Plain Jane of grains goes glam; Oatmeal: It's more than just a breakfast cereal, as these winning recipes in Quaker Oats contest demonstrate.


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 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

Serves 16

cooking spray

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).

For bread, combine flour, oats, granulated sugar, yeast, cinnamon and salt in food processor bowl (see note); pulse machine on and off several times until well mixed. In small saucepan, heat water and oil until very warm (120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit). With motor running, add liquids to flour mixture with egg white. Process until dough begins to form a ball; continue processing 1 minute.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead apples into dough. Pat into a 14-inch-by-11-inch rectangle on a cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place 40 minutes or until almost doubled in size.

Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. For topping, combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and sour cream in small bowl; mix well. Spread mixture evenly over top of dough; sprinkle with pecans. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool in pan 3 minutes. Remove to wire rack and cool 10 minutes. Cut into squares. Serve warm.

Note: To prevent plastic wrap from sticking to rising dough, spray wrap with cooking spray. To prepare flatbread without a food processor, combine 2 cups flour, oats, granulated sugar, yeast, cinnamon and salt in large bowl. Heat water and oil as above. Add to flour mixture. Stir, gradually adding enough additional flour to make a soft dough that pulls away from sides of bowl. Proceed as directed above.

Per serving: 170 calories; 30 calories from fat (3.5 grams total fat, 0.5 grams saturated fat); less than 5 milligrams cholesterol; 90 milligrams total sodium; 31 grams total carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 4 grams protein

Almond Streusel Baked Pears

Serves 8

8-ounce container plain nonfat yogurt

2 tablespoons honey

1 cup Quaker Oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice or pumpkin pie spice

6 tablespoons 70 percent vegetable oil spread, softened (stick form)

2 tablespoons slivered almonds

4 large, firm-ripe pears

cooking spray

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13-inch-by-9-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In small bowl, combine yogurt and honey; mix well. Cover sauce; chill.

In medium bowl, combine oats, sugar, flour and allspice; mix well. Cut in spread with two knives until mixture is crumbly. Stir in almonds. Set aside.

Cut pears in half lengthwise. Using a small spoon, remove center portion of each pear half, leaving a 1/2 -inch shell. Place scooped pears cut side down in pan; spray with cooking spray. Bake 20 minutes or until pears begin to feel tender when pierced with a small, sharp knife. Remove pan from oven to wire rack. Turn pears cut side up in pan. Spoon reserved oat mixture over pears; pat down gently. Return pan to oven. Continue baking 20 to 25 minutes or until topping is light golden brown and pears are tender. Cool pears 5 minutes in pan on wire rack.

Spoon sauce over warm pears to serve. Cover and refrigerate leftovers.

Per serving: 270 calories; 90 calories from fat (10 grams total fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat); 0 milligrams cholesterol; 105 milligrams sodium; 44 grams total carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber, 4 grams protein

Pub Date: 02/10/99

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