Oatcakes, oatcakes, and more oatcakes!

oatcakes
Ate our oatcakes too quickly, before photos could be taken. These nice crisp-looking ones are courtesy of House and Garden UK.

Now that the memories of our Great East Coast Adventure of this summer are fading away, we really miss not having Scottish oatcakes readily available here in central Canada.

In the Maritimes, you can find oatcakes in many places, especially in Nova Scotia, and especially, especially on Cape Breton island, of course. I remember that years ago, VIA train served wonderful complimentary oatcakes on the leg between Montreal and Halifax (don’t know if they still have them). Now, even select Tim Hortons out there have oatcakes on offer alongside the doughnuts, which are overly-sweet by comparison.

Of course, now that we’re no longer there, we had to look for the perfect oatcake recipe to bake for ourselves at home. After a lot of sifting through on-line recipes and discarding ones that seemed like they had too much sugar or an oat-flour ratio that wasn’t quite right, we came up with the following five recipes to try. The sixth one is from the Clucking Hen Café and Bakery near St. Ann’s Bay along the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton. (It should be noted that our preferred oatcakes were from the High Wheeler Café in Baddeck, but unfortunately, they didn’t give away their recipe conveniently on a bookmark like the Clucking Hen.)

Take a look at the recipes below with our review notes, and bake up some simple deliciousness for yourself!

Note 1: We slightly modified the recipes by substituting butter whenever the original recipe called for lard, shortening, or bacon fat.
Note 2: We ground all our oatmeal until it was fine, but not quite as fine as flour.
Note 3: In all recipes, sift/mix dry ingredients first. Then pulse in the butter, then water.
Note 4: Unless otherwise stated, bake at 350° F for 15 minutes, turning over halfway through.

1)
http://www.food.com/recipe/cape-breton-oatcakes-334468
·         2 cups rolled oats
·         2 cups flour
·         2 tsp. baking powder
·         ½ tsp. salt
·         1 cup brown sugar
·         1 cup butter
·         ½ cup cold water

Review: We couldn’t taste the oat taste as much as in the other recipes, and with a cup of sugar, this one was the sweetest among all—a tad too sweet for our liking. The dough was also much softer than the others—almost too soft to work with.
2)
http://localfoods.about.com/od/Cookies/r/Nova-Scotia-Oatcakes.htm
·         2 cups rolled oats
·         1 cup flour
·         ¼ tsp. baking soda
·         1 ¼ tsp. salt
·         ¾ cup brown sugar
·         ¾ cup butter
·         ¼ cup boiling/very hot water

Review:
Not as sweet as #1, and it had a nice buttery and oat-y taste. The dough was easy to work with, and because we rolled ours out extra thin (thinner than the photo on the original site), the texture was the nicest and crispiest among all. Really good, and was the first to disappear.
WINNER!
3)
http://thetravelbite.com/travel_and_food_blog/nova-scotia-oatcakes/
·         2 cups rolled oats
·         1 cup flour
·         ¼ tsp. baking soda
·         ½ tsp. salt
·         ½ cup brown sugar
·         ½ cup butter
·         ¼ cup boiling water

Review: This was very buttery and oat-y, similar to #2 (note the oat-to-flour ratio). Because it had slightly less sugar than #2, it ultimately lost by a nose.
4)
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/520634/scottish-oat-cakes
·         225 g rolled oats
·         60 g flour
·         ½ tsp. baking soda
·         1 tsp. salt
·         ½ tsp. brown sugar
·         60 g butter
·         60-80  mL hot water

Review: This was one of the two savoury oatcakes (note the small amount of sugar).  Because we prefer our oatcakes with a bit of sweetness to them, we didn’t go crazy for these ones. For some reason, these weren’t as good as #5.
https://caperfrasers.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/cape-breton-oat-cakes/

·         2 cups rolled oats
·         1 cup flour
·         2 tsp. baking soda
·         ¼ tsp. salt
·         2 tsp. white sugar
·         ⅓ cup butter

Review: The second of our savoury oatcakes, this one had one disadvantage in that the dough was just too crumbly to roll. We had to bake it in a silicon pan, and that worked out fine, as we dug out crumbled chunks to taste. Strangely addictive, these savoury ones were better than #4.

Clucking Hen Café and Bakery (400° F)

·         3 cups rolled oats
·         3 cups flour
·         1 tsp. baking soda
·         1 tsp. salt
·         1 cup white sugar
·         1 cup butter
·         ¾ cup cold water

Review: Finally, we didn’t make these, since we had some directly from the bakery and could make our review notes based on those. These weren’t as crispy and oat-y and yummy as the High Wheeler Café’s. They weren’t even as yummy as our winner, #2, but if we’re ever in the mood to re-live our Cabot Trail memories, we’ll grab this recipe.

 

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