Monday, November 11, 2013

A Cape Breton Memory: Oatcakes

While touring the Cabot Trail on gorgeous Cape Breton, Nova Scotia this past September, we stopped along the roadside at a little bakery that advertised coffee and baked goods. Inside the case was a treat labeled 'oatcakes $1.50'.  Since I wanted something to go with the coffee, I bought a couple of them, and they turned out to be one of the culinary highlights of the whole trip! Determined to find a recipe for them when I returned home, I scoured all of my cookbooks first. Lo and behold, The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion held exactly what I was looking for: A slightly sweet, nutty flavored shortbread-inspired oatcake recipe that is very like the confection I sampled on Cape Breton. This is our new favorite cookie to have with hot tea on cold nights.

Sweet Oatcakes
from: The King Arthur Cookie Companion

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar (7 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) rolled oats, coarsely ground in a small food processor (do NOT use quick oats)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Farenheit.  Lightly grease two 9 inch round cake pans (I also line mine with parchment paper rounds)

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, salt, brown sugar, and the vanilla. Beat in the baking soda, flour, and oats.
Divide the dough in half and press each half into the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with your fingers. Prick the dough with a fork in an attractive pattern.
Bake the shortbread for 35 to 45 minutes, until it's golden brown around the edges. Remove it from the oven and loosen the edges with a table knife. Wait 5 minutes, then carefully turn the shortbread out onto a clean work surface, all in one piece.  Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut each round into 12 wedges. (Do this while the shortbread is warm; if you wait until it cools, it won't cut easily.)  Transfer the wedges to a rack to cool.

Makes 2 dozen shortbread wedges.

Store in a cookie tin for up to a week.