Dulce de Leche Oatmeal with Bananas Foster

Everyone has their own way of welcoming in the new year. Growing up, we always stayed in, the evening spent playing games. My father would do a few numbers on the piano and sometimes we'd go over to sing along with him. Bananas Foster was (and still is) a New Year's tradition. As we approached the stroke of midnight, he'd slice up bananas and place them in a pan with sizzling butter and brown sugar. I'd turn off the lights just as he struck the match and we'd stand there for a few moments in silence, marveling at the beauty of the flame sputtering across the pan. Bowls were distributed by the TV just as the countdown began and by the time the ball had dropped, we were licking our spoons clean.

I see this oatmeal as the perfect New Year's Day breakfast. It's sweet and decadent, and just the way we should start things off.

Wishing everyone a happy new year. See you again in 2016!


Dulce de Leche Oatmeal with Bananas Foster

Yield Serves 4

For the dulce de leche (if making it at home)
1 can sweetened condensed milk

For the oatmeal
1 cup steel cut oats
2 cups milk
2 cups water
3 tablespoons dulce de leche

For the Bananas Foster
2 bananas, peeled and sliced into rounds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 cup dark rum

Chopped walnuts, for serving (optional)

To make the dulce de leche
1. Remove the label from the can of sweetened condensed milk. Place the can on its side in a large pot and fill it with water until it reaches at least 1 inch over the can. Bring water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, leaving the pot uncovered. Cook for approximately 2 hours (another half hour would be fine too, depending on how dark you want the dulce de leche to be). Be sure there's always an inch or so of water above the can. If necessary, add a little more to the pot.

2. Using tongs, carefully remove the can from the pot and transfer to a wire cooling rack (or you can place it in the sink).  Let cool for at least half an hour before opening. Be careful when opening with the can opener, as the dulce de leche may start to spew out of the can as there's a lot of pressure that's built up inside.

To make the dulce de leche oatmeal 1. In a medium-sized pot, whisk together the water, milk and dulce de leche and bring to a boil. Stir in the oats and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, being sure to stir occasionally, until the oats are very tender and the liquid has absorbed.

To make the Bananas Foster 1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Whisk in brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove until it's well combined with the butter.

2. Gently fold in the bananas and cook for another minute.

3. Now, the next part can be a little tricky (but have no fear, you can do it!) Move the pan off the heat and add the rum. Using a long match or long lighter, ignite the rum. Once the flame goes out, the alcohol has cooked off.

To assemble the oatmeal Distribute dulce de leche oatmeal to bowls. Spoon banana's foster over it and, if desired, sprinkle some chopped walnuts on top.