This recipe honestly came out of my being lazy. Like the kinda lazy where you know the night before that you’re going to be lazy. LOL It was a Saturday night, 6:30pm, the cell phones were off, the computers were put to sleep (wait, what? No computer Lori??? Whoa!!!) and I was already in my pajamas. To make this night even more perfect Mr. Fantabulous was fully on board with my plan to cut off the world, curl up under the covers and watch movies all night (or until we fell asleep). So yes we were already lazy and I had full on intentions to be super lazy the next day. Now my kind of lazy differs from most I suppose. My lazy still involves laundry, house chores and TKW recipes however I’m done with all of that by like 9am.
So as I was out in the kitchen getting our movie snacks in order I spied the container of Steel Cut Oats in my pantry. Now I really like them but I just don’t make them often. They take longer than regular oats and since it’s just me that likes them I forget that I have them. Well I was bound and determined to not forget about them any longer. Since we were in uber lazy mode I went straight for the crock pot to let it do all of the work.
The hardest part of this whole recipe was finding a baking dish that would fit inside my crock while leaving a 1″ gap all the way around. You need at least a 1″ gap all the way around (meaning the dish can’t touch the sides of the crock) as you run the risk of cracking the dish. Better safe than sorry. Now if you don’t have a baking dish that’ll fit, you can use a glass measuring cup (4-8 cups) *If using 4 cup, halve the recipe though!
Once I found a container for this, all I had to do was mix the stuff up, dump it in the dish and gently stir. Now the MOST important thing I can tell you next is how to cook it. You CANNOT just put the lid on and walk away. You need to create a bain-marie or in simple terms a water bath. A bain-marie (pronounced “bane mah-REE”) is a container filled with hot water that is used during the cooking process, as with baked custards like cheesecake or creme brulee. The steam from the water fills the oven and keeps the custard moist, so that it doesn’t crack while it bakes.
With overnight oats you need to add water to the crock for two purposes:
1. It adds moisture to the dish. By adding moisture the oatmeal will not dry out. Even though there is milk and apple cider in the dish, cooking it over a low setting like it will in a crock pot, the oatmeal can turn out super dry.
2. It will help prevent the crock and casserole dish from cracking.
Now I’m sure you’ve seen other recipes where folks cook oatmeal in the crock as-is meaning no second dish inside. You can do that BUT it’ll be a nightmare trying to get it all out. The oats will stick around the edges and that’s just no fun.
After maybe 5-10 minutes of putting this together off to the bedroom I went to snuggle up and watch movies with my baby. After a few hours you could smell this cooking and seriously it was AMAZING! It was warm, cinnamony with that apple sweet scent behind it. Soon we drifted off to sleep. Around 6am I got up – actually the smell woke up me. Some folks love the smell of coffee in the morning. Me, I love the smell of warm spices – cinnamon apple. As I waddled out to the kitchen – yes waddle, I was still sleepy-eyed and not fully coherent the smell became so intoxicating. My crock pot had gone to warm and as I took the lid off I was met with one of the most amazing smells EVER. No, like EVER! We’re talking new baby smell awesome!
I lifted my casserole dish out (yes my mitts got wet) and set it on the counter. As I dug my serving spoon into oatmeal I was met with such creaminess and soft chunks of apples. Naturally I spooned a little out for me and took a bite. Dear God it was so good! Creamy and just slightly sweet. This seriously hit the spot.
I then went and grabbed my camera and decided to do the photo shoot. As I plated it I decided to add some warmed caramel sauce and some sea salt flakes. This took it from apple pie oatmeal to salted caramel apple pie oatmeal. Both are equally as awesome but I wanted to see if I could take it up another notch. I’m happy to report why yes, yes I did! Once the shoot was done I made a few more individual portions and let them cool completely before covering and putting the fridge. These reheat beautifully in the microwave by the way.
So a few hours later Mr. Fantabulous woke up and as I brought him breakfast in bed (yes cause he’s that spoiled) he asked if I made apple pie as the whole house literally smelled like apple pie! LOL Unfortunately I had to break his heart and tell him that it was just oatmeal. Yeah I know, I’m a mean wife. LOL
That Sunday I was lazy (by my standards) and had zero regrets about it. I never got out of my pajamas, didn’t brush my hair til right before I took my shower and loved every single minute of it! So go on, be lazy and make this oatmeal! With winter on it’s way this is a great dish to make the night before you have to go to work. Just portion some out and take hot oatmeal with you to work. Make your coworkers jealous!Print
- In a 6 Quart Crock Pot or larger place a 2-3 quart ceramic casserole dish that is at least 2” high.
- Lightly spray the casserole dish.
- Place the casserole dish inside the crock – be sure that there is at least a 1” gap all the way around the dish. If you do not have a dish that works you can use a large glass measuring cup (at least 8 cups. If you only have 4 cups, half the recipe).
- In a large bowl add the oats, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon and gently mix.
- Add in the apple chunks and toss to coat.
- Empty the oat mixture into the casserole dish.
- In a bowl mix together the apple cider and milk.
- Pour the apple mixture over the oats and gently stir.
- Fill the crock (but NOT the casserole dish) at ½ way up the side of your casserole dish.
- Cover and set to low.
- Cook for 7-8 hours.
- *Note: – check the water level every couple of hours (just look through your lid – try not to remove it unless absolutely necessary) to ensure that it’s at around half-way through. You don’t want this to dry out otherwise your crock and or casserole dish could crack.
- Remove the casserole dish using oven proof mitts (yes they will get wet) and spoon your oatmeal.
- Top with optional warmed caramel and sea salt flakes.
I use this 6 Quart Crock Pot