I can’t bake. I can’t really cook, but I definitely can’t bake. I cut too many corners and get ‘creative’ at precisely the wrong moment. Also I have a tendency to ignore the beeper on the oven if my TV programme is getting to a good bit. On the other hand, I am a very accomplished in the art of accidental incineration.
Then my husband arrived home with a welcome-pack from Flahavans – every oaty treat from their extensive range you could imagine. Delivered on the fourth week of a five week month it was like a Christmas Hamper to the family of Tiny Tim Cratchit. It didn’t matter what was in it, we were going to find a way of eating it.
The flapjacks (because they are basically biscuits) and the microwavable porridge (because the arrival coincided with a health kick) were quickly consumed, but we had no idea what to do with the other stuff, until I noticed that we had also been supplied with a tiny cook book by the fabulous Mary Flahavan. A quick flick through and without debate we decided some sweet treats would be the best use of our ingredients. We settled on Oat Biscuits.
Also in the spirit of national solidarity, I decided to make these with all Irish products.
- 275g Flahavans Progress Oatlets
- 250g Kerrygold Butter (Mary called for 225g, but the block comes in 250g so I just threw the lot in. Waste not, want not. And you can never have too much butter.)
- 100g Odlums Plain Flour
- 150g Tesco’s Castor Sugar
- 1/2 tsp Tesco’s Bicarbonate Soda
1. Preheat oven to 180oC
2. Blend oats in food processor until they are fine.
After getting a little advice from my friend Sue Turley on how to get my food processor to work I was on the road again.
3. Add remaining ingredients and blend again until dough comes together.
Now Mary must have a MUCH bigger food processor than I have because I had to split my mixture into thirds and blend it that way, but I think the result was close enough.
‘Comes together’ is also something that threw me. I was expecting a dough, like you have when you make scones, but this was more like half-dry putty; it stuck together but was a bit crumbly.
4. Cut into shapes with cutters (or a glass) and place on baking tray. No need to line or grease tray.
Again, with hindsight I noticed that Mary intended to make 40 biscuits with this recipe. I didn’t know this at the time and set about making the usual 12, but the mixture kept on going so in the end I made about 20.
The first 12 I put too close together on the baking tray and they began to merge together into one massive biscuit. I noticed this about 10 min into the cooking time and took out 6 biscuits and cooked the reminder for another 10 min and then but the 6 back in for 10 min. They turned out fine, but this recipe really spreads so leave plenty of space.
5. Bake in oven for 15-20 min until pale golden in colour and slightly firm.
6. Remove from oven and leave to cool on wire rack where they will harden into biscuits.
And there you have it – homemade treats that don’t cost the earth, and a way of using oats other than force feeding the whole family porridge for the month. What would we have done without Mary’s cookbook? If they very reinstate the Calor Gas Housewife of the Year Competition I think Mary would win unopposed for as long as she was willing to turn up!