Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal Bites
Yesterday’s culinary experiments were an absolute shitshow.
I know that’s a harsh opening line for your casual blog reading, and I’m sorry, but dear GOD, perfecting these Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal Bites was a nightmare. I’m still recovering from the trauma.
For the sake of back story, I’ve been wanting to experiment with baked oatmeal for a while (so hot this year), but the thought of taking up precious fridge space with a giant dish of oatmeal in the springtime seemed rather silly. Then I stumbled across some recipes where peeps had bypassed the casserole in favor of baked oatmeal muffins (genius!), and given my finger food fetish, it didn’t take long to realize I should go mini. As you can imagine, the thought of baked oatmeal “bites” got me all kinds of hot and bothered, and I was determined to make them a reality.
I’ve mentioned before that baking isn’t exactly my strong suit, and based on Domesticate ME!’s recipe archives, it’s pretty clear that I avoid it as much as humanly possible. But every once in a while, I have a really boss idea (i.e. baked oatmeal bites) that motivates me to break out the baking powder and brave the potentially disastrous consequences. So yesterday, I donned my best baking sweat suit and got down on it.
For whatever reason, I was dead set on doing a lemon-poppy seed thing with my bites, and I mixed up an oatmeal batter with that flavor profile in mind. It was very wet and yogurt-heavy, but whatever. It would be creamy and delightful! I spooned it into the mini muffin wells, popped the tin in the oven, and waited for my creation to come to life. Halfway through the baking time, I realized I had forgotten to add baking powder, but again, whatever. The bites probably wouldn’t even need it! I listened to this song on a loop. I drank coffee. I waited.
20 minutes later, I pulled out my finished bites. They didn’t look the best, but I was still hopeful. Looks can be deceiving…
They were disgusting.
In fact,“weird and squishy” would be an overly generous description of those sad little balls. Too much yogurt, I thought. Not enough lemon. Defs need baking powder. I gave myself a mini pep talk and went back to the drawing board.
Batch numbers 2 and 3 were equally disappointing, and I seriously considered throwing in the towel. I was tired, I’d eaten approximately 10 unworthy oatmeal bites, and in an attempt to unearth some vanilla extract from the depths of my spice cabinet, I’d smashed a bottle of cayenne pepper all over the counter/floor. The pepper cloud caused me to cry very real tears, and necessitated a timeout to Google “cayenne inhalation death?” Like I said, shit show.
When I have repeated recipe fails, I either a.) freak out and take a nap, or b.) force myself to go in a completely different direction. Lucky for you, I chose the latter in this case. I had one last shot to make something work with my last 2 cups of oats, so I scrapped the lemon-poppy seed nonsense and added a mashed banana, maple syrup and some lemon zest to my wet ingredients. Then I mixed a good amount of cinnamon into the oats, stirred in a cup of fresh blueberries, and crossed my fingers.
When I pulled that batch out of the oven, they were lightly browned and smelled like sweet, cinnamon-y magic. I was tempted to burn my mouth on one, but instead, I made a game-time decision to sprinkle them with a little brown sugar and stick them under the broiler to caramelize. I forced myself to let those beauties cool for a few minutes like a responsible person, and then I took a bite.
Soft, sweet and bursting with berry flavor, these things are truly little bites of heaven, people. 100% worth the baking PTSD. They make a perfect portable breakfast or snack on their own, but I have to say, they’re pretty unreal topped with almond milk or a dollop of Greek yogurt. And since these babies re-heat like a dream, you should definitely consider keeping a batch in the freezer at all times.
Just FYI, the banana flavor is very subtle here, so even if you’re not a die-hard banana fan, I think you’ll dig these. It’s mostly there to keep things moist (sorry) and to help bind the oats, but if you really hate banana, you can try swapping in ½ cup of apple sauce or yogurt. You should also feel free to mix up your berries based on the season and/or what you have on hand. I imagine these would be fabulous with peaches or cherries this summer…
Epilogue: I’ll have you know that I got up this morning and met my besties for iced matcha lattes and a walk along the West Side Highway. (My determination to like matcha and exercise knows no bounds!) It was all fun and Sex and the City until we got caught in a torrential downpour and had to walk the last 15 blocks in the rain. When I finally got back to my apartment, freezing and drenched (but still rocking a very non-jittery caffeine buzz from my matcha!), I was Logan-style PSYCHED to remember the bag of oatmeal bites stashed in the freezer. After a few seconds in the microwave, those bad boys became all kinds of soft and fluffy, and despite my rain-induced ‘fro, I’m now feeling pretty fabulous about today.
Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal Bites: (Makes 20 bites)
1 ripe banana
1 cup almond milk
1 large egg
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut oil (in liquid form)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup fresh blueberries (or berries of your choice)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
Preparing your Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal Bites:
-Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
-Place the banana in a large bowl and mash well with a fork. Add the almond milk, egg, maple syrup, vanilla extract, coconut oil, lemon zest and juice, and whisk until smooth and well combined.
-In a separate bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon, salt and baking powder.
-Add the dry ingredient to the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.
-Stir in the blueberries.
-Spoon the oatmeal mixture into the prepared mini muffin tin. Filling the wells almost to the top. You should have enough oatmeal for 20 bites.
-Bake for 20 minutes until the oatmeal has set and the tops of the bites are lightly browned.
-At this point you can simply let your bites cool, but I like to sprinkle the bites with a little brown sugar…
-And then pop them under the broiler for a couple minutes until they get nicely browned and crispy on top.
-Let the bites cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes. Serve warm OR carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely and then refrigerate/freeze in an airtight container until you’re ready to eat.
I mean, let’s take a moment to appreciate that top. And now the side view…
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil in liquid form
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup fresh blueberries or berries of your choice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar optional
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
Place the banana in a large bowl and mash well with a fork. Add the almond milk, egg, maple syrup, vanilla extract, coconut oil, lemon zest and juice, and whisk until smooth and well combined. In a separate bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Add the dry ingredient to the wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Stir in the blueberries.
Spoon the oatmeal mixture into the prepared mini muffin tin. Filling the wells almost to the top. You should have enough oatmeal for 20 bites.
Bake for 18-20 minutes until the oatmeal has set and the tops of the bites are lightly browned. (At this point you can simply let your bites cool, but I like to sprinkle the bites with a little brown sugar and then pop them under the broiler for a couple minutes until they get nicely browned and crispy on top.)
Let the bites cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes. Serve warm OR carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely and then refrigerate/freeze in an airtight container until you’re ready to eat.
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