4½cups (36 oz)unsweetened almond milkplus more for serving
chopped or julienned apple
almond slices/chopped almonds
turbinado sugar or pure maple syrup
ground cinnamonfor sprinkling
Spray a 2-quart or 4-quart slow cooker insert lightly with cooking spray. If you are using a larger volume slow cooker, be sure to double the recipe quantity as this quantity will not cook properly in a 6-quart slow cooker. Slow cookers that run HOT might cause the cooking liquid to evaporate more quickly. This may result in slightly thicker skin or crust developing on the surface of the oats (see notes below) or sides of the insert. When in doubt, reduce the cook time and adjust as necessary.
Combine the steel cut oats, diced apple, cranberries, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, and almond milk. Stir to mix thoroughly. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours (for firmer oats) to 8 hours (softer oats with the slightest chew), stirring once or twice if possible (if cooking overnight, you can skip this step). As the oats are cooking a thin, dark colored skin may form on top of the oats and they will look slightly dry at first glance. Don’t worry. Go ahead and stir the oats well until they are creamy and smooth, the skin will be absorbed and incorporated by stirring. If you prefer looser oats, stir in an additional ½ cup (120 mL) or more of almond milk. Serve hot and garnish with toppings as desired.
Leftover oats can be stored in a container in the refrigerator. I always add a generous splash or milk or water before reheating – it loosens the oatmeal and improves the texture tremendously!