Since Molly Yeh is basically the Michael Jordan of food blogging, she may not need a huge, adjective-heavy introduction. I bet you know about her award-winning site, her penchant for 90’s treats, and her cozy sugar beet farm life with a bunch of chickens, all named Macaroni. I got to meet Molly in Las Vegas a couple years ago, and her smile that beams so brightly in the photos? It beams like that IRL! While her food style isn’t necessarily on the hippie dip level that I try to maintain, her personality rings true in every single thing she does and I have a lot of respect for that. I feel like she’s at least partially responsible for the massive level of tahini appreciation on the internet.
Her brand new cookbook Molly on the Range is more than just a collection of recipes organized by course. Everything is centered around life/seasonal events as well. Clever and heartwarming illustrations are woven throughout the pages. Some of the recipe headnotes are more than a full page long! There are stories about the food that she grew up with in the suburbs, a hilarious anecdote that precedes her recipe for hummus, and an analysis of successful farm lunches. There are intersections of culture and unique experience throughout. It’s like having a pal on your bookshelf, and that pal has tested homemade funfetti 923648 times. Beyond her unique recipes, you get to be a part of Molly’s world for a bit. I think every really good cookbook tends to accomplish that immersive experience to some degree.
I saw Renee’s hot chocolate recipe that utilized Molly’s Hawaij a while ago, and that was the start of this recipe. Hawaij (pronounced huh-WHY-adge) is a spice blend that is commonly available in 2 ways. The one that I’ve used from the book is typically added to ground coffee prior to brewing for that little extra somethin’. I never really knew it until now, but Hawaij is the autumnal spice mix that I’ve been waiting for my entire life. It has a lot more nuance than pumpkin spice, and more cardamom and ginger too. There’s a certain elegance and lightness about it. It also doesn’t slap you in the face/drown your palette with nutmeg. It’s warm and lively in all the right ways.
I make a batch of baked oatmeal sometimes and we just re-heat it throughout the week. I had a ton of fresh apples and knew that they would be perfect with my new spice mix bff and some cozy warm oats. I sauté the apples in the Hawaij and some maple syrup before adding them to the bake because it gives them a little bit of extra dimension. This looks like a long recipe, but it’s mostly very simple assembly steps. There’s a silky and sweet maple cream here too because, as a rule, I like to take almost everything over the top. Mix yourself up some Hawaij, put it in some coffee, and then make this oatmeal. Trifecta of spicy cozy-ness right there ;)
APPLE SPICE BAKED OATMEAL WITH MAPLE CREAM AND HAWAIJ
-Hawaij for Coffee recipe re-printed with permission of the author, via Molly on the Range
-Baked oatmeal technique is very lightly adapted from Yossy Arefi’s Baked Blueberry Oatmeal, which is adapted from Heidi Swanson’s recipe in Super Natural Every Day.
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: Since I made this to have leftovers essentially, I only sautéed the one apple and mixed it into the oatmeal itself. If I was serving this whole pan to people in real time, I’d sauté 2 apples instead of one, reserving half of them for serving with the finished oatmeal. Ditto for the maple cream! Last thing: I don’t use a microwave, so when I re-heat portions of this, I just do it in a saucepan with a big splash of non-dairy milk, stirring it up until it’s hot.
FOR THE HAWAIJ SPICE BLEND (makes extra!):
2 tablespoons ground cardamom
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
FOR THE OATMEAL:
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
2 1/2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon coconut oil, plus extra
1 large apple, peeled and cored
1 teaspoon hawaij spice blend, divided
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup, divided
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 cups rolled oats (certified gluten-free if necessary)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 1/4 cups non-dairy milk (I used a mix of coconut and almond)
1 cup nuts or seeds of choice, toasted and chopped (I used pecans and hazelnuts)
FOR THE MAPLE CREAM:
2 tablespoons raw cashew butter
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon non-dairy milk
tiny pinch of fine sea salt
drop of vanilla extract
squeeze of lemon (optional)
Make the hawaij: In a small jar, stir together the cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. Set aside.
Grease an 8-9 inch ovenproof dish with coconut oil. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Assemble the oatmeal: Combine the ground flax seed and water in a small bowl. Stir to mix thoroughly, and then set aside to gel. Cut the cored apple into 1/4-inch thin slices. Then, cut each of those slices in half widthwise.
Heat the coconut oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the apples to the pan. Let them sit for 2 minutes while they sizzle. Stir them around a bit, and sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon of the hawaij spice mix. Stir to combine. Once the apples seem lightly softened on the outside, stir in 1 teaspoon of the maple syrup and the lemon juice. Remove the apples from the heat and allow them to cool.
In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of hawaij. Stir to combine. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the flax gel, non-dairy milk, and remaining 1/4 cup of maple syrup. Spread out half of the oat mixture in the oiled dish. Arrange half of the sautéed apples and half of the chopped nuts on top of the oats. Repeat these layers with the remaining oat mixture, apples, and nuts.
Slowly pour the milk mixture over the oats. Give the dish a tap to settle the contents. Dot the top of the oatmeal with little pieces of coconut oil if you like. Slide the oatmeal into the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the top of the oatmeal is golden brown and all of the liquid is absorbed.
While the oatmeal bakes, make the maple cream. In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the cashew butter, maple syrup, non-dairy milk, salt, vanilla, and lemon, if using. If the mixture seems too thick to drizzle, add more non-dairy milk by the teaspoon. Once totally smooth and pourable, you’re good.
Serve the apple spice baked oatmeal hot with maple cream and extra maple syrup if you like.