Saturday, January 22, 2022

Scottish Oatcakes from Molly MacRae #recipe @MysteryMacRae


Oatcakes and a piece of good cheese – Mm-mm! I’m looking forward to March 1st, when Argyles and Arsenic hits bookstores and libraries, so my next several contributions to the MLK kitchen will be Scottish recipes.

Oatcakes are a traditional Scottish cracker. They’re great on their own or served with salted butter, cheese, pate, smoked salmon, etc. They’re quite easy to make, too, although I attempted to get fancy and make some in the shapes of characters in the book - including Ranger the cairn terrier, Smirr the big gray tomcat, and Butter the yellow kitten. Oh, I had plans! I thought of making one each in the shape of the women who run the bookshop and tearoom, one for the constable, and one for the Mr. Potato Chef food truck that appears in the book.

Sadness. The little dog lost a leg. The cats are hideous. And I gave up trying to freehand anything else. But not entirely. I did do one freehand shape. You can see it on the plate along with the traditional round oatcakes. Do you know what it is? Yes! It’s a vial of arsenic (although it looks more like a rocket ship's re-entry capsule).

The recipe is written with metric amounts. I’ve added the cup and ounce equivalents in parentheses.


If you’re looking for more Scottish recipes, here are three from the MLK archives.

Orange Almond Scones with Cardamom

Oat Shortbread with Dark Chocolate and Crystalized Ginger

Mary Jane Maffini’s Great-Great-Grandmother’s Scottish Shortbread


Scottish Oatcakes

(adapted from The Hebridean Baker: Recipes and Wee Stories from the Scottish Islands)

 Makes about a dozen, depending on size and shape you cut them



200g (2 cups) rolled oats

50g (⅓ cup) pinhead or steel-cut oats, plus extra for dusting

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon brown sugar

75g (⅓ cup) butter

75ml (¼ cup 2 tablespoons) boiling water



Preheat oven to 360 degrees F  (the recipe calls for 180 degrees C which is 360 degrees F). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Stir rolled and pinhead (or steel-cut) oats together. Whir 100g (1 cup) of that mixture in a blender to make oat flour. Return the flour to the bowl. Add salt and sugar.

Stir the butter into the boiling water until its melted. Add to the oat mixture and combine until it begins to hold together in a dough.

Dust your work surface with pinhead oats (Note: I had steel-cut oats which just plain do not dust a work surface. Next time I might dust with whole wheat flour, or I might whir the extra steel-cut oats to make more oat flour and use that.) Roll dough to a thickness of about ¼ inch.

Use a biscuit cutter, or other shape of your choice to cut the dough. (Note: after I gave up being fancy, I used one of the round biscuit cutters I bought when I was a student at Edinburgh University in 1974. Worked like a charm.) Lift the oatcakes with a palette knife or metal spatula and arrange on parchment-lined sheet. Re-roll scraps until dough is used up. (Note: this wouldn’t be traditional, but it would be quick – cut the dough into rectangles or triangles with a chef knife or pizza cutter.)

Bake 20 minutes. Turn oven off. Carefully turn the oatcakes over and return to oven for 5 minutes. (Note: I forgot to turn the oven off before I returned the oatcakes for the last 5 minutes. It didn’t hurt them.)

Remove from oven. Transfer oatcakes to cooling rack.

Serve with salted butter and cheese (or anything else that sounds good!).


Something poisonous is coming March 1, 2022!

About Argyles and Arsenic – book 5 in the Highland Bookshop Mysteries:

After 93 well-lived years, Violet MacAskill is ready to simplify her life. Her eccentric solution? She’ll throw a decanting and decluttering party at her family home—a Scottish Baronial manor near the seaside town of Inversgail, Scotland. Violet sets aside everything she wants or needs, then she invites her many friends in to sip sherry and help themselves to whatever they want from all that’s left.

But a murder during Violet’s party leads to a poisonous game of cat and mouse – with the women of Yon Bonnie Books playing to win.

Available for pre-order in hardback and e-book from your locally owned independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. Or ask your public library to consider ordering it.


The Boston Globe says Molly MacRae writes “murder with a dose of drollery.” She’s the author of the award-winning, national bestselling Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries and the Highland Bookshop Mysteries. As Margaret Welch, she writes books for Annie’s Fiction. Her short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine since 1990 and she’s a winner of the Sherwood Anderson Award for Short Fiction. Visit Molly on Facebook and Pinterest and connect with her on Twitter  or Instagram.



  1. The oatcakes sound delicious. Can't wait to try the recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  2. A 1/4 tsp brown sugar? That hardly seems like enough to make any difference.
    These do sound good. Too bad about your mutant reactions. But I hope you got a good laugh from them!

  3. I thought the same thing, Libby, but they aren't meant to have more than the merest hint of sweet and the 1/4 tsp was just right.

    The mutants tasted just as good as the prettier oatcakes and did give us some good laughs!

  4. Thank you for the recipe, Molly. I don't care for breakfast oatmeal because of its texture, but I like the taste of oats in cookies and muffins. I'll heave to try Scottish oatcakes.

    1. You're welcome! I hope you like them, MaryAnn.

  5. I will have to make these! I wonder how it would work to just drop the dough by spoonfuls and flatten with a glass - I may have to try that.
    Thank you for sharing with us.

  6. Thank you for sharing the oatcake recipe & I look forward to the Scottish recipes you're planning to share with us. I'm going to make these oatcakes & have then with cheese & a cup of English breakfast tea while reading a British cozy!