The Quaker Oats Co. recently challenged individuals to stretch their imaginations and create tasty, innovative recipes using oatmeal for its ninth annual Bake It Better With Oatmeal Contest.
Although oatmeal may be regarded as a humdrum breakfast cereal by some people, winners of the baking contest demonstrated the potential of the grain in recipes that ranged from imaginative breads and cookies to a low-fat fruit crisp.
The grand-prize winner, Marie Rizzio of Traverse City, Mich., won $10,000 for Almond Streusel Baked Pears, a tempting combination of warm, baked pears topped with a crisp oat-and-nut mixture and a chilled, honey-sweetened yogurt sauce. The streusel won top honors in a new Lower-Fat Favorites category that was added to meet increased interest in healthier eating.
Rizzio told the oatmeal company she chose pears for her recipe because they saved time, instead of having to cut up other types of fruits used in traditional fruit crisps. She also wanted to create a recipe using oats and fruit that would taste good and be easy to make, she said.
Rizzio -- who has four adult children and five grandchildren -- is planning to use the money to realize a lifelong dream of taking a trip to Italy with her husband of almost 50 years, she said.
Another winner in the lower-fat category was Priscilla Yee of Concord, Calif., who won $1,000 for Caramel Apple Flat Bread. Yee, a retired accountant, added chopped apples and cinnamon to a basic oatmeal flatbread dough for a fragrant, sweet treat.
Mary Hawkes of Prescott, Ariz., was another $1,000 winner with her "top cookie" entree. In Cappuccino Caramel Oat Bars, Hawkes, the mother of two teen-agers, looked to the popularity of coffee for inspiration. Her recipe -- a hit with her children, she said -- features a flavored oat crust, caramel ice-cream topping and oat-and-pecan topping with a coffee-flavored glaze.
For a complete list of winners and their recipes, visit www.quakeroatmeal.com on the Internet.
For a brochure of oatmeal cookie recipes, write to: Cookies, Cookies, Cookies, P.O. Box 487, Chicago, Ill. 60690-0487.
Cappuccino Caramel Oat Bars
Makes 48 bars
3 cups Quaker oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder or instant espresso coffee (see note)
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup spoonable caramel ice-cream topping (see note)
2 tablespoons very hot milk
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder or instant espresso coffee (see note)
1 cup powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease 15-inch-by-10-inch jellyroll pan.
In large bowl, combine oats, flour, 1 cup pecans, baking soda and salt; mix well. Set aside. In large bowl, beat sugar and butter with electric mixer until creamy. In small bowl, whisk eggs with coffee powder and vanilla until well blended. Add to butter mixture; continue beating until light and fluffy. Stir in oat mixture; mix well. (Dough will be very thick.) Reserve 2 cups for topping, set aside. Using lightly floured hands, press remaining oat mixture evenly onto bottom of pan. Spread caramel topping (see note) evenly over crust to within 1/4 inch from edges. Drop spoonfuls of reserved dough over caramel topping; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup pecans.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until center feels firm when lightly touched. (Do not overbake.) Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
For glaze, combine milk and coffee powder in small bowl; stir until coffee powder dissolves. Add powdered sugar; stir until smooth. Drizzle over cookies in pan. Let stand 15 minutes to set glaze. Cut into bars or other shapes. Store tightly covered.
Note: Instant coffee granules or freeze-dried coffee are not recommended for this recipe. Fat-free caramel ice cream topping is not recommended for this recipe. If ice cream topping is very thick, microwave on high 10 to 20 seconds or until spreadable.
Per serving: 160 calories; 60 calories from fat (7 grams total fat, 2.5 grams saturated fat); 20 milligrams cholesterol; 100 milligrams sodium; 24 grams total carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 2 grams protein
Caramel Apple Flat Bread
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Quaker Oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 -ounce package (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) quick-rising yeast
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 egg white
1 cup unpeeled chopped apple (about 1 large)
3/4 cup Quaker oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Lightly spray large cookie sheet with cooking spray (see note).