Kitchen Exploits | Family Favourites #5 - Berry Baked Chocolate Oatmeal

This week's Family Favourites on Kitchen Exploits takes us to languid, unhurried mornings, breakfast spreads laid out casually on a family table, coffee smells, dew in the air, and pleasurable communal eating with loved ones. It also reminds me of this book I have been wanting to get, to enjoy a visual documentation of two women's kitchen tables in a year of mornings.

Our guest blogger today, Zee of Oven Haven, marries beautiful photography and delicious writing on her blog, and posts on gorgeously healthy food she makes on Instagram, often for her toddler. Let us welcome Zee!

:: On most weekdays, breakfast in my household revolves around hurried toasts, reheated frozen pancakes, overnight oats in a jar, and anything else that takes less than ten minutes to go from stove to table. Weekend mornings, on the other hand, are spent over carefully-planned and leisurely-prepared (and enjoyed, if I may add) dishes, punctuating the monotonously laborious prior days with a well-deserved indulgence. This is one of my favourite fuss-free breakfasts worthy of a decadent weekend brunch, but can easily be prepared on a weekday night, stashed away in the fridge, and pulled out to bake in the morning, just before you head the showers, and finish up the thousand-and-one last minute errands that always seem to crop up way too early in the morning.

A refreshing change from your bowl of morning porridge, this baked oatmeal boasts a rich flavour from the bursts of tangy berries and the natural sweetness of pillowy bananas, with a texture falling somewhere in between the firmness of granola bars and the comforting moistness of regular oatmeal. The hint of warm chocolate, along with the unrefined sugar here, lends a depth to meld everything beautifully together, concomitantly giving you a guilt-free treat that is not too sweet for the first meal of the morning.

I’ve personally enjoyed digging into my jar of homemade date syrup (my toddler’s sugar choice) for this, but have included other options for your personal preference. Also, this baked oatmeal is extremely versatile, so feel free to have your reins upon it;- switch up the fruits to the season’s produce, halve / double the recipe, omit the cocoa, increase the sugar amount, add in chocolate chips, etc.

Berry Baked Chocolate Oatmeal 
1 cup organic rolled oats 
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder) 
½ teaspoon baking powder 
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 
¼ cup date syrup (or brown sugar, or honey) 
1 egg 
1 cup milk 
1 large ripe banana, sliced 
½ cup fresh blueberries 
½ cup sliced strawberries 
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C. In a greased 8-inch baking dish, arrange your fruit slices, leaving some for the topping. 
  2. Mix the rolled oats, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon (and brown sugar, if using) in a bowl, then scatter over the arranged fruits. 
  3. Top with the remaining fruits. 
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg, milk, and date syrup or honey (if you're not using brown sugar), and pour half of it over the mixture. Gently shake the baking dish a bit to let the mixture settle in, then pour in the remaining half. 
  5. Bake for about 30 – 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown, and the milk mixture has set. ::

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