RECIPE: Instant Oatmeal, Maple and Hazelnut Pumpkin Bread

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I am not sure if your husband is like mine when it comes to pantry upkeep. My husband's head spins if we don't finish one kind of cereal, and yet buy and open another. He doesn't quite understand that we girls (meaning my daughter and I) get bored of the same thing, day in and day out. We like to mix it up. My husband, however, is embracing more of his "German" heritage in his old age. He wants everything methodically eaten and finished before moving to the next thing. That can mean days and days and days of the same cereal, and if it's a Costco sized item-you can basically count on it for a month.

Where am I going with this tirade? Well, we had some instant maple and brown sugar oatmeal in the pantry for a bit. We also have discovered a delicious chocolate oatmeal that my daughter and I are crazy for. So we have been surpassing the maple kind to buy and eat the chocolate kind.

Umm, did I mention it was chocolate oatmeal?

SO, one morning, the maple oatmeal box was sitting on the counter next to the coffee pot. This is my husband's passive aggressive way of telling us "EAT THIS." So I was inspired to use it in a healthy version of pumpkin bread. I thought the oatmeal would have great flavor mixed right in with a nice dose of sweetness. It's also a great way to get some whole grain in a sweet bread.

Not to mention I could use up three packets right there and then. That should make my cranky-pants hubby happy.

And it did, tummy and all.

Instant Oatmeal, Maple and Hazelnut Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3 packets of Maple and Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 15/16 oz. can of pumpkin
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup roughly chopped hazelnuts, toasted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350˚. Spray two loaf pans liberally with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.


In a large bowl, mix the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt with a fork. Set aside.



In a very large bowl, whisk the eggs until foamy. Add the sugar and whisk until light and creamy. Add the pumpkin, vanilla and oil and whisk until smooth and combined. Pour half the flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the sour cream and whisk until combined. Then add the rest of the flour and whisk until just combined.


Once the hazelnuts have cooled, finely chop them more with a knife. Add them to your batter. Mix well. Let batter sit for about 15 minutes to allow the groats to absorb the moisture in the batter. The batter will thicken up as it sits.

Once 15 minutes are up, mix the batter a few more times, and divide evenly between pans. Bake both loaves on the middle rack for about 45-60 minutes, rotating a few times as you go. Tops should be golden and puffy with light cracking, and a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Invert them onto cooling racks once they have cooled down a bit and are pulling away from the pan edges. This can take up to 15 minutes or more. So be patient. You want them to fall out of the pan, but not be still so hot that parts of the bread still stick to the insides. If you find them hard to come out, run a rubber spatula or butter knife around the perimeter to help them out.

Serve warm with some butter.




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