Pacific Northwest where I live. I don’t usually get chilled just from cold temperatures. Its the rain plus the cold that shiver me to my core. When its cold and stormy outside, sometimes the one thing that sounds the best is a hot drink. Add a splash of booze and not only do you have a hot delicious drink, you have a hot delicious drink with just the right amount of wow to really make you smile.

Rich and decadent Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa made from milk, half and half, chocolate, and coconut rum will warm your belly and put a smile on your face!

When I was a kid, the only hot chocolate I knew was the powdered pouch where you just add water. Heck – I used to eat that stuff dry! Now, the taste of instant hot chocolate is pretty awful. Now I definitely feel its worth it to invest a few extra minutes and some higher quality ingredients to have a rich homemade cup of hot chocolate. I’m happy to say it tastes nothing like the instant kind and probably packs a lot more calories and fat – so worth it, my friends.

Rich and decadent Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa made from milk, half and half, chocolate, and coconut rum will warm your belly and put a smile on your face!

Homemade rich hot cocoa will put a smile on anyone’s face, but adding that splash (or in my case hefty pour) of coconut rum, and all things become right in the world. Ever eat a Mounds or Almond Joy candy bar?  It tastes like that, only better. When I drank this hot chocolate, I didn’t taste any booze. I only tasted chocolate coconut heaven. If you haven’t tried making your own homemade hot cocoa or adding coconut rum to your drink, you now have something new to try tonight!

Rich and decadent Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa made from milk, half and half, chocolate, and coconut rum will warm your belly and put a smile on your face!

If you love all things chocolate and naughty, you’ll definitely love one of my most popular recipes – Five Minute Fudge:

five-minute-fudge-ig

And if you love hot chocolate, you should give my Dark Chocolate Vanilla Bean Hot Chocolate a try:

dark-chocolate-vanilla-bean-hot-cocoa-ig

Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa
 
Prep time
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Rich and decadent Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa made from milk, half and half, chocolate, and coconut rum will warm your belly and put a smile on your face!
Author:
Recipe type: drink
Yields: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1-2 ounces coconut rum
  • whipped cream
Instructions
  1. In small saucepan over medium heat, heat milk and half-and-half until milk is almost to the boiling point. When milk starts to coat the bottom of the pan, you'll know its done.
  2. Remove from heat and add chocolate and rum. Stir until fully melted.
  3. Top with whipped cream.
Rich and decadent Coconut Rum Hot Cocoa made from milk, half and half, chocolate, and coconut rum will warm your belly and put a smile on your face!
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Hot Apple Toddy

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Warm your belly this fall with a Hot Apple Toddy made in your slow cooker with apple cider, clove studded oranges, whiskey, and real whipped cream.

Warm your belly this fall with a Hot Apple Toddy made in your slow cooker with apple cider, clove studded oranges, whiskey, and real whipped cream.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. The second August rolls around, I’m all about everything-apple. From the second they are available at the farmers market up until I simply can’t stomach the sight of anything apple related (which usually happens by February or March), I can’t get enough crunchy tart juicy fresh apples, not to mention fresh apple cider, pie, apple brown betty, and even savory dinners with apple. The first time I had hot apple cider out of a crockpot was at a Thanksgiving dinner. The hostess had actually put butter in it. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the fat that floated to the top, I have to admit there was something lovely about the decadent richness the fat added to that warm fall drink. I much prefer, however, to add a dollop of whipped cream at the end.

Warm your belly this fall with a Hot Apple Toddy made in your slow cooker with apple cider, clove studded oranges, whiskey, and real whipped cream.

This classic fall drink, of course, can be made kid friendly simply by omitting the booze, which is exactly why I don’t add it to the crockpot. That, plus the fact that I wouldn’t want any of the alcohol to burn off! You can really use any kind of liquor you want too – rum, bourbon whiskey, whatever warms our belly. My husband is a whiskey lover so that was my liquor of choice, but feel free to set several choices out for your guests and see what they prefer!

Warm your belly this fall with a Hot Apple Toddy made in your slow cooker with apple cider, clove studded oranges, whiskey, and real whipped cream.

