Bannocks Recipe

Robin Bellinger

Having just finished Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle, I was particularly susceptible to the allure of British food last week, so I picked up Marion Cunningham's charming The Breakfast Book. The concept of bannocks proved irresistible; these oatcakes come from Scotland and northern England, according to Cunningham, and were originally cooked on a griddle.

In practice, my tasters wished the bannocks were a bit sweeter, and we ended up using the homely little treats mainly as vehicles for clotted cream and strawberry preserves. I did enjoy the simple oat and butter flavors, though, and might make these again with a tablespoon or two of brown sugar in the batter. Cunningham says you could also add a cup of grated cheddar after rubbing in the butter.


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

  2. In a mixing bowl, toss the oats, flour, and salt together with a fork. Cut the cold butter into small pieces, toss it into the flour mixture, and rub it in until coarse bits form. Stir in the water until all the flour is absorbed.

  3. Gather the rough dough together and put it on a board lightly dusted with oat flour. Knead about 6 times. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a circle about 1/4 inch thick. (I patted the dough out right on my parchment-lined baking sheet since I feared they would stick to my work surface.) Cut each circle into 4 wedges and arrange the wedges 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake about 20 minutes or until lightly colored.