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Yarn Yard Oatie Biscuits

Yarn Yard Oatie Biscuits

Oat Biscuits.

I suppose this is the time to have the biscuit/cookie discussion. To me a biscuit is a hard thing. It doesn't crumble in your hand. It won't disintegrate when dunked into a mug of tea, at least not immediately, and it can survive a school lunch-box without needing to be encased in bubble wrap. A cookie, to my mind is a much softer affair, slightly chewy, almost bending if you try to break a piece off and not lunch-box friendly at all.

What follows is a Natalie-Recipe. It is a Work In Progress. It will evolve from batch to batch. Your results are unlikely to be the same as mine.

2 ounces Golden Syrup (50g)

5 ounces Butter. (125g) Proper Butter. Not spreadable-from-the-fridge stuff. Not Margarine. Economy supermarket is fine. I use salted butter because it's the least expensive.

4 ounces sugar. (100g) You are going to melt it so granulated is fine. Brown will work but I'd try standard tooth-rotting-white for the first batch. Playing comes later.

3 ounces Porage Oats. (75g) For the biscuits above I used economy oats from the supermarket. Oats vary. Jumbo whole-food shop oats behave quite differently and "healthy" oats-with-bran are different again. It doesn't matter what you start with, use whatever is in the cupboard, but remember that if you change over to some other kind, the biscuits will be different next time.

2 ounces coconut (50g) This is entirely optional. There is none in the biscuits in the photo for example. See notes later.

4 ounces Self Raising Flour (100g).

1 HEAPED teaspoon Baking Powder.

If you only have Plain Flour, add an extra heaped tsp Baking Powder. Again, this is economy flour, if you want to use wholemeal, save it for the next batch.

Put syrup, butter and sugar in a saucepan.

Melt. Remove from heat.

Add everything else. Stir lots.

That was easy wasn't it?

Now comes the interesting bit. You are not looking for sloppy mixture. It needs to be thick. The sort of mixture you can pick up with your fingers (watch out, it will be HOT) and roll into balls which are not as big as a golf ball. Your fingers will be greasy from the butter. You should be able to roll it in your palms without it sticking to them.

To achieve this I add "slurps" of extra flour and extra Oats in roughly equal measure. If I use coconut in the recipe, I need to add less additional dry ingredients. Coconut is quite absorbent so you do have to play about with this. Because I don't know about your flour and your oats I can't be specific about what sort of quantities you'll need. This is a method, not an exact science.

Put the balls, slightly flattened, onto greased baking sheet and bake. Now I put these in the top oven (very hot) of the Aga for about ten minutes. The Aga has solid cast iron doors so I open the door after about ten minutes to see what's happening, and then every couple of minutes to check. If you have a window in your oven door you'll be fine. The original recipe said 20 minutes at Gas Mark 3, but I have never ever cooked them at such a low temperature. I'd go for about Gas 6 BUT KEEP CHECKING THEM. And if someone can tell me what that is in centigrade, it would help a lot!

You are aiming for something golden brown. Not Ginger Nut brown. Not Blonde. This quantity makes about 24 biscuits. I make double (!).

Variations... I haven't found much success with adding dried fruit.
Small seeds like sesame seem okay.
A tablespoon of Peanut Butter is quite good, add to the melting stage with the syrup and be prepared to add extra flour/oats to make up for the extra gloop.
Honey is dreadful, it just seems to burn, but you may have more luck than me with it.
Wholemeal flour will work, but really, - why? These are biscuits, not health bars.
Spices like cinnamon are possible, but Fegrig doesn't like them so I don't use them here.

My recipe is hand written in pencil in the back of a much used cookery book and says "35p per batch (1985)" in the margin. I was a bit obsessive, even then! It's probably about 50p now if you use economy ingredients.

A couple of warnings. They are very more-ish. The mixture is hot, and might not be good for kid cooking, unless you use a teaspoon to make the dollops or allow it to cool a little first.
If you make a double batch the mixture will start to cook in it's own heat in the pan unless you have a massive oven, so it's a good idea to get it all balled-up (and flattened a bit) at once at the beginning if you are only doing a tray of 12 at a time.

These are Designer Biscuits. You are the designer. Make them, and then make them your own!