Caramel – LA

Posted on January 31, 2012


2012 is the best year ever.  Okay, I know we just started, but big things are upon us.

I just got engaged (YEAH!) and started a new freelance gig.  We have been traveling nonstop starting with the holidays (10 days, 4 states, 2 families and many happy friends), followed by a trip to NorCal’s Anderson Valley and San Diego.  Tahoe and PA are on the horizon.

Long gone are the leisurely dinners with friends in SF, whom I miss dearly.   Instead, we eat what we can, when we can.  Lots of lentil soups, hodge podge tacos, omelets and salads.  Fresh and easy is our motto in 2012.

But, that doesn’t mean we skimp when it comes to breakfast.  I need something filling and satisfying to get me through these crazy, busy days.  That means steel cut oats.  With apples.  Caramel.  Flaxseeds.  Oh my.

The easiest way to make steel cut oats is overnight.  Start the oats before you go to bed, leave it on the stove top to rest and reheat in the morning.  Easy, peasy.

Caramel Bottom Steel Cut Oats, with Apples and Flaxseeds

Adapted from The Bitten Word and 101 CookbooksServes 4-5 people depending on their hunger level.  Special equipment: ramekins (not necessary, but cute) and an instant read thermometer.

  • 1 small granny smith apple, chopped into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup of steel cut oats
  • 3 cups of water
  • dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon or pure ceylon
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds
  • Optional: 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts


  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • dash of salt
  • 1 cup of brown sugar, not packed
  • vanilla, to taste
  • Hungarian sweet paprika, to taste

1. Bring the apples, oats, water, salt and cinnamon to a boil in a large saucepan.  Stir once or twice.  Boil for a minute.  Cover with a lid and turn off the heat.   Leave on the stove overnight.

2.  Fill a large bowl or sink with ice water.

3. In a separate small saucepan, warm the cream and salt until just about simmering.  Add the sugar, vanilla and paprika.  Bring to a boil, and continually stir for about 15-20 minutes until your thermometer reads 255 degrees.  (Note – my caramel didn’t get above 210 degrees.  I gave up after 20 minutes, and it still turned out great.)

4. Remove the sauce pan from heat and place in the ice water, making sure not to get any water into the caramel.  Stir constantly until it begins to thicken.

5. Once it cools, pour about 1-2 tablespoons of caramel into the bottom of some ramekins.  Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge.

6. 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.  This could take 2 minutes or 10 minutes, depending on how chewy you like your oats.

7. Mix in the flaxseeds and other toppings (like walnuts) as desired.

8. Spoon the oatmeal into your ramekins.  Top with additional caramel, if desired.

Posted in: apple, breakfast, cooking