There are two things that are sure to survive the Apocolypse- Cockroaches and Scottish Oatcakes. Fortunately for any humans who survive, both of these things are edible, though some may prefer to pass on the oatcakes.
If you have ever had a traditional Scottish oatcake, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't had the.... um.... pleasure....imagine chewing on a small, round, flat disc of something that resembles a cross between plywood and cardboard and you won't be far off.
To be fair to the Scotish, their cuisine might not be the best, but they do the best they can with what they've got. In this harsh, rugged land, the humble oat was, at one time, the only grain that would grow. It sustained both man and beast, earning a special place in the history of Scotland, and has remained a staple in the Scottish diet throughout the centuries.
The addition of baking powder in this version produces a slightly thicker, softer, more cake-like oatcake. I add a bit of cinnamon as well for extra flavour, but this is a matter of personal preference. It is a very versatile recipe that can easily be adjusted to suit individual tastes.
A quick note about oatmeal: Most oatcake recipes will call for "Scotch Oats", or "Medium Oats". This type of oatmeal is a little less fine than the typical rolled oats most of us are accustomed to. If you wish to, you can use this type of oatmeal. I just use quick cook rolled oats, the kind you can cook in 3 minutes, but not the "instant" kind.
Step 1: What You Will Need
1 Cup Oatmeal (not instant)
1 Cup All Purpose (plain) Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2 TBS Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon (optional)
3 TBS Butter
1/2 Cup Milk
Large Mixing Bowl
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Large Spoon or Whisk
Pastry Blender or Fork (optional)
Rolling Pin (optional)
Step 2: Mix Dry Ingredients
Preheat your oven to 375 F
1) In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon (if using), until well blended. I use a wire whisk to help ensure even blending, but a spoon will work as well.
2) Stir in oatmeal.
Step 3: Cut/Rub in Butter
Add 3 TBS of slightly softened butter and cut it in with a pastry blender or fork, or rub it in with your fingers, until your mixture looks like fine bread crumbs. (A few little lumps are okay. Unfortunately, I don't seem to have taken a picture of what it looks like when completely blended.)
Step 4: Add Milk
Add 1/2 a cup of milk and stir with a large spoon to blend until you have a stiff dough. If it seems too dry, add a few more drops of milk, but be careful not to add too much or the dough will become very sticky and difficult to work with.
Step 5: Turn Out Onto Parchment and Roll
1) When your dough has formed, place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface and scoop it out of the bowl onto the parchment. If you don't have non-stick parchment, you may want to sprinkle a small amount of flour on it first.
2) Dust your rolling pin with a bit of flour. Roll from the center out, changing directions or turning the parchment as you go, until you have a circle about 10-12 inches wide and 1/2 an inch thick. If you don't have a rolling pin, just press and pat the dough with your hands.
Step 6: Cut Into Wedges
With a sharp knife, cut into quarters, then quarter it again, to make 8 wedges. Be careful not to cut through the parchment.
Step 7: Transfer to Baking Sheet and Bake
Grab the parchment paper at both ends, lift and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 F for 15- 20 minutes, or until firm and slightly browned around the edges. I don't have any pictures of the baking process because my oven is older than dirt and not very photogenic anymore.
Step 8: Remove From Oven and Cool
1) Remove baking sheet from the oven and, using parchment to lift, transfer oatcakes to a plate (or rack, if you prefer). Slide the parchment out from underneath and leave to cool for a couple of minutes.
2) Break apart along the cuts that you made before baking. Serve immediately or allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container. I don't know how long they keep because they never last more than a couple of days in our house, but I would say about a week at the most. The longer they sit, the drier they will be.
*Tip: Don't throw your parchment paper away. You can reuse it. Just fold it and store it in a bag or container until the next time you bake. Each piece can usually be used at least twice, sometimes 3 or 4 times, before it gets too mucky or too burnt.
Step 9: Enjoy!
Oatcakes are versatile and can be eaten anytime, anywhere, anyway you like. Serve at room temperature or warmed for a few seconds in a microwave. They will be a little dry, so you will want something to top them with or dunk them in. A little butter and/ or jam is good. Cream cheese goes really well with them too. Or you can dunk them into coffee, tea, cocoa or warm milk. Try one with a fruit and yogurt smoothie for a healthy and satisfying breakfast. Have a couple with a salad and a slice of cheese for lunch. Or throw some in your backpack when you go hiking. Make them a little sweeter and top them with some fruit and yogurt or ice cream for dessert.
This recipe can easily be modified to suit personal tastes as well. If you want a sweeter oatcake, add a couple more spoonfuls of sugar. You can add a bit more butter if you like as well. And try adding in other ingredients, such as raisins, dates, currants, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, wheat germ, coconut, chopped nuts..... anything you like. It's really up to you. Be creative and have fun. :0)
Note: All measurements are "American". I will try to add conversions for everything soon.