Scottish oat cakes are crisp and not too sweet cookies, traditionally served with jam at breakfast. They are crunchy, satisfying and addictive, and pair nicely with morning coffee or as a snack with a glass of milk.
More than forty years ago, Bob and I visited the Inverary Inn in Baddeck, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia (it appears to be thriving still, judging from its website). Family owned, cozy and homelike, it included breakfast and dinner in a communal dining room. You were on your own for lunch-however in a rural area during the off season, there were no opportunities within walking distance. Since we were there for solitude and noses-in-books, interspersed with long walks rather than road touring, we found ourselves filching a few extra Scottish oat cakes from breakfast each morning, to tide us over until dinner.
Most guests went out touring the scenic island roads every morning after breakfast; we were the only ones who planted ourselves next to the fireplace with our books. The staff thought it was cute that we squirreled away extra oat cakes, and by the end of the week, we were practically part of the family. Bob was in favor with the matronly cook, who took him to her kitchen and shared her recipe. He's been making Scottish oat cakes ever since.
Ingredients (makes about 6 dozen cookies)
6 cups rolled oats
4 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 cups brown sugar
1 lb vegetable shortening or lard at room temperature
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup hot water
Stir dry ingredients together, then add shortening or lard and blend
Add soda to hot water, mix well, and blend into oat mixture
Form into several thick patties, wrap and chill until firm
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Roll out dough to 1/4" thickness, cut into rounds or squares
Bake on ungreased cookie shees until slightly browned
Cool on racks, store airtight
Serve with Sweetlife Farm Jam