Of the things that Bob brought back from his first visit to Scotland in the early 90’s was a taste for their style of oatmeal (ground), a renewed passion for stone milling and an affection for Scottish Oatcakes. None of these has been far from his heart since.
I had never heard of an oatcake when I started here six years ago. It sounded like a delicious little cake made from oatmeal. As an American, the word cake means something very different to me than it does to the Scots. Our cake is light and fluffy, full of sugar, flour, butter and eggs. A Scottish oatcake is a flat, cracker-like biscuit (for lack of a better descriptor) made using ground oats, water, salt, butter and a wee bit of baking powder.
It has been said that the oatcake originated from ancient Scots who would create a ‘cake’ out of the oats carried in their sporran and the water they had available; this they would heat this over the fire to sustain them. I have read a variety of opinions regarding what exactly was carried in sporrans and oats regularly top the list of what Scots carried.
When I first set out to make an oatcake, I genuinely thought I was creating a sweet biscuit. NOPE. An oatcake is a far cry from sweet and definitely nothing like the good ol’ American biscuit. What I discovered, however, is a wonderful treat- a perfect base for almost any topping. A whole grain goodie that holds up well in your bag while you’re on the go and keep you full through your day.
These cakes would be a perfect accompaniment to a cup of hot tea. I love eating these on their own where the oat’s natural nuttiness can shine through, but I’ve also topped them with jam, honey, peanut butter and cheese (no, not together). They’re great with dips or set out as a base for an appetizer stacked with meat and cheese or cucumber with cream cheese. Enjoy!
- 1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Scottish Oatmeal
- 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
- 1/4-3/4 tsp Sugar (more for a sweeter oatcake)
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 cup Butter or Margarine, melted
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup Hot Water
Preheat oven to 325°F. Place all but 2 tablespoons of the Scottish Oatmeal in a bowl with flour, sugar, salt and baking powder; stir until combined. Add butter and stir until evenly distributed. With a fork, mix in water, just until moistened. Pat dough into a ball, and then flatten slightly.
Sprinkle reserved 2 tablespoons oats on a board. Roll dough out 1/4 inch thick. With a 2 to 3 inch round cutter, cut dough into rounds. Re-roll and cut scraps. Place oatcakes about 1/4 inch apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake until Scottish Oatcakes are golden, approximately 25 minutes. Let cool on a rack. Enjoy plain, serve with jam or cheese, or use them to build hors d’oeuvres. Makes 12 Scottish Oatcakes.