Crunchies – Recipe No. 195

How simple and so very delicious is this authentic wartime recipe. They were so easy and quick to make and would cope with the addition of sultanas or aromatic spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg or black market chocolate chunks.

I haven’t baked biscuits or cakes for quite some time, simply because I have a rather uncontrollable sweet tooth but with porridge oats being one of the main ingredients, I convinced myself that these were “good for me”. Three biscuits later (had to taste test!) I can comfortably say these are wonderfully comforting and one or two won’t do you too much harm!


  • 5 oz plain white flour
  • 4 oz porridge oats (I used regular porridge)
  • 2 oz sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 oz lard
  • 2 oz butter or margarine (I used 4 oz of Flora plant based butter instead of lard and butter)
  • 2 oz golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I didn’t have any and it still tasted great)
  1. Cream the fats, sugar, syrup and vanilla essence together until well mixed.
  2. Add the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms.
  3. You can then divide mixture into 12 balls and press them onto the lined baking tray until they form round discs about 1 cm thick or you can flour a board, roll out the dough and cut out the biscuits.
  4. Bake at 180 c for about 20 minutes or so until golden brown on the edges.
  5. Remove from oven. Leave to cool on tray for 10 minutes then transfer to wire rack and leave to fully cool.

Makes 12 large biscuits, or 18 smaller ones.

You can listen to this recipe on Spotify:

34 thoughts on “Crunchies – Recipe No. 195

  1. These look and sound amazing – and reminiscent of biscuits from my paternal grandmother in the early 60s!

    Kudos on your photography, and omg your sideboard is evocative!!

    Well done!! And thank you for sharing!

  2. A great sounding recipe, so here’s a no flour recipe for these trying times.

    This one is called Quaker Oat Biscuits from “Bakes, Buns & Biscuits” (1940) by Mabel Osborne and omits flour – handy when it’s unavailable or in short supply..
    6oz butter
    2 oz brown sugar
    3 tbl syrup
    12 oz oatmeal
    1 tsp ground cinnamon
    Melt butter, sugar & syrup together add the cinnamon & work in the oats. press into trays to about 1/4″ thickness & bake at 3-4 Gas for 30 – 40 mins. While warm cut into fingers and allow to cool before removing from the tray.

  3. Sounds very like Flapjacks, Also if you can find flour, and substitute Ginger for Cinnamon, you can make Gingernut biscuits.
    Love the name – I am looking forward to getting my copy of Go Tell The Bees That I am Gone, Book 9 of the Outlander Series. Less than a month mow.

    • ooooo now there’s an idea!!! Love some Ginger biscuits! PS: I MUST get around to reading the Outlander series, I know I’ve been saying that for years but every time you talk about it I think I NEED TO! C x

      • Re the Outlander novel series by Diana Gabaldon. Please do read them in order. The first is ‘Cross Stitch’ (or ‘Outlander’ in the US) followed by ‘Dragonfly in Amber’, and they are the best 2 of the series. Atmospheric, fun, scary, soppy & tragic in equal measure. And, considering the author had not visited Scotland pre-writing, it does show that she did her homework. The TV series is good, very good, but it does tamper with details & characters, especially so in the later seasons.

      • As we are talking treats here is a no cook childhood favourite from Scotland using a Mars Bar.

        1 65g (large) Mars bar, chilled & roughly grated
        30g salted butter
        1 heaped cup of broken cereal (cornflakes, rice crispies, wheetabix, etc)
        80g good chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa butter is best
        10g salted butter
        Combine the butter and the chopped Mars bar pieces in a microwaveable bowl and melt on a medium heat. Do not overheat. Stir in the cereal until they are well covered by the mixture. If the mixture becomes too hard when you stir in the cereal, put back in the microwave for a few seconds. Line a 9″ (23cm) square tin with grease proof paper and either spoon into balls or spread the mixture evenly into the tin until cold
        For the topping
        Melt the butter and all the chocolate in a microwaveable bowl on a medium heat and either 1/2 coat or dip balls into mixture or spread over the mixture in the tin.
        Do not overheat the chocolate. If you do, add two or three drops of cooking oil and beat with a spoon until it has smoothed out again. Spread over the cooled cereal mixture.

