This week Scotland made history by hosting one of the most important referendum votes in modern political history. Of course, if you turned on the TV today, you probably heard that the referendum wasn’t a complete success. But yet! While the Scottish National Party wrings its hands and Alex Salmond bids adieu, this American Expat is relishing the opportunity to continue living in a United Kingdom that includes Scotland.
Because Scotland, dear readers, is a country like few others. From the beautiful vistas atop Arthur’s Seat to the rugged peaks and valleys of the Highlands, Scotland possesses a diverse and stunning topography. And urban centres like Glasgow and Edinburgh are cultural hubs, hosting events like The Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival and a required addition to every bucket list. Scotland is also home to culinary delights like shortbread, whisky, chippies, and haggis (don’t knock it til you try it). And while Game of Thrones may paint the North as a dangerous wasteland filled with zombies, weird frozen people, and promiscuous gingers, I assure you that all is well North of the Wall, and to pay my respects to Scotland, I’ve decided to dedicate my inaugural EXPATisserie post to my Salty Oatmeal Cookies.
Salty (Scottish) Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from Alexandra Cooks
I love the simplicity of this recipe: I usually have all the ingredients lying around the kitchen and can easily adjust the salt and spices depending on what I’m craving. My recipe is more heavily spiced than the original, but if you prefer a more authentic oat flavour, feel free to halve the cinnamon and cut the nutmeg entirely. I’m also a big fan of sea salt, so my cookies always have an (un)healthy dollop of salt on top, but adjust as necessary.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks / 170g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg
2 cups rolled oats (I prefer jumbo, but any size works)
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
Sea salt, for sprinkling
Remember to take your butter out of the fridge in advance; the earlier the better, since this will make the butter easier to work with, but you can always pop it in the microwave if you need a quick fix!
While your butter softens, mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and table salt. Stir in the oats. If you don’t have a sieve, just give the dry ingredients a good mix with a whisk before adding the oats. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whip the softened butter for about a minute before adding the sugars. Cream the butter and sugars until they are light, fluffy, and a pale brown. Stir in the vanilla before adding the eggs. Mix until the eggs are completely incorporated and scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary.
Slowly add the dry ingredients; if mixing by hand, I recommend adding the dry ingredients in three parts, mixing until each part is just incorporated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30-45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC.
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Take your bowl out of the fridge and roll the dough in ½ tablespoon portions. Place about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet and flatten the balls slightly with your fingertips. Sprinkle sea salt on top of each ball of dough. The dough should be slightly cold when it goes into the oven; if your dough is too warm, pop it back in the fridge for a few minutes. Once in the oven, bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes until the edges have turned golden brown. If you want particularly salty cookies (and who wouldn’t?!), rotate the baking sheet after about 6 minutes and sprinkle more sea salt over the cookies. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
Enjoy with a hot cuppa and Trainspotting.