Friday, March 20, 2009

Nova Scotia Oatcakes

Step into any bakery in Nova Scotia and you are sure to find an assortment of squares to tempt you. Amidst all of these delights you will notice a humble looking cookie known as an oatcake. Not quite a traditional cookie, it is less sweet and not as chewy as your typical oatmeal cookie. In texture it is closer to shortbread.

I was first introduced to them more than 20 years ago. As a young university student I found myself needing a cup of tea while exploring my newly adopted city and happened upon a waterfront coffee shop with a great display of oatcakes. I chose one dipped in chocolate and was surprised when I bit into it to find that it wasn't the oatmeal cookie I was expecting. It was, however, a perfect accompaniment to my tea.

Since then I've tasted many oatcakes but my favourite is a recipe I found tucked into an old cookbook I inherited from my Aunt. Simply labelled "Gladys' Oatcakes", this is the recipe I use when I'm craving one of these maritime treats.

2 cups oatmeal (not instant)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 375F. Mix dry ingredients together then cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly. Add in hot water and stir until mixture sticks together. Turn out onto floured surface and press mixture together. Roll out to approximately 1/2 inch thick. Cut into squares or circles. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Brush with milk and sprinkle with white sugar. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden around the edges.


Hilary said...

Ahh! Finally a recipe for Nova Scotian oatcakes! The other recipes I found online weren't quite the right thing. Thanks for posting this!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe...I made them tonight, but mine came out really flat!! What did I do wrong? I double checked and had all the ingredients right...

Anonymous said...

Looks good! I am assuming.... does :oatmeal" mean prepared oatmeal?

Susan Morrison said...

The oatmeal is raw, straight from the bag.

Anonymous said...

Atty said: I can't tolerate wheat. Can I substitute spelt flour?

Anonymous said...

I'm don't do well with wheat. Can I use spelt flour instead?

Lemon Meringue said...

I used to work as the cook at the convent of

Many of the sisters were from down eat and increased age when such a "cookie" ~ I think of them as a cross over between cookie and bread/cracker. They go good with tea and wonderful with a little aged cheese.

I had a similar recipe but it's missing part of the recipe due to age/use. This is the closest that I have come close to my original outstanding recipe.

My father likes oats and less sweet things- now that he's a diabetic and these will wonderful for him.

lisa said...

yummy... but how many should this make?