Baked Oatmeal Cups (Bird’s Nests)

Baked_Oatmeal_Cups

My four boys are just about getting too old to appreciate anything cutesy I try to make with food.

When they get up in the morning, they bound into the kitchen, excited to see a big pile of bacon on a tray with a dozen scrambled eggs and mountain of pancakes.  Does it really matter to them if I tried to arrange the food in such a way as to make the platter look pretty?  Do they even care that I woke up extra early, and lovingly mustered all of my artistic ability to form the pancakes into the shape of the country of India?  After all, we’ve all been enjoying our studies about William Carey and his missionary efforts there.  Who wouldn’t have fun smearing butter all over Calcutta?  I figured they’d be thrilled!

But no.  They don’t care at all.  They just want me to hurry up and pass them the maple syrup and while I’m at it, another slice of bacon.

I’m telling you, I am sooooo unappreciated around here.  From now on, I think I’ll just flip some boring ol’ round pancakes straight off the griddle and onto their plates ten feet away.  I’ll skip the serving platter.  I won’t mess with a lovely presentation of fruit arranged on a plate in the shape of a clown face.  They can just stuff their faces with “normal” food for all I care.

Hmmph.

Now that I’ve thrown a fit that is so becoming of a grown-up, I suppose I should now confess that my intentions and my artistic abilities are not even close to being able to pull off much of the above.  I’ve never really attempted to make pancakes into the shape of India - or any other country for that matter.  Incidentally, I did turn out the state of Texas once, but that was totally an accident and as usually happens when I have not gone out of my way one little bit, my boys were actually quite impressed.

“Whoa Mom!  You made a Texas pancake!  Can you make me a Maryland and an Idaho next?”

I obviously got right on that, but ended up instead with a lopsided gourd and another pancake that resembled the fuzz under my couch.  I gave up at that point and figured they could chew the pancakes into the shapes of their requested states, because really, have you ever tried to pour Florida onto a griddle with a spoon?

This leads me to the special breakfast I made recently in an effort to be cute.  It is spring after all.  Doesn’t the idea of eating a bird’s nest for breakfast sound simply delightful?

Okay fine.  We can just call these Baked Oatmeal Cups.  Either way, these are easy to throw together and are versatile enough to add variety and meet your family’s taste preferences.

Baked Oatmeal Cups (or Bird’s Nests if you’re feeling cute)

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sucanat or honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter
Topping choices:  mini chocolate chips, raisins, other dried fruit, coconut flakes, apple chunks

Mix together oats, sucanat, salt and baking powder.  Stir in eggs, milk, and melted butter.  Scoop batter into 12 paper lined muffin cups.  Sprinkle toppings of choice into the center of each cup.  Bake in a 350° for about 30 minutes, or until the oats are golden brown.   These are easier to eat with a fork, unless you like cleaning partial bird’s nests up off of your table and floor.

If you prefer, simply spread the mixture into a 9×9 inch baking pan.  Bake in a 350° oven for 25-30 minutes.

Do you try to be cute when you cook and bake at your house?  And how do those efforts go over for you?  Ever tried to make India out of pancake batter?

Comments

  1. Jami Lynn says

    These look so yummy! I like that I can “customize” them to flavors each kids like too. What is the texture like?

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    Laura Reply:

    I’d say the texture is soft like cake, although not smooth because you have to chew up the oats. :)

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  2. Amanda S says

    Re pancakes–I do make lots of animal shapes and my 4 yr old is quite impressed. Thankfully, He has a great imagination and optimistically sees the desired animal shape.

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  3. Yvonna says

    Sorry haven’t tried to make pancake states, but Micky Mouse and other animals have been requested. These ‘Bird Nests’ sound yummylious as my boys would say. Do you use quick oats?

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    Laura Reply:

    No, I use old fashioned rolled oats.

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  4. Thea says

    I’ve tried making hearts – usually pass for hearts once I tell the kids what to actually look for :D
    The “bird nests” look very yummy! Now that the kids are saying they don’t ‘like’ oatmeal anymore I have several containers of it that needs to be used up!

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    Laura Reply:

    My kids are sick of oatmeal too, so these have made a nice substitute!

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  5. abbie fultz says

    I have found that men ( my daughter isnt really old enough yet) when i dont do the special little things he then will say something to tjhe affect of oh u didnt cut it how you normally do. or its not special. and i usually reply with well i didnt no you liked it because you never said anything. and then he replies with well i ate it didnt i. haha. they really do like the little cutesy special things we do even if they dont say. my husband enjoys the notes i send with him often in his lunch. he has said b4 owe it would have been nice to see a note today. but i agree feeling acknowledged when you do special things makes you want to continue.

