Five years ago I hosted my very first Thanksgiving. At the time, I was living at the beach, renting a cute little two bedroom apartment with a lake view. Savannah, my Berner, was a year old, meaning I had successfully taken care of a living thing and kept it alive for an entire year. I was working my first real job, which is why I was on call at the hospital and had to host Thanksgiving rather than driving back home. I was a REAL grownup.
My mom delegated the task of appetizers and dessert to me. Having just started cooking more than mushroom pasta the year before, I was a little intimidated, especially about baking dessert. I mean, you actually have to read directions and measure ingredients! I was really excited though, and spent hours scouring cookbooks and blogs to decide what to make. I may have lived in a crappy apartment with linoleum flooring, but darn it if I wasn’t going to have a Martha Stewart approved Thanksgiving spread. For dessert, I finally settled on this bittersweet chocolate and pear cake with browned butter from Smitten Kitchen.
And y’all. That cake was a solid life decision. Honestly the best dessert I’ve ever had. Something about the juicy pears with the browned butter and bittersweet chocolate combination was heaven. I’m actually really sad writing this and realizing I haven’t baked that cake since then. I’m always picking out new recipes to try, which is fun, but sometimes means I’m forgetting oldies but goodies.
That cake was the inspiration behind this recipe for browned butter pear and dark chocolate baked oatmeal. My banana and raspberry baked oatmeal was a regular in our house, so I decided to switch it up with this more fall-appropriate version. I love to make this dish to use up pears that are a little past their prime. I always manage to forget them in the fridge, then discover them when they’re bruised and looking sad.
If you’ve never had browned butter before, get ready for a treat. It’s made by cooking butter over medium heat until the milk solids brown and caramelize, infusing the melted butter with a rich, nutty flavor. I love to use it in baking and in pasta dishes, like my spaghetti with roasted cauliflower and browned butter sauce. It makes your house smell like heaven too!
This recipe is perfect for batch cooking. I make this on the weekend then have an easy breakfast to warm up and eat while I’m getting ready during the week. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!
This post was originally published July 2014. Images and text have been updated to give you the best possible content.
Pear and Dark Chocolate Baked Oatmeal
2 cups oats
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
2 cups milk of choice
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large pear
2 tablespoons unsalted organic butter, cut into cubes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix the oats, nuts, baking powder, spices, salt and chocolate. In a medium bowl, mix almond milk, egg, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
Cut the pear(s) in half. Scoop out the core with a spoon. Slice into 1/4th inch slices and layer half in the bottom of an oiled casserole dish. Spread the oat mixture evenly over the pears. Pour the almond milk mixture evenly over the oats. Top with the remaining pear slices.
Place in the oven and bake 40-45 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and side aside to cool slightly.
While the oatmeal is cooling, make the browned butter. Place the butter in small skillet, preferably light colored (so you can see the color). Place the pan on medium heat and stir the butter constantly so it doesn't burn. It will bubble and foam, then the foam will start to subside (keep stirring!). Afterwards, you'll start to see it change in color to a caramel brown. Once it looks light brown and caramelized, pour the butter over the oatmeal. Slice and serve, or cover and refrigerate up to 5 days.
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