Hot Apple Toddy
 
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Warm your belly this fall with a Hot Apple Toddy made in your slow cooker with apple cider, clove studded oranges, whiskey, and real whipped cream.
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 cups apple cider
  • 1 valencia orange, sliced
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 20 cloves
  • 6 ounces whiskey
  • whipped cream
  • spices
Instructions
  1. Add cider to crockpot. Stud orange slices with cloves and add them to the crockpot along with the cinnamon sticks. Set temperature to high and heat for at least an hour.
  2. To serve, add a shot of whisky to a mug, then fill with spiced cider and top with whipped cream.

 

Warm your belly this fall with a Hot Apple Toddy made in your slow cooker with apple cider, clove studded oranges, whiskey, and real whipped cream.
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Classic Strawberry Shortcake

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Classic Strawberry Shortcake, made with fresh strawberries, homemade biscuits, and whipped cream is the easiest and most perfect summer dessert!

Classic Strawberry Shortcake, made with fresh strawberries, homemade biscuits, and whipped cream is the easiest and most perfect summer dessert!If there’s one dessert I’ll never tired of… a dessert that I could eat way more than I should and not get sick… a dessert I can justify as healthy because it contains fresh fruit… it would have to be homemade strawberry shortcake. This is very different than the shortcake I enjoyed growing up. In the era when processed convenient foods were what filled every kitchen in the country (remember hungry man TV dinners?), our version of strawberry shortcake was a slice of Sara Lee pound cake smothered in those frozen strawberries packed in sweetened (very sweetened) juice with as much Ready Whip as my plate would hold. Now, don’t get me wrong – that was freaking delicious. But this recipe is for a homemade shortcake biscuit which is very different than processed pound cake. Its not nearly as sweet and is indeed very biscuit-like. Plus, one cannot beat fresh strawberries – especially ones like these. Look at that deep red! I no longer buy whipped cream in a can anymore. Only the real stuff exists in my house!

Classic Strawberry Shortcake, made with fresh strawberries, homemade biscuits, and whipped cream is the easiest and most perfect summer dessert!My favorite memory of shortcake isn’t even really my own. My dear sweet friend Mindy was competing on the Food Network’s show, Chopped. When it came to the dessert round, she wanted to make shortcakes. I’ll never forget seeing her run to the refrigerator to grab the heavy cream (because unlike real biscuits made with butter, the fat in these shortcakes comes from heavy cream), and her competitor had taken and used all of it. Thanks to her incredible kitchen know-how and quick thinking, Mindy was able to come up with a buttermilk graham cracker shortcake that ultimately won her the contest. See? Cheaters never prosper.

Classic Strawberry Shortcake, made with fresh strawberries, homemade biscuits, and whipped cream is the easiest and most perfect summer dessert!Pictures like the one below leave me speechless. Partly because I cannot find the words to describe such beauty, partly because I’m salivating so much that I’m finding it difficult to talk.

Classic Strawberry Shortcake, made with fresh strawberries, homemade biscuits, and whipped cream is the easiest and most perfect summer dessert!Now, there’s really only a few weeks out of the year where I can make such an exquisite looking short cake because Hood strawberries, unlike ever berries, only have a single harvest season and once they’re gone – they’re gone. There will be other berries throughout this season and throughout the country if you’re not fortunately enough to reside in the great state of Oregon like I do, but none that are as deep red, sweet, and perfect as these Hoods.

I hereby declare that I am willing to sacrifice up to three gained pounds for the pure satisfaction of getting to enjoy as much strawberry shortcake as the Hood growing season will allow!

Classic Strawberry Shortcake, made with fresh strawberries, homemade biscuits, and whipped cream is the easiest and most perfect summer dessert!

Classic Strawberry Shortcake
 
Prep time
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Classic Strawberry Shortcake, made with fresh strawberries, homemade biscuits, and whipped cream is the easiest and most perfect summer dessert!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
strawberries:
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
  • zest from one lemon
shortcake:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
whipped cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
Instructions
  1. Combine strawberries, sugar, and lemon zest. Allow them to develop flavors in refrigerator for at least an hour, up to overnight.
  2. To make shortcake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add heavy cream and mix until just combined. Mixture will be very thick. Form two large rounds for four small rounds on an ungreased pan (I used a cooking stone) and bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. For added crunch and sweetness, you can sprinkle large decorator's sugar on top of the biscuits, if you have some available, prior to baking. Allow to cool once removed from oven.
  3. To make the whipped cream, combine the heavy cream and sugar and beat with whisk attachment on high speed until soft peaks form, about 4-7 minutes.
  4. To assemble shortcake, split biscuit in half. Layer with strawberries in the middle and on top and then top with whipped cream. Enjoy!

