Wednesday, May 20, 2015

snack chronicles: cheddar oatcakes

Meet my new favourite snack: the cheddar oatcake.

It is crisp and cheesy with little nubbins of steel-cut oats, and I ate the last one this morning and I'm going to have to fix that soon. Very soon.

The recipe comes from Lucy Waverman, who says she first tried a cheesy oatcake at a farm store on the Isle of Mull. She recommends Mull cheddar, but, of course, sharp Canadian cheddar works, too.

The technique is ingenious: mix the oats, flour and cheese, and then drizzle melted butter and water in. At that point, it looks like wet oatmeal.

But after 10 or 15 minutes, the quick oats have soaked some water in and everything starts to come together into dough. To cut them into circles, I used the biscuit cutter my Scottish aunt gave me when I was 14.

In the oven, the oatcakes don't spread, but instead crisp up and puff just a bit. Once they have cooled, they are firm but a little crumbly, and all together the nicest mid-morning snack you could have. Or mid-afternoon.

P.S. If you're curious about the plate, it's my great-grandmother Henrietta McGaw's wedding china. She was from another Scottish island, the Isle of Skye.

One year ago: lentil soup with chorizo croûtes
Two years ago: rhubarb syrup and cauliflower and mull cheddar soup (must be something about this time of year that calls for mull cheddar!)
Three years ago: gouda and roasted pepper dip and grilled chicken sandwiches
Four years ago: sour cream coffee cake
Five years ago: swedish tea cookies

cheddar oatcakes
slightly adapted from Lucy Waverman, Globe and Mail
bakes about 30 oatcakes

2/3 c. steel-cut oats
1 1/2 c. quick-cooking oats
1/2 c. wheat flour
     or gluten-free:
     30 g. millet flour
     20 g. sweet rice flour
     20 g. potato starch
     1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp. regular salt)
4 oz. (about 1 1/2 c.) sharp cheddar, grated
3/4 c. butter, melted
 2 tbsp. water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Stir both kinds of oats, flour(s), salt and cheddar together in a large bowl. Drizzle the melted butter and water over top. Stir until well mixed. Let stand 10  15 minutes, until it's firmed up and can come together. If it still feels too crumbly, add a little more water and stir it in.

Flour your working surface with wheat flour or, if gluten-free, sweet rice flour. Get out a 2 1/2 inch cutter and rolling pin. Knead the dough into a ball.  Roll out with floured rolling pin until about 1/4 inch thick. Flour cutter and cut out biscuits. Put biscuits on baking sheets. Bake 25  30 minutes, until they have a little colour and are lightly golden around the edges. Let cool on baking sheet.

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