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  6. says

    I am feeling a little bit under appreciated and though I know I should do everything for HIS glory…it would be nice to have a kind word now and again. By the way…those “bird’s nests” look smashing!

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  7. Tina says

    The birds nests look fun. I am actually excited to try some shaped pancakes since I just read a tip about using an old ketchup bottle to squirt the batter out a bit more precisely without the mess. My girls like their initials. :)

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    Marie Reply:

    What a great idea! Thanks for this tip. My kids are really goofy and still love fun shaped things like mickey mouse or snowman pancakes. I have a ketchup bottle under the cupboard right now waiting me to fill it with something.

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  8. says

    I often wonder if my presentation efforts would be noticed if I had a housefull of girls instead. I enjoy trying to make the table look pretty, and I tell myself they really do notice but simply expect that as normal.

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    Marie Reply:

    Yes, girls do notice and care about presentation more. They are always wanting to make placecards for each person when they set the table and like to add candles and flowers too (mine are ages 13, 9 and 6). My boys (12 and 6) like fun shapes and creativity with the food itself if it is gross or a critter that they can pretend they are eating. They loved the alligator cake for the safari birthday party and the Cair Paravel birthday cake for the Narnia birthday party. They also loved the gross names for the food at the safari party.

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  9. says

    I’m not very good at doing the cute stuff either. I look at how creative some people are. It’s amazing. Now that I have little grandkids at my house a couple times a week, I am trying to do cute things again. We made play dough and milled grains to make a homemade chocolate cake. It wasn’t that pretty but it tasted great. My 7 year old grand daughter was thrilled at milling grains. That was fun. Thanks for introducing that to me. Have a wonderul day! Diane

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  10. Hayley says

    Do these freeze well? It’s just the two of us and I’m not sure he’d even eat any so it’d just be me.

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    Lisa M Reply:

    This freeze well. I put some in the fridge the night before and heat them in the toaster oven

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    Lisa M Reply:

    I have seen these all over pinterest. I have always made a double batch of baked oatmeal. then I take that extra and cut it in to single serve pieces and freeze. I do like that the boys can customize theirs when we do them in the muffin pan.
    My boys are 50/50 on the cute stuff. They are young enough that they still like it but right now they must be in a growth spurt as they just want to eat everything right now ;)

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  11. Janet says

    We do not get cute with our food either. My youngest is 17 years old all he cares about is getting full. His favorite meal is breakfast which for him is a waffle sandwich with peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter w/Nutella, a bowl of cereal and a glass of milk usually chocolate.
    Thanks for sharing this recipe. They look delish! Can you substitute Kosher Salt for the Sea Salt?
    Have a wonderful day.

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    Laura Reply:

    I think kosher salt should substitute just fine in this recipe.

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  12. says

    These were amazing! I make a baked oatmeal that my boyslike, but I like the flavor of these much better! Can you tell me why you use paper liners? Is it for clean up purposes? I have a Pampered Chef 12 cup muffin stone that I love, so I don’t use paper liners. I thought maybe if you used a metal pan it would be necessary. Thanks for the info and this recipe! Blessings!

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    Laura Reply:

    Yes, I’m lazy, which is why I prefer the paper liners. Plus, I just have aluminum muffin pans so I don’t want the aluminum to leach into our food.

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  13. Alyssa says

    I will have to try these…for 2/3 of our family, anyway (my oldest and I can’t stand oatmeal :) )…I usually make heart shaped pancakes or waffles in February and snowflake shaped pancakes off and on through the winter…the kids love them, but since I only have a few of the pancake molds and the heart-shaped waffle iron burns the food after a few rounds, it doesn’t happen nearly as often as they’d like (my kids are 8-4)!

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  14. Paula says

    I used to makes pancake shapes for my son when he was little, but no matter what I tried to make, they always seemed to look like Mr. Potato Head :) My son was still impressed though!

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  15. Kathy says

    Laura, I am always looking for a quick, easy, healthy meals to serve at a church camp…is this something that can be baked ahead of time and then just heated up in the microwave the day we want to eat them?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, definitely, these can be baked ahead of time!

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  16. Kimberly S. says

    I’m like you, I don’t bother with making cutesy food. I see fancy fun food in magazines and I always say who has the time to do all that work. Although for Christmas I did do Reindeer Cupcakes with my 4 yr old son, but they were pretty quick and easy. As for pancakes, I make Swedish pancakes which is a very thin batter so it’s too difficult to try and make shapes so I don’t even bother. This recipe looks tasty though, so I will have to try it out.

