The Fresh Loaf

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So are oatcakes a cracker or a cookie? Tell me how you eat them.

clazar123's picture

So are oatcakes a cracker or a cookie? Tell me how you eat them.

I finally tried a recipe for "Oatcakes". In my brief research, I have seen different forms of what are called oatcakes in different parts of the globe-mainly the British Isles and Nova Scotia. Some seem to be like an American pancake-soft and cooked on a griddle, others seem either cracker or cookie-like. I used the recipe on Bob's RedMill Scottish oatmeal bag. It seemed to be the more cracker/cookie-like.

Scottish Oatcakes

1 1/2 c Scottish Oatmeal (set 2 tbsp of this aside for later)

1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 tsp sugar (I added a bit more)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

Mix dry ingredients together

1/4 c melted butter or margerine

Add melted fat to dry ingredients and mix till evenly distributed

1/2 c hot water.

With a fork, add hot water and mix til just moistened.Gather into a ball and flatten.

Sprinkle reserved oats onto table and roll dough to 1/4inch (I did 1/8 in) thick and cut with round cookie cutter.

Bake 325 for 25-30min

So they are just cooled off and they are an interesting item. I can't decide how they would taste best. I've eaten 2 of them just plain. They have a crisp, cookie-like bite then a chewy texture due to the oats. It seems rather pasty in the mouth. I think this has all the earmarks of a comfort food that would be associated with childhood memories.

So what do people eat with this? Do you top it with nut butter? Cheese? Smoked fish? Jam? Tell me how you remember or eat oatcakes.


mini_maggie's picture

The cookie effect you're getting is probably contributed to by the extra sugar and thinner roll you did.  Here they are not sweet in and of themselves and are thick, like a dry firm cake, not crispy and if done well not crumbly either.  Sometimes made with large flake recognizable oats and sometimes a finer oat/flour mix without recognizable whole oat flakes, although still decidedly oaty.  Here in NS they are almost always available either plain or dipped/drizzled in chocolate.    Comfort food for sure and a good hearty snack with coffee or tea to take the hunger out of you for the whole afternoon.  

Graid's picture

I am a Scot. I've always found outcakes a bit dry though I do like their taste.  Scots oatcakes are not pancake like, they are quite hard, with a granular texture, crispy and not very chewy. They crumble easily, which I usually find makes them rather easy to choke on!

I used to like oatcakes best with cheese and tomato as a kid, people in my family also ate them with butter. I think as an adult I've enjoyed them best with cheese that's offset with a tangy flavour, like what's in Britain called pickle, or a tangy chutney, or with flavoured cheese, such as garlic flavoured cheese. I'd say they're treated somewhat like crackers or toast this way, though people eat a variety of things with them, there's no 'proper' way to eat them. 





clazar123's picture


So Nova Scotia says "thick,dry cake" and " if done well not crumbly either".

 I have seen recipes from NovaScotia that seem richer and sweeter than my recipe.This recipe has a picture. 

The ingredients and technique are almost like making a scone. I think I would like that better than my current endeavor!


Scotland says " They crumble easily"

I would say that my oatcakes, while thin/crisp are definitely crumbly. I wonder if they will remain crispy once they are a day old.

A question for Graid-How thick are the oatcakes you remember?



Graid's picture

Oatcakes in Scotland/Britain as a whole are definitely not rich or sweet and those ones in the above picture are WAY thicker than ours. Ours.. maybe about 4mm thick? Something like that.. Like a (British definition) biscuit. Perhaps you were asking about homemade ones, but these are the oatcakes I remember which are still available:

I have fonder memories of these, which I haven't eaten in ages:

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

in some of the butter naturally...  and...  

if the half cup of hot cold water was poured over the hot oats, then a nice roux would form more than making up for swiping the oats from the beginning of the recipe and adding them later...   

colinm's picture

The somewhat more austere oatcakes I know from Scotland (like these: ) don't have sugar or wheat flour, so they are definitely in the cracker category, calling for cheese. Though I like them with almond butter too. They are dry and crunchy rather than crumbly.

If you add more butter, sugar, flour and milk, you can get oatmeal scones, which are great with butter and jam.

clazar123's picture

I think this is a food you have to have some familiarity with before you appreciate it. It is a very simple idea and honestly, not much initial appeal but after eating my product for a few days, I begin to see the appeal.  It is a true comfort food when made in its simplest fashion. I would equate it (ingredient and simplicity-wise) to a matzoh cracker. Mine had a little more sugar and fat than the simplest recipe and I think the Nova Scotia oatcakes are on the richest/sweetest end of the spectrum of oatcakes before it either goes to cookies or scones.

This is a good example of how changing the ratio of ingredients morphs a food along a spectrum. Someone recently posted a book that was written along these lines.

EvaB's picture

I have one recipe which say take chopped oat meal (in other words not ground and not flaked) and mix with plain water to a paste and bake on the griddle or of course hot stone on the edge of a fire. Suspect this is dry and crumbly and the most basic. But they do sound good, the only problem with the above recipe is the pasty flour, I can get regular white pastry flour, but have never seen whole wheat pastry flour! I suspect that true oat cakes are simply oats, so will try grinding some oats into flour and using that! Experiments are fun!