in grade 10, i got a job at the tim hortons in the town over (the one everyone drank behind on fridays). i mostly dipped fondant on doughnuts,
double triple-stuffed boston cremes, and ate frozen raspberries from the freezer. smoking in restaurants was still allowed, and all the treats had a thin flim of ash, especially after church on sundays. i remember the arrival of the t-ho’s oatcake. they were dry, pasty in the mouth, and bland af. i ate at least two per shift.these are not those. these are darker, softer, less sweet. i’ve taken a pretty traditional recipe and punched it up with muscovado sugar, more moisture, and a little extra salt. this super dark sugar will give it a bit of a molasses vibe, but feel free to substitute a lighter brown sugar if you’d like it sweeter (or a lighter sugar + 1tbsp of molasses).
there’s the option of plain oatcakes, and chocolate dipped ones. i know tempering chocolate might seem daunting (aka a pain in the ass), but seriously, a digital candy thermometer changed my life. hearing chocolate “snap” after you’ve tempered it successfully feels as triumphant as earning a brownie badge for your sash. you can do it!
2 cups rolled oats (def not instant)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup mucovado sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup cubed butter
3/4 cup boiling water
*optional 450g semi-sweet chocolate (if half-chocolate dipping your oatcakes)
1. preheat oven to 375f. in a large bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda.
2. add the cubed butter to the mixture. pinch the butter into the ingredients to really work the fat in there. it should look like a crumbly but even mess when you’re done. it’ll be very dry — that’ll come together in the next step.
3. in one go, pour the boiling water into the ingredients and stir with a big wooden spoon until it’s a really thick, somewhat-sticky dough.
4. roll the dough out on a well-floured surface. now, you can use cookie cutters to press out shapes, OR (my fave / recommend), roll out to about 1/3″ thick & trim into a large square, measuring roughly 9″ on each side. cut this into 9 equal squares. these will bake together in the oven, but will be easy to separate along the cut lines once cooked.
5. transfer to a parchment-lined pan. bake for 18 minutes at 375f.
6. with a sharp knife, re-cut the cookies and place on a rack to cool. if you are dipping in tempered chocolate, allow them to cool completely before proceeding. chocolate dip
1. chop 450g of semi-sweet chocolate and put 2/3 of it in a bowl over simmering water. let it melt, and come to between 115f-120f on your candy thermometer.
2. remove from heat and let it cool to 87f. this may take 10 mins or so. make a tea. eat an oatcake.
3. slowly add reserved 1/3 of chopped chocolate, until the temperature comes down to 81f (this is called “seeding”).
4. place the bowl back over the simmering water, and bring it up to between 88 and 90f. this is the “working temperature” for tempered chocolate. don’t go over 91f! then you’ll have to do this stuff all over again.
5. ready to dip! dip oatcakes into the chocolate, and set to rest on a rack over parchment (to catch the mess), or directly onto the parchment. tempered chocolate should set up fairly quickly, so you may wish to test on the end of a knife first, to ensure it’s been tempered properly.
6. save any remaining chocolate for the next time you’d like to temper and dip something. or just eat it with a spoon. up to you.