Contrary to what my Pinterest feed told me I should’ve been loving this fall, I never really got into the pumpkin craze. There were loads of beautiful pumpkin-based dishes worthy of pinning and making, but, I just wasn’t feelin’ it. Not even the pumpkin spice latte, which I’ve had just once this year, and only because the Starbucks in question was out of every other option (including, humorously, salt for their salted caramel mochas — amusing because the only Starbucks in my ‘hood is nestled inside a Kroger. Salt, everywhere.).
No, this fall, I’ve been all about the apples and my current go-to snack: sliced apples with Justin’s Maple Almond nut butter. I made an accidental discovery this year: Sweet Tango apples. Or, wait: a quick googling just revealed that it’s spelled SweeTango, and that it’s a cross between the king of apples, Honeycrisp, and Zestar.
All I can say is, if you like apples, you must get thee to a grocer and try the SweeTango. It’s crispy and juicy, more on the tart side than sugary sweet, but with a honey-citrusy finish. This is an apple you can easily chomp down to the core and be left to wonder where it all went so fast.
The morning after our first snowfall — very minor, but it still counted, unfortunately [shakes fist at Mother Nature, who stole my summer away so quickly] — I reached for my cold-weather favorite breakfast food, steel cut oats, and when I noticed the SweeTangos lining my counter, I knew exactly what had to happen: apple pie oatmeal.
Delectable SweeTango apples, seasoned with apple pie spices, all cooked in a steaming pot of hearty oatmeal.
As the title of the post has hinted, this recipes takes the added step of lightly toasting the oats first, which brings out a layer of warm, nutty flavors that only oats toasted in brown butter can have. Make no mistake, folks: it’s small touches like this that take ordinary cooking and make it special.
Off to the store to get more apples!
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small apple peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup steel cut oats
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar or maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon apple pie spice blend
- 1 teaspoon salt
- almond soy, or dairy milk, as needed (optional)
Combine all spices in a small bowl and stir or whisk to blend, set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium pot (that has a lid) over medium heat. Add apples and stir to coat with the butter. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the spice blend over the apples, and cook the apples for about 5 minutes, stirring occassionally, until the apples begin to soften.
Scootch the apples aside in the pot, add 1 tablespoon butter to it and let melt. Add the oats to the butter and stir to coat - try to keep them separate from the apples. Toast the oats in the butter for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add boiling water to the pan and stir well. Cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
Uncover and reduce heat to low. Let the oatmeal set for a few minutes.
Stir in the brown sugar/maple syrup, spice blend, and salt. Taste to make sure there's enough seasonings (you might need a little more spice blend or a pinch of salt). Add milk, if using and stir until the oatmeal reaches desired creaminess (I usually use 1 to 2 tablespoons).
Spoon into bowls and top each with a pat of butter, if desired.