  4. Talking of Flapjacks – here is the simplest recipe for them, again flour free & from Mabel Osborne’s “Bakes, Buns & Biscuits” (1940), she calls it “Mrs Grant’s Flapjacks.”
    12oz oats
    8oz butter
    6oz brown sugar
    Melt the butter & sugar in a pan, remove from the heat then stir in the oats. Press into trays to about 1/4″ thickness & bake at Gas 4 for 30 mins. While warm cut into fingers and allow to cool before removing from the tray.

    Alternatively & flour free & from the same book are “Cornflake Flapjack’s.”
    12oz cornflakes
    8oz butter
    4oz brown sugar
    1 dessert spoon of golden syrup
    2 level tsp ground ginger
    Melt the butter & sugar in a large pan, add the syrup & ginger then stir in the cornflakes. Press into trays to about 1/4″ thickness & bake at Gas 2 for 1 hour. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, cut into squares but leave the tray till cold.
    Variation on this recipe:
    You can replace the 12oz cornflakes with a 1/2 & 1/2 cornflakes & oats for variety.

    • OMGosh! These sound wonderful! I’m having my lunch break at work and thought I’d quickly pop on and catch up as when I get in from work, and made dinner, and done some chores I’m in bed gonking! Thanks so much for sharing! xxx

  5. Re-Re Outlander:
    I read The Fiery Cross first (Book 5), completely accidentally. I was thoroughly enjoying it until one part where one protagonist started whistling a Beatles song. This made me take a double take, as this was the first notion that there was a background story I had no knowledge of.
    I have now read everything by Diana Gabaldon, apart from her second Companion book (oh, and her scientific papers as she has a Phd in Marine Biology). I subscribe and have corresponded with her from within her Daily Lines FB group, The genre of her books is difficult to place – generally Historical Romance, but with an element of SF. By far my favourite novelist.

    If we have a new boat made for ourselves my wife wants it to be called Sassennach. and I’ll have subtle images of Clare, Jamie and the rest, painted on the tumblehome.

    • Hi apaulsavage, re D Gabaldon’s Outlander novels. I was introduced to the series (loaned in order) by a work colleague (called Amber !) but I have my own set now. I do love the main series novels but I find some of the novella’s or short stories that fill in the gaps very entertaining. “The Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” filling in Roger’s story & “The Scottish Prisoner” was exceptional as it’s alongside “Voyager” in Outlander years. What we need is more on what Frank was doing in the ‘Voyager’ years as hints to his detective work on Claire’s history keep popping up. I look forward to reading “Bees”.

      I don’t have a copy of the Cook Book but I doubt there’s anything new to me in it as I have a mountain of Scottish & British cook books to reference.

      As to the name of your boat wouldn’t “Mal-de-mer” be more appropriate for Jamie ?

      • I do like the name suggestion, but my boat won’t be seagoing. It will be a narrow boat suitable for cruising the inland waterways of England and Wales. If, and it will be a big “if” the new boat will be 57ft long and 6ft 10 inches wide. The “if” is because a new boat costs upwards of £100k. As there will only be my wife and I generally cruising on it, our current boat may be suitable. She is 45ft long. We will have her stripped out and converted to suit our needs. Our current boat is called Adreva.

        I do know of a couple of people who get sea sick on a narrowboat, but I actually feel squiffy when ashore, after a couple of weeks aboard. I find I am swaying on solid ground.

      • Hi apaulsavage, re ‘Mal-de-mer’ as a name for your narrow boat. The name still stands as poor Jamie would puke in anything on the water !!! Maybe Leoch, McKenzie, Fraser, Lallybroch, Ellen or Jolly Roger might be better – yo ho ho !

        Regardless of a name for your new vessel are you aware of the meaning of the name of your present one ? Search for Meaning of Adreva, quote: “An antiviral agent effective against activity viruses with a lipid envelope, including herpes simplex virus; used topically in the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis.” unquote. What on earth made you choose that name ??? As for your land based sqiffyiness, try serving it with more water ! incidentally, your photo – Henry the 8th – a hero of yours ?

