Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oatmeal Shortbread

When I was a junior in college, I spent a semester abroad in London. I have many incredible memories from that time, among them, the digestive biscuits that I consumed with great gusto. There were many varieties I enjoyed, but one of my favorites was a thin, unassuming oaty biscuit that was somewhere between a cookie and a cracker - might they be called Hob Nobs? - that was barely sweet, and had a wonderful nubby, crumbly texture. With the first bite I took of this shortbread, I immediately thought of those lovely cookies.

This is unlike any other shortbread I've ever had. Usually characterized by its buttery melt-in-your-mouth texture, this version is less refined and a little more homey in its appearance, but it loses nothing in flavor. It is actually very similar to the Sbrisolona I made a few months ago in many respects despite the fact that it contains no nuts - the signature of Sbrisolona. The oats add a fantastic flakiness to the shortbread, making it at the same time light, soft, crispy and crumbly.

I love the fact that there is so little sugar in this recipe, as I'm quite fond of desserts that are subtly sweet. My little ones haven't tasted it yet, but I feel sure they'll approve.

Oatmeal Shortbread
adapted from Pastry Studio

1 cup white wheat flour
1/2 cup whole rolled oats + some for dusting
1/3 cup palm sugar + some for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into several chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325. Butter an 8" spring-form cake pan or tart pan. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, oats, palm sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to combine. Add butter and vanilla and process until dough forms a ball. Press dough evenly in prepared pan, and sprinkle with a light layer of oats and palm sugar. Bake for about an hour, or until shortbread has taken on a deep golden color. Let cool on rack for 10 minutes, then remove sides of pan, and cut shortbread with a sharp knife while still warm.


  1. Digestives. I still love them and gladly pay the outrageous prices in specialty stores - once in a great while. Wish I had a friend in UK to send them to me.

    And, yes, HobNobs were what you are thinking of.

    These look/sound delicious. Have to try this one soon.

  2. What a wonderful creation! I wish I could sink my teeth right into that bottom picture. YUM

  3. Mmmmm, I love all things oatmeal. Your shortbread looks fabulous! I can't wait to try this recipe.

  4. I love the simplicity of this. Looks delicious!

  5. Too funny! I just made some Nova Scotia oat cakes that seem similar, but a bit less sweet. They were from Canadian Living's online archive. I will try these ones too, though.

  6. I love how rustic these look- they look incredible and sound amazing!

  7. Yum! These sound very yummy and I love the way that they look. I am not sure how I have never looked at your fabulous blog- you take great pictures and I can't wait to try some of your yummy creations.


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