Butter-Toasted Oatmeal with Sticky Apple Topping

January 21, 2012

Last weekend it was far too cold to make our way to the public market (where our usual Saturday breakfast fare comes in the form of breakfast tacos from La Placita), and oatmeal sounded like it would hit the spot. This recipe in my Gourmet Today cookbook caught my eye since we still had some apples left over that we had picked in the late fall (and which were started to get a bit soft), and I had plenty of time that morning to cook the steel-cut oats.

Steel-cut oats are whole oats that have been cut crosswise into a few pieces after processing, whereas more commonly found rolled oats are steamed and then flattened into flakes. They can take up to 40 minutes to completely cook, compared to about 5 minutes for rolled oats, so this is definitely a weekend or day-off breakfast! The extra time to cook is totally worth it, however. Steel-cut oats have a chewy texture which is never gloppy, and toasting them slightly brings out their nutty flavor. The hot apple topping adds a perfect amount of sweetness, making this a wonderfully warming and satisfying breakfast. Any leftovers can be kept up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave.

Oatmeal with apple topping

Serves 4



  • 2 1/2  tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1  cup steel-cut oats
  • 4 1/4  cups boiling water
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1/2  stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2  Gala or Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2  cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8  teaspoon salt
  • 1/4  cup half and half


  1. Make the oatmeal: Heat butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until foam subsides. Add oats and cook, stirring, until oats are pale golden and have a nutty fragrance, about 4 minutes. Carefully add boiling water and salt and boil, stirring occasionally, until oats swell and oatmeal thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until oatmeal is soft and thickened, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the topping: Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat. Add apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown. Reduce heat to moderate, add brown sugar and salt, and cook, stirring gently, until sugar is melted. Simmer topping, stirring occasionally, until apples are very tender and almost translucent, about 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in half-and-half and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Divide oatmeal among bowls and spoon topping over. Serve hot.

One comment

  1. […] of work, definitely not an everyday or even an every-weekend type of meal. Sunday morning we made oatmeal for breakfast (no apple topping though), we whipped up some fettuccine for lunch, and then ended […]

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