Shortbread Oatcakes

Gung Hee Fat Choy! Today marks the beginnning of two weeks of celebrating the Year of the Horse.

I whipped up some tasty oatcakes, in line with the horse theme.

They are a little richer than a regular oatmeal cookie, but this is a celebration time!

Oatcake dough in muffin top pan

Just oats, flour, butter, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Mix them all together and pat into muffin top pans. You could also scoop out 1/4 c. portions and hand shape them into round cookies. I like the muffin top pans though, because they give the oatcakes a nice even look on the sides. The nice round shape also represents unity.
Shortbread Oatcakes, plain and w/apples

Left: Plain Shortbread Oatcakes; Middle and Right: Shortbread Apple Oatcakes

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-18 minutes, until lightly golden.

You can even add in some shredded fresh apple into the dough for an apple oatcake. The batter will seem very wet, but no additional flour is needed before it is baked. These are more perishable and any leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator. If you’re going to give the oatcakes away, I’d stick with the plain ones and save the apple ones for home.

Tracing and cutting circles from li see envelopes
A fun way to decorate the oatcakes is to use the pictures from some of the beautifully printed Li See (Red/Lucky Money) envelopes, which you can purchase at many Asian supermarkets.

Trace a circle, the approximate size of your oatcake, over the desired design on the li see envelope. I just traced around the bottom of a water goblet I had.
Trimming off top of circle

Cut out the circle. Trim the cut out picture according to your aesthetic.

I cut off the top portion of my circle because some of the Chinese characters from “Happy New Year” were cut off, and it bugged me to have only part of the words. The top left part of the circle looked messy too, so off it went.
Wrapping shortbread oatcakes
Wrap each oatcake in foil, preferrably red or gold colors for good luck. Stay away from black or white colors, which usually represent death.

I happened to have 6″ x 6″ red foil squares on hand that are used for candy wrapping.

You could also use plain red or gold wrapping paper. Mylar giftwrap would be soft and easy for wrapping too. Just wrap the oatcakes in plastic wrap first, then the wrapping paper, taping the back closed.
Wrapped shortbread oatcakes

Attach a cut-out design using double sided tape, on top of each wrapped oatcake.

Place the design on either the smooth side or the pleated side.
Wrapped shortbread oatcakes, angled close up

This is an easy recipe to do by yourself or with kids. The last lunar horse year (12 years ago), my little ones were just beginning preschool. They loved to getting their hands into the dough and helping to mix it up. Back then, we made them into smaller cookies. They each got to take a plastic tubful with a My Little Pony picture taped on the lid to share with their preschool classes.

Now they mostly “help out” by eating oatcakes. 😉

Stack of Shortbread Oatcakes wrapped and tied with Year of the Horse Tag

Package up a stack of oatcakes to give as a gift.

Finish by attaching a Year of the Horse Tag, also made from a Li See envelope.
Wrapped shortbread oatcakes in Chinese Candy Box

I’ll be keeping a stash of these in my Chinese Candy Box this year.

Wishing you a most prosperous new year!

Shortbread Oatcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12
  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 c. quick oats (or 1-1/2 c. quick oats + ½ c. rolled oats)
  • 1 c. unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Use clean hands to mix until well combined.
  3. Place ~1/4 c. dough into 12 muffin top pan cavities. Press the dough down evenly in each cavity.
  4. Bake 15 - 18 minutes until lightly golden and just done. Cool for10 minutes, then unmold oatcakes.
  5. Variation: Apple Oatcakes: Add 2 c. shredded fresh unpeeled apple to the dough. Add another 6-7 minutes to the baking time, baking until done. Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.