 

Classic Strawberry Shortcake, made with fresh strawberries, homemade biscuits, and whipped cream is the easiest and most perfect summer dessert!
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Berry Cheesecake Fruit Salad

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This post first appeared over at Real Housemoms where I’m a contributor.

This BERRY CHEESECAKE FRUIT SALAD sweetened with a secret ingredient is a rich, decadent, and crowd-pleasing side dish or dessert!

This BERRY CHEESECAKE FRUIT SALAD sweetened with a secret ingredient is a rich, decadent, and crowd-pleasing side dish or dessert!

I can’t wait for summer to get here. Not just because these berries would cost a fraction of what I just spent on them (totally worth it, mind you), but Pacific Northwest berries are the best in the world. If you don’t live around these parts, I’m not saying the fruit grown where you live is bad. I’m just saying that there is nothing better than an Oregon berry. Trust me on this one.

… 

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Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake

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Fresh summer strawberries, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream transform a basic vanilla cake into a heavenly STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE POKE CAKE.

Fresh summer strawberries, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream transform a basic vanilla cake into a heavenly Strawber

I got my first half flat of Oregon grown, red-all-the-way-through, undeniably red, fresh and delicious strawberries last weekend at the farmer’s market. I wanted to get Hood Strawberries (aka the sweetest and most incredible strawberry known to man) but they were a wee bit too small, so I went with this variety. I made a couple recipes, but my two little strawberry monsters devoured the rest and my kitchen was sans strawberries until today when I bought more at today’s farmer’s market. And guess what – the Hoods were WAY bigger this week and I got an entire flat this time. Needless to say you will be strawberried-out if you follow my blog by this time next month. Fair warning.

Fresh summer strawberries, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream transform a basic vanilla cake into a heavenly Strawber

You know what a poke cake is, right? I didn’t know up until a few years ago and I’m just now jumping on the band wagon. I’m fashionably late to the poke cake trend, but I intend on not only saturating my blog with strawberry recipes, but poke cakes galore, so prepare yourself!  If you don’t know what a poke cake is, well, its just a cake that you poke holes in. Then, you find some sort of fabulous liquid to fill said holes. BAM!  Poke cake.Fresh summer strawberries, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream transform a basic vanilla cake into a heavenly Strawber

Strawberry shortcake is quite possibly my most favorite dessert in the world, and this version may have just topped the charts. It tastes very similar to the classic, but its different. The sweetened condensed milk adds just the right amount of creamy sweetness.

Fresh summer strawberries, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream transform a basic vanilla cake into a heavenly Strawber

When you pour that perfect mixture over your hot cake, you may need to continue poking it to get all that goodness to soak in. Don’t feel like you’re destroying anything by poking a gazillion holes. No. You are making it oh-so-much better.

Fresh summer strawberries, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream transform a basic vanilla cake into a heavenly Strawber

Take a mental picture of what the cake looks like before and after you refrigerate it. You’ll see how much of the liquid soaks in. So good.

Fresh summer strawberries, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream transform a basic vanilla cake into a heavenly Strawber

Can you see how moist the cake is now?

Fresh summer strawberries, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream transform a basic vanilla cake into a heavenly Strawber

Isn’t it just the prettiest darn dessert ever? It simply screams summer. Enjoy!

Fresh summer strawberries, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream transform a basic vanilla cake into a heavenly Strawber

Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake
 
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Fresh summer strawberries, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream transform a basic vanilla cake into a heavenly Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Yields: 9 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 vanilla cake mix (sized for an 8x8 pan - I use Trader Joe's)
  • ingredients required to make cake (eggs, butter, milk for the one I used)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, stems removed
  • whipped cream (for serving)
Instructions
  1. Bake cake according to box instructions.
  2. While cake is baking, mash strawberries in a bowl with a fork, masher, or pastry blender. The smaller you make the chunks, the more they will soak into the cake. Mix mashed strawberries with entire can of sweetened condensed milk. Stir to combine.
  3. When cake is done baking, use chop sticks or a thin spoon handle to poke holes all over the top. While the cake is still hot, pour the sweet strawberry mixture over the top and continue to poke holes as necessary to get as much of the liquid as possible into the cake.
  4. Allow cake to cool completely in the refrigerator, at least 2 hours.
  5. Top with fresh whipped cream and additional strawberries.
Notes
If using a larger cake mix, you should plan on doubling the strawberry and sweetened condensed milk mixture.

