Quick-cooking steel-cut oats cooked with tea, fall spices and orange zest, topped with maple candied walnuts.
At the risk of stating the obvious, I love oatmeal. I love oatmeal to an almost ridiculous degree. Why? It’s a versatile healthy food that can taste like a decadent dessert. What’s not to love?
While rolled oats are my go-to variety for baked oatmeal and overnight oats, when it comes to stovetop oatmeal (aka porridge), nothing can compare to steel-cut oats. There’s a reason why nearly every stovetop oatmeal recipe I’ve posted in the past two-and-a-half years has involved steel-cut oats. Steel cut oats are creamier than rolled oats, reheat beautifully, don’t turn paste-like (which rolled oats can of if you overcook them), and create an all-round more delicious bowl of oatmeal.
The obvious downside to traditional steel-cut oats is the long cooking time. Typically, steel-cut oats will take 20 – 30 minutes to cook, which can be a pain in the mornings. (That’s why I always make at least two servings at a time, so I can save time on other mornings by simply reheating leftover oatmeal in the microwave).
But don’t despair, time poor steel-cut oatmeal fans, because there is another option: quick-cooking steel-cut oats!
Coach’s Oats were recently generous enough to provide me with some of their ‘cracked n’ toasted’ oats. Coach’s Oats are made by toasting groats (whole grain oats), and then cracked into small pieces. They’re technically not steel-cut oats, since the oats are ‘cracked’ as opposed to ‘cut’. But, technicalities aside, they’re essentially a form of quick-cooking steel-cut oats.
So, now we all know what they are, how do they taste? After making myself many bowls of oatmeal, I decided to break my review into three categories: flavor, texture and serving size.
Mmm… toasty! You can tell that the oats have been toasted, because they have an richer, nuttier flavor than regular steel-cut oats. The toasted flavor is particularly apparent when you top your oatmeal with something simple and nutty, like peanut butter or shredded coconut.
At the same time, the toasted flavor isn’t so obvious as to limit your options. You can still use these oats in sweet, chocolatey bowls of oatmeal. Or apple and cinnamon oatmeal, or pumpkin pie oatmeal, or banana berry oatmeal…
In summary: these oats have an extra boost of flavor, and don’t limit your oatmeal creativity.
The texture’s very easy to alter, depending on your preferences. When the oats are cooked on the stove for 4 – 5 minutes, they’re nutty and chewy. When cooked for 5 – 8 minutes, the oats are much creamier.
My personal preference is to cook the oats for around 6 – 8 minutes. That way, the oats are nice and creamy, but they still have a hint of chewiness. As with regular steel-cut oats, you don’t have to be too worried about ‘overcooking’ these oats. They oats stay in tact and don’t turn paste-like.
So, how does the texture compare to regular steel-cut oats? When cooked for 5 – 7 minutes, they’re virtually as creamy as steel-cut oats. If I’m being picky, then regular steel-cut oats are slightly creamier. But honestly, there’s very little in it.
In summary: the texture ranges from chewy to creamy, depending on the cooking time, but they’re never pasty.
If you cook ¼ cup of Coach’s Oats with ¾ cup milk or water, and don’t add any mix-ins, then you’ll end up with a rather small bowl of oatmeal. A bit less than what you’d get from ¼ cup steel-cut oats and 1 cup liquid.
This is probably why the ‘standard’ serving size of Coach’s Oats is 1/3 cup oats and 1 cup liquid – although the package also provides Mrs. Coach’s ‘lighter appetites’ option using ¼ cup oats and ¾ cup liquid.
I stuck to using ¼ cup of oats, mostly because that’s what I’m used to doing. I imagine that the smaller bowl of oats issue (not that it’s a big deal) is common to all, or at least most, varieties of quick-cooking steel-cut oats.
If you’d like to create a larger bowl of oatmeal, then think about mix-ins. Ingredients like mashed banana, mashed winter squash, pumpkin puree, grated zucchini, grated carrots and chopped fruit can turn a small bowl of oats into a more satisfying breakfast.
In summary: it’s a small bowl of oats – all the more reason to add lots of mix-ins and toppings!
You can count me as a big fan of these oats! They’re virtually as creamy as my beloved steel-cut oats, but cook a whole lot faster. And to save even more time, you can make a big batch of oatmeal at once, because – just like regular steel-cut oats – these oats reheat very well in the microwave.
(If you’re interested, you can find the nutritional information for the oats on Coach’s Oats website, where you can also order their oats online).
And all of that brings me to this recipe. After all, I couldn’t spend all that time talking about oatmeal without sharing a recipe. And, as you would’ve guessed, I used Coach’s Oats to make this warming bowl of oatmeal.
This breakfast is actually inspired by a cinnamon-orange tea I tried at a hotel ages ago, and haven’t been able to forget. So, naturally, I had to turn that memorable tea into oatmeal. The oats are cooked in a mixture of brewed black tea and almond milk, and flavored with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, orange zest and a chopped orange.
Homemade candied walnuts add some crunchiness and a sweet, nutty flavor. Finally, a drizzle of maple syrup ties everything together. The maple syrup may seem like an optional extra, but trust me, the oatmeal just isn’t the same without it.
Oh, and a word to the wise: candied walnuts are extremely addictive!
Side Note: As mentioned in the post, I have received products from Coach’s Oats. As always, all opinions are my own.
- Candied Walnuts
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (60g) walnut halves
- 1 cup brewed black tea
- ½ cup almond milk
- ½ cup quick-cooking steel-cut oats
- Pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 orange, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Orange segments
- Maple syrup
- Candied Walnuts: Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C). Line a baking sheet with non-stick paper. In a small bowl, mix together the maple syrup, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Add the walnuts, and stir gently until well combined.
- Bake for 9 – 12 minutes, or until the walnuts are golden brown. Once completely cooled, store the candied walnuts in an airtight container.
- Oatmeal: In a saucepan, bring the black tea and almond milk to a boil, and then turn down the heat to medium. Add the quick-cooking steel-cut oats and salt, and stir well.
- Stir in the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, orange zest and chopped orange.
- Cook the oatmeal for 5 – 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the oats have absorbed the liquid and become creamy. Add the vanilla extract.
- Divide the oatmeal between two bowls. Top each bowl with a few orange segments, candied walnuts, and plenty of maple syrup.
For chewier oatmeal, cook the oats for 5 minutes, and for a creamier bowl of oats, cook the oats for 7 – 8 minutes. Adjust the stove heat as needed to affect the cooking time (i.e. use a higher heat for a shorter cooking time).
The juiciness of the orange will affect the liquid content, so you may need to turn up the stove heat if you: a) have a very juicy orange; and b) you’re after chewier oats that cook in 5 minutes.
Make sure you remove the pith (the white part) of the orange. It turns bitter when heated.
For rolled oats, use 1 cup of rolled oats, 1 cup of black tea and 1 cup of almond milk.
For regular steel-cut oats, use ½ cup of steel-cut oats, 1 cup of black tea and 1 cup of almond milk. (The cooking time will be around 20 - 30 minutes)
I used Coach's Oats in this recipe.