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  17. Linda Hayes says

    Just exactly what I’ve been looking for — for ME. My creative cooking days are over, but fondly remember Daddy creating pictures on our plates with food. We were thrilled and raved about it. Mom, I think, was a bit ticked because we took HER food for granted and just ate it. About once every 6 weeks, she’d take off for a day of shopping and Dad would watch us. Know she would have like him to demonstrate his culinary skills every Saturday. Your story generated lots of memories for me.

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  18. Hannah says

    I wonder if you could bake these nests with eggs in the middle? Although I think the flavors may not go together. Have you ever made baked-eggs-in-pie-crust-nests? Or something of the like using your multipurpose dough? I would love a recipe for that!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Hmmm, I love the idea, but I’m not sure an egg baked in these would be good. One friend gave me the ide of using hashbrowns then eggs baked in a muffin cup. Sounds awesome!

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    Hannah Reply:

    Oh wow, that does sound good! Do you fry the hash browns first, or do they crisp up when you bake them? What’s the oven temperature?

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    Laura Reply:

    I’m not sure – I haven’t tried it yet. But if I do and we like it, I’ll sure post about it! :)

  19. Shannon says

    Yay, so glad for this recipe Laura. I plan to make it for our new teen youth group Sunday morning. We just started the youth group a few months ago and at first I was comfortable feeding them junk food that I normally wouldn’t serve my family but after we are feeding them more often, I’ve got to search your site for some healthier versions of breakfast, snack and dinner ideas, even drinks because they all love soda.

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  20. Greta says

    We made these today… SO GOOD! My favorite thing about this recipe is that my 2 year old was able to help me from start to finish! I love finding recipes where she can truly be a help – dumping, stirring, cracking eggs, and sprinkling on the toppings. Thank you so much!

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  21. says

    Thank you for this idea! Am going to try these as we can’t bring any snacks with nuts in them for a certain church location due to it being an nut free zone and most of our favorite granola bars and trail mixes I make include nuts or nut butter of some kind. This will be a great snack alternative for my kiddos.

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  22. Kristin says

    Actually cutesy pancakes are rather easy if you have the right tool. First off, you need a large clear plastic squeeze bottle, (the kind used for garnishing desserts/plates with sauce). I got mine at a local kitchen store for around a dollar. Fill the bottle with pancake batter and start designing. I find it’s easiest to outline your shape then fill it in. Once your shape is flipped you can decorate it with fruit or chocolate chips to add features. I started making pancake men one x-mas eve as Ma does for Laura and Mary in the little house series (now an annual tradition). In January, I made snowmen for my daughters birthday (snowmen theme) using chocolate chips for eyes and buttons and mandarin orange slivers for the nose. I even made bunny heads last week using chocolate chips for eyes and a nose, a strawberry slice for the mouth and stuck unsweetened coconut flakes in the nose for whiskers. An easier option, is to use cookie cutters to cut whole wheat bread into fun shapes for making french toast. I made heart shaped french toast for Valentine’s day and topped it with some strawberry slices and a small dollop of whipped cream. Just because I refuse to buy cutesy processed food, I see no reason why my girls shouldn’t have a fun treat once in a while :)

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  23. says

    How do you think substituting coconut oil for the butter would go over in this recipe? I’m trying to avoid dairy to see if it helps w/ my kids’ excema. THoughts?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I think it would work just fine. :)

    [Reply]

    Krystal Reply:

    I Subbed the butter with shortening.. I know it’s not the healthy
    choice but in my house with many allergies its the safe choice.

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  24. Jo says

    My HUSBAND appreciates cutesy things–like a giant bat-shaped cookie on halloween with, “I’m batty for you.” written on the front as a surprise in his lunch box. My kids go bonkers for things like green clover molded jello on St. Patricks day and ga-ga for birthdays but could care less about a pretty tray on a regular day.

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  25. Charlotte Moore says

    Laura, I have to disagree with you on something. You are NOT lazy. If you were you would not cook like you do. (-:

    These look delish!!

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  26. says

    Do these stick to the wrapper or come out in one piece easily?

    [Reply]

    Dana Reply:

    Have you tried them? My first try, they stuck and we needed a spoon or fork to eat them. Today I ended up chilling a pan of them before baking and the one I just tested came out quite easily.

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  27. says

    I found this recipe years ago in Southern Living. I’ve been making it (and eating it!) for…hmmm…5 years. I LOVE IT! I’ve officially burned out most of my family members on it! ha! I love a good “food rut” so I’m sticking with it! :) The recipe that I use calls for frozen blueberries, which pair so well with this! My recipe calls for cinnamon too, which is so yum! I’ve never thought to make these in muffin-portions OR to use chocolate chips. LOVE this ideaa!!