 

Fresh summer strawberries, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream transform a basic vanilla cake into a heavenly Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake.
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No Bake Lemon Ladyfinger Cheesecake

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This post first appeared over at Real Housemoms where I’m a contributor.

Perfect for any celebration, this perfectly sweet NO BAKE LEMON LADYFINGER CHEESECAKE is a wonderful citrus dessert that everyone will love!

Perfect for any celebration, this perfectly sweet NO BAKE LEMON LADYFINGER CHEESECAKE is a wonderful citrus dessert that everyone will love!

When I sat down to write this post, I struggled to find a good title for the recipe. Did I want to call it something that would explain what it was?  (i.e. No Bake Lemon Ladyfinger Cheesecake)  Or did I want to call it what my brain was thinking?  (i.e. Oh My God There Must Be 1000 Calories in Each Slice But It Is Soooo Worth It Cake)  I opted for the shorter title, but am wondering if I should have gone with the longer one now.

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Key Lime Pie

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This authentic homemade Key Lime Pie made with a gingersnap crust will deliver the perfect mouthwatering dessert in the form of a slice of heaven.

This authentic homemade Key Lime Pie made with a gingersnap crust will deliver the perfect mouthwatering dessert in the form of a slice of heaven.

Occasionally I like to publish fun facts about the food I publish including interesting health benefits or why I prefer to use a certain ingredient over the other. Thanks to my friend, wikipedia, I’m going to tell you a bit about key limes:

The Key lime (Citrus ×aurantiifolia) is a citrus hybrid with a globose fruit, 2.5–5 cm in diameter (1–2 in), that is yellow when ripe but usually picked green commercially.

It is smaller and seedier, with a higher acidity, a stronger aroma, and a thinner rind, than that of the Persian lime (Citrus × latifolia). It is valued for its unique flavor compared to other limes, with the Key lime usually having a more sweet and bitter flavor. The name comes from its association with the Florida Keys, where it is best known as the flavoring ingredient in Key lime pie. It is also known as West Indian lime, bartender’s lime, Omani lime, or Mexican lime, the last classified as a distinct race with a thicker skin and darker green color. Philippine varieties have various names, including dayap and bilolo.

You see, I’m sure you could make a key lime pie with regular limes, but that would just feel dirty to me. So, I went to the store and found me a bag of real key limes. They were a real bitch to juice because they were so small, but I was determined to make this pie authentic.

This authentic homemade Key Lime Pie made with a gingersnap crust will deliver the perfect mouthwatering dessert in the form of a slice of heaven.

You can totally make this with your standard graham cracker crust, but I think the flavor of ginger snaps is amazing with the mouth puckering zing of citrus, so I used Trader Joe’s ginger thin cookies. Oh my, was this pie good. I wanted to take some photos of the individual slices but we kind of devoured the pie before I could get one of those pretty “staged” photos. The pie is definitely easier to slice after it has really set in the refrigerator. Also, I used a full 2/3 cup of the lime juice because I love the tart flavor, but keep in mind that the more juice you use, the longer it will take to set up. If you love citrus desserts like I do, be sure to check out my blood orange cupcakes, strawberry rhubarb lemon bars, and my gorgeous (if I do say so myself) strawberry lemonade baked donuts. Enjoy!

This authentic homemade Key Lime Pie made with a gingersnap crust will deliver the perfect mouthwatering dessert in the form of a slice of heaven.

