nova scotia oatcakes

Hello, friends. It’s raining, a gentle downpour. Half of the family is at work (getting soaked, probably), and the other half is here, quietly working/playing on computers or reading or whatever (I don’t care enough to run upstairs and find out). I have no idea what I’ll make for supper, but a loaf of cheesy olive bread is in the oven. Maybe we’ll eat that and… aw, heck, I don’t know. Eggs? Tomato soup? Salad?

That’s it! Salad, tomato soup, and cheesy olive bread! Hang on while I call my daughter and ask her to cut me a head of lettuce from the farm…

Okay, I’m back now.

The weather has been unseasonably cool all week, so I’ve been trying to bake a little more than usual: a grape pie, granola, oatmeal cake, raspberry cheesecake cookies, flan. Which brings me to my point: Nova Scotia Oatcakes.

I already have an oatcake recipe on the blog — an oat biscuit, of sorts — but this one is entirely different. Thin and crunchy, these cookies are like a biscotti-cracker hybrid. They remind me of those packaged thin-n-crispy granola bars, but better (of course). Sweet and rich, they have a wonderful caramel flavor and the snap of a good toffee.

The ingredient list is quite similar to the recipe for a fruit crisp topping: flour, oats, butter, sugar. Just, in this case the butter and sugar get creamed before adding the dry ingredients and then the dough is rolled, or pressed, into a large rectangle and cut into smaller rectangles.

The original recipe provides all sorts of variations, including gluten-free and vegan versions, and a whole array of add-ins: peanut butter, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, spices. (So they are kind of like a delux granola bar, yes?) The author says her mother likes to butter (!) her oatcakes, but I think that’s overkill; they’re plenty rich as is.

They pair well with anything — coffee, lemonade, vanilla ice cream. Probably they’d make a killer “graham cracker” crust, but I haven’t tried that yet. When I make these, I store them in a glass jar on the fridge, ready for packed lunches and after-work snacks. They never last long, though, so my advice: double, or quadruple, the recipe. Since they keep well at room temperature, they’d be perfect for mailing to that dear friend you can’t see right now because of this dang plague. If nothing else, they’ll freeze indefinitely. Really, you can’t go wrong.

Except if you don’t make them, then you’d be going wrong.

Nova Scotia Oatcakes 
Adapted from Kelly Neil’s blog.

1 stick butter
½ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup rolled oats
¾ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Beat the butter until creamy. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and beat a couple more minutes. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, or onto a piece of parchment paper, and roll it into a large rectangle about ¼-inch thick. Cut into rectangles (about 12 oatcakes per recipe) and transfer to a greased baking sheet. Or, if rolling the dough out on parchment, simply pull the oatcakes apart from each other to create space between them and lift the parchment onto the baking sheet.

Bake the oatcakes at 350 degrees for 13-16 minutes, or until golden brown. Let them sit on the baking tray for a couple minutes to firm up before transferring to a cooling rack. Store oatcakes in a pretty glass jar on the counter, or bag and freeze.

This same time, years previous: one morning, the quotidian (6.18.18), the quotidian (6.19.17), the quotidian (6.20.16), dobby and luna, walking through water, refried beans, Kate’s enchiladas, cold-brewed coffee and tea.


  • Lindsay

    Well those are delicious. But who doesn't love buttery sugary toasty oats? I used my fresh ground low-gluten whole grain flour mix for all of the flour and it turned out great.

  • mommychef

    Made a double batch yesterday. There's none left. It's not a big household. Pants will be a little tight but worth it.

  • Anna

    I made this Nova Scotia Oatcakes recipe for my girlfriend a few months ago, and now I'm making a batch for her every Sunday to take to work for breakfast.

    We've made some modifications to the recipe through experimentation, and basically ended up with blueberry oatmeal bars. Here's our recipe for a double-batch:

    4 c. oatmeal
    2 c. all-purpose flour
    1 c. brown sugar
    1 t. salt
    1 t. cinnamon
    1/4 t. mace
    1 pkg. dried blueberries
    1/2 c. butter
    1/2 t. baking soda
    1/2 c. boiling water
    1/2 c. water

    1. Preheat oven to 400F and grease a quarter sheet pan.
    2. Dissolve baking soda in boiling water.
    3. Combine dry ingredients with mostly melted butter, then add dissolved baking soda and additional water.
    4. Transfer to baking sheet and smooth dough out to the edges, trying to make the thickness as even as possible.
    5. Chill for 10-15 minutes (covered or uncovered).
    6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until they're no longer shiny on top. These will be chewy.

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