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  28. says

    My boys (6 & 17 yrs. old) don’t say much, but if I haven’t made something special in awhile or decorate for a holiday soon enough, they make comments. So I know they really do enjoy the little things I do to make our meal times “homey”, even if they grunt out a “thanks” only once in awhile! Now my 12 yr. old girl is much more verbal, especially when something tastes particularly yummy to her, plus now she is starting to cook a little herself…and by the way your recipes are so easy to prepare, that they’re perfect for beginners! Thanks for your healthy options, we have made many of your recipes and they are becoming staples in our home!

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  29. Brandette says

    I made a batch of these today and they are SO TASTY! I have tried other baked oatmeal recipes but they always seemed so dry to me, this one is moist and yummy. Thank you!!

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  30. Jeniffer says

    I just had to tell you that I tried this recipe a few weeks ago and my children (13, 10 and 1) now request them at least two times a week. I have to make extra batches to keep on hand to snack on or for an “on the go snack”. They really enjoy them with the apples on top. I put just a smidge of brown sugar over the apples and yum, yum! Thanks so much. I’m sure I’ll be making this one for years to come.

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  31. Tiffany says

    You crack me up! Just about every one of your posts makes me smile or giggle. thanks for that!

    [Reply]

  32. Aquila Bowlby says

    Made these this morning with gluten free oats. YUM!!

    I have a question though: the bottoms turned out a tad mushy…not that this was a bad thing, mind you. But I wasn’t sure if I needed to bake them a bit longer?

    I refrigerated the leftovers and quite frankly…they taste wonderful cold. Not sure I’m patient enough to reheat them.

    Thanks for sharing your life with us! :)

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    I am betting baking them a little bit longer would have helped with that!

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  33. Christy says

    I wonder, could you make these without the muffin cups? Like cookies or bars? Would they hold together enough to eat with your hands?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    This would definitely work as bars. They may be a bit crumbly without muffin cups though.

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  34. says

    OOOOO OOOOO! So excited to have something useful to share! I made these today and had to dash out before I could bake the 2nd tray. I popped them into the fridge while I was gone. I just baked that chilled tray and tried one of them. They came out of the muffin paper quite easily! Yay! That might be the trick to less messy birds nests! Chill the muffins before baking. I know it adds time, but makes them easier to take to large gatherings (like rowing regattas where these are going tomorrow).

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  35. Beth says

    If I’m feeling adventurous in my pancake shape making, I’ll use a large funnel. Pour the batter in and use my finger as the “on-off” switch. Sometimes the results still require much use of imagination, but other times it works out quite nicely! I’m making these muffins tomorrow for breakfast. Thanks!

    [Reply]

  36. Luz says

    Does anyone who’s made these muffins know how many this recipe makes?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    This recipe makes 12. :)

    [Reply]

  37. says

    I was wondering if the 1/3 cup melted butter is to take a 1/3 cup off of a stick and then melt it or to melt butter until it measure 1/3 cup? I know this is probably a silly question, but it is one I always question myself on when cooking so I thought maybe you could help me out. :)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I usually cut 5 Tablespoons off of the butter stick, which is 1/3 cup, then I melt it down. That is the easiest for me!

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  38. Dione says

    Has anyone tried substituting fruit butters for the butter? I use homemade pear, apple, or plum butter in place of butter in cakes and bars and thought this might be a way to get the fruit in without making them to moist.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    That’s a really good idea and I think it would work great!

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  39. Kari C says

    LOVED THIS! I keep hearing about baked oatmeal. I finally made it. I put chocolate chips and raisins in the muffin papers. Then with the other half (I doubled the recipe), I put it in a 9×9 pan with some cinnamon and apples and raisins.

    P.S. the reason I doubled the recipe is because I accidentally tripled the milk and double the honey. Siphoned off some milk, doubled everything else and phew, the day was saved.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Ha, that’s awesome!! (P.S. I can eat oats now, I am so happy for me!)

    [Reply]

    Kari C Reply:

    Made it for my family when we were in Wisconsin and it was a hit. Made it for MomsNext Today with dried cherries and chocolate chips; again, a hit. I keep skipping the muffin cups and making it in a 9×9 pan. Doubled in a 9×13 pan.

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  40. Donna says

    Perfect timing, my daughter is learning /N/- nest and my 2nd grade son is studing about birds. I know what we are having for breakfast tomorrow.

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  41. CGR says

    Would you be able to offer any egg substitutes for this recipe? Thanks in advance!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’m not aware of how to substitute eggs, but maybe one of my readers will have an idea. :)

    [Reply]

  42. Sherry Willis says

    How about using steel cut oats? That is what I have. :)

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Give it a try! It should work out ok…

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  43. says

    These are in the oven right now. I will let you know what my kids think. They get so tired of plain oatmeal. I baked some oatmeal several months back, but no one cared too much for it. This might just do the trick. :)

    [Reply]

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