Scotch Oatcakes

Posted by Barbara Monajem | 11:20 AM | , | 11 comments »


No, I'm not of Scottish heritage (or only a fraction), and I don't write historicals about Scotland. My oatcakes are probably a far cry from the real thing. Nevertheless, I adore them, and every child I've made them for (or with--they're a great recipe to do with kids) loves them, too.

The recipe follows, but since I don't follow recipes--can't resist altering them--please bear with me. I'm the same way with directions. This is partly to do with living in the Atlanta area (it's snowing here!!), where the roads are winding and a sense of direction is often more of a hindrance than a help. I always give visitors several alternate routes to wherever I'm directing them, because one wrong turn may send you... Oh, anywhere else but where you thought you were headed. This drives some people crazy and into the sunset anyway, especially when they try to decipher one of my scrawled maps, so be warned: This recipe may not be for you.

2 cups oatmeal

The original recipe, which came by way of the mother of a childhood friend, called for finely-ground oatmeal. I didn't know where to find that, so I just used what I had (or what my mother had--this was long ago). Quick-cooking or whole rolled oats work just fine, or a combination of the two. I like the texture of whole rolled oats, but the oatcakes look smoother if you use the quick-cooking kind.

1 cup flour

If I have it, I use whole wheat pastry flour. If not, I use half regular whole wheat and half white. Plain white flour works fine, too.

3 teaspoons baking powder

Astonishingly, I haven't messed with this.

1/2 teaspoon salt

The original recipe called for 1 teaspoon, but I didn't see the need for extra salt, especially since I like eating oatcakes with cheese.

1/4 cup brown sugar

I think the original recipe called for 1/3 cup, although my memory may be faulty. 1/4 cup is plenty. Imagine, a treat for kids that's fun to make and not sweet!

1/2 cup butter

The original recipe called for shortening or bacon fat. Shortening works fine, but I don't buy it any more. Bacon fat makes the oatcakes VERY bacony. (I was the only one who enjoyed that particular batch.) Butter is WONDERFUL, especially if it's clarified (aka ghee). I always make my oatcakes with butter.

Cold water

Mix the oats, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Rub in the butter with your fingers. Add just enough cold water (usually less than 1/2 cup) to make a stiff dough. Add the water gradually, or suddenly you will find you used way too much, in which case you may have to add another set of dry ingredients and butter and maybe (very carefully) some more water. (Fortunately, this recipe doubles well, and more oatcakes is always better.)

Roll or pat to about 1/4 inch thick. (I always pat. They're not as smooth this way, but it's quicker, and I don't have to find and wash my neglected rolling pin.) Cut in shapes (e.g. triangles, squares, wonky quadrilaterals) or use a cookie cutter. I use a small drinking glass (just under 2.75 inches in diameter) to cut mine.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. There's no need to grease the cookie sheet. Eat as is or with jam or cheese. Yum!


  1. Mary Ricksen // March 1, 2009 at 1:09 PM  

    This sounds wonderful. What kind of cheese do you use? What a great snack that is actually okay to eat, and good for you with all the fiber.
    I can't wait to try this one.

  2. Barbara Monajem // March 1, 2009 at 1:56 PM  

    Any kind of cheese. I love sharp cheddar, but I've never found a cheese that didn't work well with oatcakes.

  3. Scarlet Pumpernickel // March 1, 2009 at 2:22 PM  

    Barbara wonderful recipe! Thanks for sharing with the fuzzies. It is indeed snowing in Georgia! This sounds like a great treat for a snowy evening. Think I'll give it a try. Welcome to the fuzzies, we're pleased as punch to have you!


  4. Mary Marvella // March 1, 2009 at 2:29 PM  

    I love the way you play with a recipe. I always make changes and hope for the best.

  5. Cyrano // March 1, 2009 at 4:46 PM  

    Oh Barbara,
    I'm so glad you posted this recipe. The oatcakes sound delicious and they also made me immediately think of Jamie Fraser from Gabaldon's Outlander. I'd share a batch of thse goodies with him any day of the week!
    Loved the post.
    Have a wintery white day,

  6. Pamela Varnado // March 1, 2009 at 8:16 PM  

    Sounds yummy. I can wait until I try it out. I'll make it for the grandkids since it's a sneaky way to get in all the fiber they need. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Nightingale // March 1, 2009 at 8:28 PM  

    Yummmmm. I'm going to make these for the next Symphony Luncheon. I volunteer and these will be assimilated instantly. Thanks!

  8. Judy // March 2, 2009 at 5:48 PM  

    My mouth is watering. Great recipe. Makes me want to make them right now! I'm printing it out...

  9. Skhye // March 13, 2009 at 9:24 AM  

    I've got the dry ingredients mixed in a bowl. Just waiting for the butter to soften.

    An old friend of mine is Flora MacDonald's great great granddaughter. (I never know if I have enough greats in that title!) Anyway, she Bisquick is soda bread. ;) That's fast-food trivia!

  10. Writer // October 17, 2011 at 1:53 PM  

    Hi Barbara! Incredibly, my children grew up on these. They LOVE them. We haven't made them in a while. You've inspired me to make them this week! We love to put lemon curd on them. So glad you reminded me of these healthy, yummy treats.

  11. Michele // October 17, 2011 at 3:33 PM  

    Sounds great! I make crackers with similar ingredients. I'll have to give these a try!