The colder the weather gets, the more appealing the idea of starting the day with something warming is, and nothing is quite as warm and satisfying as a hot bowl of oatmeal (hot coffee is a year round staple, naturally). Maple syrup or brown sugar are all I really need to make a bowl of oatmeal perfectly enjoyable, but when I have the chance I like to play with flavors and get more creative. Chai spiced oatmeal is one example of this. Today’s oatmeal was inspired by a favorite dessert: coconut cream pie.
I added coconut flavor to this oatmeal in two ways, using coconut milk and shredded coconut. Coconut milk can be a bit too rich – even the low fat variety – if it is used to replace all the milk in a bowl of oatmeal, so I use a combination of water and coconut milk as a base. Shredded coconut is stirred into the mix, along with a pinch of salt and some vanilla, and the finished bowl is topped off with a bit of whipped cream. Toasting the coconut is optional, since it is easier to use untoasted and untoasted still tastes great in the bowl. I usually have sweetened shredded coconut, so I don’t add in sugar or syrup, although you can certainly sweeten to taste.
These flavors can easily be adapted to use in steel cut oatmeal if you have more time to make up a big batch. I often use quick-cooking on weekday mornings when time is at a premium, so I’ve written the recipe to work for a single serving of “regular” oatmeal, whether you prefer to use plain rolled oats or quick-cooking.
Coconut Cream Pie Oatmeal
1/2 cup rolled or quick cooking oatmeal (not instant)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup coconut milk (regular or low fat)
3 tbsp sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
whipped cream, optional
Combine all ingredients in a medium microwave-safe bowl and cook according to package directions (usually about 2 minutes on high for quick cooking, 3-5 minutes for regular rolled oats) until oatmeal is tender and creamy. Stir well, and top with a dollop of whipped cream to serve.
Makes 1 serving