We are creatures of habit in this apartment. As soon as we wake up, I walk over to the stove and make scrambled eggs for the gentleman: two eggs, a swirl of cream, seven grinds of pepper, a scattering of allumettes of crispy bacon. Quickly broken up with a spatula and stirred over the lowest possible heat until they’re just cooked but still a bit wet, served with a mug of iced tea. We both catch up on the news and emails that have accumulated in the night, we get ready for the day, and when the gent leaves for the office, I make myself some oatmeal.
For a long time, my oatmeal was a variation of the gentleman’s preferred breakfast. I scattered a little cooked bacon into my oatmeal with seven grinds of pepper and a good amount of salt and cooked an egg over-easy and let the yolk run all over and into the oatmeal. But lately I’ve been wanting something sweet with my coffee, and to keep myself from eating cookies for breakfast, I’ve turned to this: oatmeal with homemade apple butter.
I originally made this apple butter for that party last weekend, to pair with salty cheeses and buttery foie gras, but it works equally well here. It’s like a grown-up version of that instant apple-cinnamon oatmeal that I’m sure lots of us relied upon in college for non-ramen sustenance. For me, the nuts and cream are crucial for texture and mouthfeel, but feel free to leave them out if you’re into pure unadulterated apple-cinnamon oatiness.
Apple Butter Oatmeal
Makes about 1 1/2 cups apple butter.
8 medium-sized apples (I used half Galas, half Granny Smiths)
1 1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
juice of 1/2 lemon
toasted walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, or pecans, roughly chopped
Peel, core, and dice all of the apples and place them in a large saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat until the mixture simmers and cook with the lid on for about 30 minutes, until apples are cooked through and soft. Break up the apples using a wooden spoon, a potato masher, or an immersion blender, depending on how smooth you’d like your apple butter. Cook at a simmer with the lid off for 1-2 hours, stirring often, until thick and caramelized.
To serve, top a bowl of oatmeal with two spoonfuls or so of apple butter, a spoonful of chopped walnuts, and a swirl of cream.