I received free samples of SPLENDA® Naturals Sugar & Stevia Blend mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by SPLENDA® Sweeteners and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
You guys….fig season is here and I just can’t stop gettin’ figgy with it. I know this pun is so overused but I’ve been saying it every chance I get and laughing somewhat maniacally at myself. Rest assured, no one thinks it’s as funny as I do but hey, you can’t go through life that way.
I wasn’t always a fan of figs. In fact, they kind of freaked me out because I didn’t know how to eat them. I had only seen them dried or in the form of a Fig Newton. Only slightly embarrassed to say a Google search a couple years ago clued me in to the fact that yes, you can indeed eat the skin.
You live, you learn, you eat a lot more figs when they’re in season.
When I got word that The Recipe ReDux was teaming up with SPLENDA® to run a contest using their new SPLENDA® Naturals Sugar & Stevia Blend, I knew what I wanted to make. I’d been all about the combo of lemon + fig ever since I tried it as one of the original siggi’s flavors. Sadly, they discontinued it but my affinity for the flavor combo lives on with these Lemon and Fig Baked Oatmeal Cups.
Baked oatmeal has been a game changer for my snacks. Think of a muffin who beefed itself up into a dense, filling, satisfying option that can also stand in as a complete meal for breakfast. I started baking more oatmeal in an effort to prepare ahead of breakfast during busy weeks and the habit stuck around. It’s especially great to try this time of year when the weather is still warm – these lil’ guys can be enjoyed hot or cold (though I am partial to the former). As a snack, they’re a flavorful option that I actually look forward to eating. They’re also a good thing to reach for after a morning workout or before I head out for an afternoon or early evening run.
The deeper I get into marathon training, the more I find myself turning to snacks throughout the day. I’ve been mindful about not making drastic changes to my meals but as my mileage climbs, so does my appetite. Snacks are a valuable tool to provide nutrition and fuel for intense workouts, especially when they also deliver great flavor in a form that’s easy on my stomach before or after long runs.
I opted to use the SPLENDA® Naturals Sugar & Stevia Blend in this recipe for a few reasons. First and foremost was flavor. I’m a big believer that foods should taste good and be enjoyed – the blend of stevia and sugar means there’s no bitter aftertaste that you sometimes get with other artificial or alternative sweeteners. The sweetness comes from Reb D, an extract from the stevia leaf that has a naturally sweet flavor.
Second, the idea that less is more. You all know by now that I do not count calories – I believe in quality over quantity and the number of calories in a food has no impact on whether I decide to eat it. But I do care about added sugar in my foods and if there’s an opportunity to reduce the amount I need in a recipe, I’m going to do just that. This blend from SPLENDA® lets me get the same amount of sweetness in half the amount. Just 1/2 teaspoon of the SPLENDA® Naturals Sugar & Stevia Blend is equivalent to a full teaspoon of sugar.
And finally, convenience. I didn’t want to shop for a special ingredient that I would only be able to use in a couple of recipes. The nice thing about this blend is that is can be used anywhere you would use traditional sugar. So the leftover amount I have can be used in coffee, other baked items, sauces, and more.
This recipe made an even dozen, so the leftovers got me through another solid week of training for my first marathon. I’m looking forward to experimenting again with other flavors for baked oatmeal cups!
How do you like to enjoy figs when they’re in season? Leave a comment below or share what you would add to this mix instead! And be sure to check out the rest of the recipes in the Celebrate with SPLENDA roundup, hosted by The Recipe ReDux. Link can be found below the recipe.
UPDATE: This recipe was selected as the First Runner Up in the “Celebrate with Splenda Sweeteners” Contest!
Lemon and Fig Baked Oatmeal Cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 12 servings
3 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups diced figs
3/4 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin or spray with non stick oil.
Add the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl (oats, Splenda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, lemon zest). Fold together until well combined. Mix the wet ingredients separately (eggs, milk, vanilla extract). Add to the large mixing bowl, along with the diced figs and chopped pecans. Fold together, then spoon into the muffin tin. The mixture will be very wet with excess liquid. Evenly distribute the excess liquid between the 12 muffins.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes, or until the muffins set and tops begin to brown slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. Top with Greek yogurt (optional) or serve with additional figs, pecans, cinnamon, or lemon zest if desired.
To serve immediately: Remove the muffin from the liner and break apart into a small bowl. Add toppings and serve warm.
To serve later: Allow muffins to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. To reheat, microwave in 10 second increments until desired temperature is reached.
For sweeter flavor, choose Black Mission figs. For milder flavor, choose Brown Turkey figs, or combine the two.