Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Scottish Oatcakes

More on the snacks theme;
I am beyond excited! I've just made real oatcakes and they're delicious! Ahhh, oatcakes, strong cheddar and a good chutney or pepper jelly or oatcakes, smoked salmon, a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh cracked black pepper, ahh, oatcakes and pate. A glass of your favorite red wine and you have a perfect appetizer, snack, lunch, dinner. Need I go on? Probably yes, if you're not British or haven't spent much time there.

Oatcakes are robust crunchy crackers made, quite simply, of oats, wholegrain flour, water, butter and baking soda. Traditionally, actually, they are made with lard but I just can't bring myself to do that. They are not sweet, although as I was researching recipes I did find sweetened versions. For me though, the taste has always been a savoury one. Don't expect a the sweetness of a wheat thin, or you'll be sorely dissapointed.

As long as I've lived in the US, I've had visitors from home bring over some oatcakes; it's the food from home that I miss most. I have intended on baking them for years, but procrastination sometimes gets the better of me.

In explanation, my husband is Scottish and I lived in Scotland for about 7 years. I also spent many a summer in Scotland as a child and my Mum's sister and family have lived there all my life. Have I justified my connection yet?

A word about this recipe; I based it on one from a website called undiscoveredscotland

and the recipe calls for medium oats. If my memory serves me right, these are a little smaller than the typical old fashioned rolled oats in the US stores. So I pulsed mine in the processor about 10-15 times. Here's what they looked like after pulsing:

Scottish Oatcakes

Yields approx 24


2 1/2 cups/ 8oz/ 230g medium oatmeal
1 3/4 cups/ 8oz/ 230g wholewheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons/ 1/4 cup/ 2 oz butter (melted)
1 1/2 cup 50ml boiling water


  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F/ 200°C
  2. Line a cookie sheet/ baking tray with parchment paper
  3. Melt the butter over a low heat, in a small pan
  4. With clean hands, mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl
  5. Add the butter and boiling water and stir together until a dough forms
  6. Firmly form the dough into a 4 balls, before rolling, so it did not crack too much upon rolling.
  7. Roll out each ball to 1/2cm/ 1/4" thick, on a surface with oatmeal scattered on top (as you would with flour when rolling cookie dough)
  8. Cut out the shapes and place on the tray.
  9. Re-form the off cuts and roll out into cookies also. I hand shaped some of mine at the end to get the most of my dough.
  10. Bake for approx 20 minutes or until golden and and crisp
  11. Cool on a wire rack.

In a word, these are exceptionally easy and therapeutic to make. Any rustic recipe like this is a great one for the kids to help; the rolling out and shape cutting is all fun, although if I'm in a time pinch next time I intend to just roll into a circle and cut wedges instead of circles. Less scraps to deal with that way.

Crack open the wine, get out the cheese and Enjoy!

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