Nova Scotia Oatcakes

February 19, 2008

Dining at Dalhousie Castle
Photo courtesy Vossen Media Co (U.K.)

Who wouldn’t want to spend the night in a castle? Some castles are luxurious and some castles are wonderfully old: the Dalhousie Castle near Edinburgh, miraculously, is both. If Sam and Harry are smart, they will have first flown in to London and then traveled to Edinburgh overnight on The Flying Scotsman – it’s only a 4-hour ride, but folks can check into a private sleeping compartment several hours early at Kings Cross station, and don’t have to leave the train at Edinburgh Waverley the next morning until after being served tea and a scone. Very romantic!

While the couple may not find Scottish haggis to their liking, they must be sure to try the many varieties of oat cakes that are a Scottish specialty. While store-bought Scottish oatcakes are generally crisper and saltier, the texture and slight sweetness of these homemade ones remind me of scones. We make them often! – Almostgotit

Nova Scotia Oatcakes

3 cups quick rolled oats
3 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cup shortening
2/3 – 3/4 cup cold water

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together.  Cut in shortening. Add enough water to form a rather stiff, pastry-like dough.  Roll 3/8 ” thick and cut into circles.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes on a greased baking sheet.  Makes lots!

  • Variation: one may sneakily substitute 1/2 cup apple sauce (one of those single-serving cups is just right) for the same portion of shortening and I guarantee no one will notice; bolder folk may substitute even more applesauce and the recipe will change a bit but still work fine; however, Sam will no doubt notice and object. 
  • Canada’s “Nova Scotia” is, of course, Latin for “New Scotland.” This recipe, given to us by a Canadian friend many years ago, is similar to a very old one that probably traces back to early Scottish settlers. Moreover? There is a “Dalhousie University” in Halifax, the capital city of this island province.

Cinnamon-Raisin Squares

August 25, 2007


A great little oatmeal bar cookie perfect for tucking into pockets or school lunches. Leave off the icing and you can even eat it for breakfast. SAM

2 cups rolled oats, uncooked
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, melted (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup dark raisins
1/4 cup apple jelly
Cinnamon Icing

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch square pan and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and baking soda. Stir in the butter. Remove 1 cup of the oats mixture and set aside. Pat the remaining mixture into the prepared pan. In the same bowl, combine the raisins and jelly and toss with the reserved 1 cup of oat mixture. Sprinkle over the layer in the pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. While warm, cut into 1-inch squares. Cool in the pan. Drizzle with Cinnamon Icing.
Makes 18 squares.

Breakfast Scones

June 23, 2007


Please don’t pass this along to Healthier-Than-Thou Tim, but I love whole wheat scones! There’s butter, naturally, in these, and also yogurt, which makes them nicely moist. How healthy is that! If you like your scones sweeter, use sweetened, chopped dates. If you love chocolate, trade out half the nuts for chocolate chips. Roll the dough if you want traditional-looking scones, but here’s a quick tip: use two spoons to drop the dough onto the baking sheet . So much easier! And the scones will have a crisper, more interesting texture. SAM

1 cup pitted, chopped dates
2 tablespoons cognac or water
1 cup unbleached soft wheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1 tablespoon corn meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons sweet butter, thinly sliced
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup chopped black walnuts
1 1/3 cups plain yogurt

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Combine the dates and cognac in a small bowl, cover, and microwave on high for 1 minute to plump.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, wheat germ, corn meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles very coarse corn meal. Add the oats, dates, and walnuts and blend well. Add the yogurt and stir until just blended. The dough will be very sticky. Turn out onto a floured pastry board and roll to 3/4-inch thickness. Cut out the scones with a sharp-sided 2-inch cutter and place close together on an ungreased baking sheet. Or, with two metal serving spoons, drop the dough onto the baking sheet in 1 1/2-inch dollops. Bake for 25 minutes, turning the baking sheet once. Cool on a wire rack.
Makes about 14 2-inch or 20 dropped scones.