Key Lime Pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This authentic homemade Key Lime Pie made with a gingersnap crust will deliver the perfect mouthwatering dessert in the form of a slice of heaven.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Yields: 8 servings
Ingredients
crust:
  • 9 ounces ginger snaps, processed into fine crumbs
  • 8 tablespoons (1 cube) unsalted butter
filling:
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-2 teaspoons key lime zest
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup key lime juice (depending on preferred tartness)
topping:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1-2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar, depending on taste
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. To make the crust, combine ginger snap crumbs and melted butter in medium bowl and mix well until crumbs are evenly coated. Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a standard 9-inch pie dish. Bake crust in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Set on cooling rack while you prepare filling. Allow oven to remain at temperature.
  3. To make the filling, beat zest and egg yolks in stand mixer with whisk attachment on medium high speed until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until thickened again, about 3 minutes more. Whisk key lime juice into yolk mixture until combined. Pour into ginger snap crust and bake pie for another 10 minutes, until set but not browned. Let pie cool completely before adding topping.
  4. To make the topping, beat heavy cream with sugar in stand mixer using whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Take care not to over or under beat. Spread over top of chilled pie. Ideally, pie should be chilled overnight so that it can fully set and can be easily sliced.
  5. This delicious pie will last up to a week if refrigerated... but who can let a pie like this sit in their frig for a week without eating it?

This authentic homemade Key Lime Pie made with a gingersnap crust will deliver the perfect mouthwatering dessert in the form of a slice of heaven.
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Salted Caramel Steel Cut Oatmeal

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Salted Caramel Steel Cut Oatmeal pairs healthy steel cut oats with a salted caramel topping made from rich brown sugar and just the right amount of salt.

salted-caramel-steel-cut-oatmeal

Everyone knows steal cut oatmeal is a healthy breakfast to start your day.  Its no secret that oatmeal and brown sugar are meant to be paired together.  But not until you prepare this salted caramel steel cut oatmeal topped with delicious whipped cream and fresh berries will you fully understand how much more wonderful this traditional breakfast can be.

The other day we woke up to a refrigerator that contained no milk and no eggs.  After a brief lecture from my convert-foodie husband about the importance of keeping a well stocked frig, and the sad looks on my poor foodie-in-training kids’ faces about how starving they are at 6:30 in the morning, I had to come up with something a) delicious and b) healthy (notice how I put delicious before healthy?).  What to make?  Oatmeal?  Boring.  Wait a minute… how about salted caramel steel cut oatmeal?  Now we’re talking.

salted-caramel-steal-cut-oatmeal-stove

I’ve made steel cut oatmeal more times than I can remember, but this was my first time making it this way and I shall NEVER go back.  What did I do differently than my standard simmer and serve with sugar or syrup?  Well, first I toasted the oats in butter, much like you would with risotto.  It just gave it that extra nutty rich flavor.  Then I cooked them with a cinnamon stick.  I wanted a mild cinnamon flavor without the punch of powdered cinnamon.  Then, what came next, is divine.  I topped the cooked oatmeal with the mixed the brown sugar with kosher salt, melted it in the oven, and then broiled it to a hot bubbly sweet and salty level of perfection.

salted-caramel-steal-cut-oatmeal-oven

Now, I could have stopped here and called it good.  But you know I couldn’t and you won’t be able to either.

salted-caramel-steal-cut-oatmeal-plain

Yep, one scoop of freshly whipped cream and some raspberries from the garden – PERFECTION.  The whipped cream and berries aren’t needed but they sure do add that extra level.  This would also be a great thing to serve at brunch because you can make it ahead of time and just heat before serving.  I’m all about prepping ahead as much as possible to minimize mess on the day of entertaining.

Proof that this salted caramel oatmeal is wonderful on its own?  I forgot to put the uneaten one away.  The next morning, after it sat out all night, I ate it… cold… and it was goooooood.

salted-caramel-steal-cut-oatmeal-bite

 

Salted Caramel Steel Cut Oatmeal
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Salted Caramel Steel Cut Oatmeal pairs healthy steel cut oats with a salted caramel topping made from rich brown sugar and just the right amount of salt.
Author:
Recipe type: breakfast
Yields: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Whipped cream and fresh berries, optional
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepot over medium high heat, melt the butter and add the oats. Stir for 2 minutes to toast.
  2. Add the water and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Keep at a low simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 25 minutes, remove lid and continue to cook off any remaining water.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Add cooked oats to four 6 ounce ramekins. Place ramekins in baking dish. Combine brown sugar with salt and spoon evenly over oats. Place in pre-heated oven 5 minutes until sugar is melted. Turn broiler on high and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes until sugar is browned and bubbly.
  5. Remove from oven and serve as is or top with whipped cream and fresh berries.

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