Introduction: Spiced Scotch Griddle Cookies - Gluten Free Recipe

About: I am an escapee from modern life, now living by the sea in a forest garden in France. After over 20 years industrial experience, I quit my managerial position to study for a degree in Engineering. That done I …

The Scottish poet Robert Burns described his native land as a 'Land o' Cakes' and as with all cookery in our family we like to make variations on a theme. So as we just about every day make some form of oatcake or oat based blini for our breakfast, I've been experimenting with making a twice-cooked oat griddle cake, which serves as a sweet biscuit that we can eat anytime. Chocolate chip griddle cookies are now a firm favourite in our house but I wanted to make something that was more festive.

A Short History of Oat Griddle Cakes

Like the ancient Mongolians, who used their shields to cook their food, documents show that in the 14th century the Chieftain and his clan used theirs to bake oatcakes. It is even believed that the Romans, whilst in the country, to misquote Saint Ambrose; 'did as the Scotch did' and survived on oatcakes! As for Dr Johnson in his famous dictionary of the English Language, published 1755, under the entry for the grain he wrote: 'Oats n.s. [aten, Saxon.] A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.'

To which the writer Walter Scott returned: 'Did you ever hear of Lord Elibank's reply when Johnson's famous definition of oats was first pointed out to him?

"The food of men in Scotland and horses in England," repeated Lord Elibank; "very true, and where will you find such men and such horses?"'¹

FOREWORD on Gluten-free Oats

Oats do not contain gluten, however it is best not to buy them, if you are gluten intolerant, unless they are labelled as certified gluten-free. In countries where oats are not a traditional crop, fields can be contaminated by stray plants when other cereal crops are grown in close proximity. Here in France, for example, where there were no dedicated oat-growing areas, we used to find it impossible to buy certified organic gluten-free oats. However, due to the ever increasing popularity of gluten-free foods and international cuisine, we are now seeing certified oats on the shelves. It is also worth noting that post harvest, certified gluten-free oats are processed in dedicated mills where they can not be contaminated with other grains. This is why people often get confused about why all oats are not labelled as suitable for those allergic to gluten.

Step 1: Ingredients & Equipment

All my Ingredients are organic

Makes 10 large cookies

2½ cups - 200g - 8oz rolled oats liquidised or ground into a coarse flour

A generous pinch of salt

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 tablespoons of raw cane sugar

¾ cup - 200ml - ⅓ pint of raw milk

Handful of raisins, pre-soaked in a little white wine ( or cold black tea)

¼ teaspoon of mixed spice ('mixed spice' is a traditional British pie, pudding, biscuit and cake blend, made from, ground coriander, cassia, ginger, nutmeg, caraway and cloves). Apple pie spice is similar

The zest of half a medium lemon.

Icing sugar for dusting

Lard for greasing


Griddle or heavy-bottomed frying pan

Liquidiser or coffee grinder

Fine grater

Paper and scissors

Pyrex jug for mixing

Dessert spoon for transferring batter to pan

Sieve for icing sugar

Step 2: Method - Making the Batter

Preheat the oven to 355°F - 180°C

Grind the oats, don't make them too fine or you'll lose the lovely chewy nature of the oat.

Using a liquidiser or coffee grinder, only grind a small amount (2oz - 50g) at a time and pulse the liquidiser, this stops the oats getting too hot as this spoils the flavour.

Put the ground oats into a mixing bowl or jug and add a pinch of salt, the sugar, mixed spice and the bicarbonate of soda.

Add the milk whilst whisking.

Drain the raisins off the wine and add them to the mix, stirring in with a spoon.

Add the lemon zest.

Leave the batter to thicken for around 5 minutes.

Step 3: Method - Making the Cookies

I shot the griddle cooking of the cookies as they rose and expanded on the griddle, so you can get a sort of flicker book idea of movement if you run the images quickly one after the other.

Add one teaspoon of fat to the warmed pan and make sure it coats the whole surface.

Each cookie is made from one dessert spoon of the batter which is placed onto the griddle. Make sure you do not overcrowd the pan as each heap of batter needs room to expand.

The cookies are ready for turning over when bubbles appear in the batter and it no longer has a wet look to it.

Keep checking each cookie once you have turned it to make sure it doesn't burn.

Once cooked, put them on a warmed plate or in the warming drawer of your cooker.

Repeat the process until all the batter is used.

Place all the cookies on a lightly greased tray and place them in the oven (middle shelf) for approximately 5 minutes, this crisps them on the outside but they will still be soft and chewy on the inside. If you cook them longer they become more 'biscuity'.

Step 4: Decorate

Place on a cooling rack and when they are still just slightly warm, sprinkle with icing sugar.


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