I prefer hearty, steel cut oats to old-fashioned oats but I don’t prefer them enough to launch a 45 minute cooking endeavor in the morning.  Some things require a good short cut.  And, I have found one.  The guys at The Bitten Word suggested a little “night before” prep followed by only 10 minutes of cooking in the morning.   It worked!

I then got greedy and tried to find an even EASIER method.  Some say that a rice-cooker is fool proof for almost any grain. Wake up, put the water and oats in, go take a shower while oats cook.  Unfortunately, I came down this morning to find a gloppy, sloppy mess on my counter from a rice-cooker, bubble over mishap.  It may have been the small size of my rice-cooker that was to blame but the oats were still a little too chewy and the bottom layer of oats was stuck on the rice-cooker creating additional ugly clean up.  I’ll stick to the overnight soak.

Toppings?  I went with freshly toasted almonds, cranberries and maple syrup. Maybe it doesn’t make a lot of sense that I am NOT willing to wait 45 minutes for oats to cook but I AM willing to take the time to toast almonds first thing in the morning.  If you have a toaster oven, put the chopped almonds on the mini baking sheet and toast them.  Added benefit: Your house will smell amazing.  The mixed aromas of fresh brewed coffee and toasted almonds are aromatherapy for a winter morning.

Overnight Oatmeal with Almonds and Dried Cranberries

Food & Wine
Makes 6 Servings

1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
6 cups water
1/4 cup chopped salted roasted almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Brown sugar or pure maple syrup, for serving

In a large saucepan, boil the oats in the water for 1 minute. Cover and let stand overnight at room temperature. The next day, uncover the oats and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the oatmeal is cooked and creamy but still a little bit chewy, about 10 minutes. Spoon the oatmeal into bowls. Top with the chopped almonds and dried cranberries and sweeten to taste with brown sugar or pure maple syrup.

The prepared oatmeal can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Rewarm in a microwave oven and thin with water if necessary before serving.