      • Morning Outlander,
        Re Adreva, Yes I did find this, after the fact. When we bought our current boat in 2005 it was called Eastcat, which stood for Eastford Catering. This was the company name for the previous owners, and meant nothing to us. My wife Wendy and 3 children Martin, Natalie & Oliver and myself all tried to come up with a new name for her. We tried amalgamating our names to see if anything pretty came up – no, We tried puns, again no. We kept coming back to the fact that it was a dream of ours to one day own a narrowboat. 18 months before getting the boat my Grandma had died, and we decided that it would be nice to incorporate her name in the name of the boat. my Wife was my Grandmas carer for the final 15 years, with her last 5 living with us. My Grandma was a huge influence on us all – she was known as Grandma to everyone, neighbours, friends children. Her dream was also for us to one day have a boat, as she loved coming on boats we hired, sitting on the front knitting away and chatting to everyone. Her name was Eva. The boats name is a shortened A DReam for EVA (ADREVA), after all our deliberations this is the name that kept coming back. If you look on my FB site my background picture shows the boat out of the water as its bottom is being blacked. The name is painted on in CelticCMD font.

        My Henry VIII outfit was made by my wife, for a company do. I am somewhat eccentric, and for this bi annual outing dressed this way. Everyone else was dressed normally, apart from one other guy who came dressed as a vicar! We had a fun night in Chester finishing off in a packed cocktail bar. At one point I came out of the loo and as going back to my group went past an inebriated man looking at me then eyeing his drink, thinking “OK!! I have drunk enough as I have just seen Henry VIII walking through the bar”
        My wife has made me various other outfits as well, including Adam Ants Prince Charming, and a 18th century chap. She is in the process of making me a Scottish 18th century Jacobite (Jamie) outfit. My wife is a time served tailor and seamstress (and all round good egg).

        Did you know the best way to prevent sea sickness is to sit under a tree?

      • Hi apaulsavage

        Sage words, but how do you get the tree in the boat ??? I’m not on FB & don’t use it at all. I envy your wife’s gift, I dress make but I’m no tailor & I do hope it’s a full great kilt outfit she is making, how about her outfit ?

      • Exactly, If you sit under a tree, you are not on the water – ergo, no sea sickness.
        The outlander outfit is a full Jamie outfit (Wedding style). My wife is quite happy to make them for me, but hasn’t any of her own. In fact she won’t come out with me if I dress in costume, Apart from at New Years, where for 90 + years our family has had parties.
        Maybe this next year though, I belong to a cruaising club on the Bridgewater canal. All the other clubs on the canal have got together and put on an annual rally. Each club in turn. The rally has a theme, and this next years (2020!!) theme is Television programmes. I think she is going to attempt to make herself an 18th century ballgown a-la Dragonfly in Amber Paris outfit, her Claire to my Jamie.

      • Hi apaulsavage
        Your wife is a brave woman to try for the Paris ballgown, not the sewing but the wearing !, cosplay can be fun though, so good luck with the Outlander outfits.

  6. If you add a little unsweetened desiccated coconut to this recipe you end up with a cookie that is very much like an ANZAC biscuit (which was a WW! recipe in Australia and New Zealand

    Calling an Anzac biscuit a “cookie” is officially regarded as un-Australian and could even earn a fine from the Federal Government if used to market goods.

    Starting off its life as an army biscuit sent by Australians to support their loved ones fighting in Europe and the Middle East during World War I, the Anzac biscuit is protected by strict rules.

    The use of the American word “cookie” creeping into the language is officially frowned upon according to Federal Department of Veterans Affairs guidelines.

    An ABC News presenter was even moved to apologise for calling them cookies on air on Saturday morning, saying her use of the word “is a great sin, and I repent”

    The word Anzac, which stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps that served in World War I, is a protected word which cannot just be used by anyone.

    As published by the Department of Veterans Affairs


    2 tablespoons butter or margarine

    2 tablespoons golden syrup

    1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water

    1 cup rolled oats

    1 cup desiccated coconut

    3/4 cup brown sugar

    3/4 cup plain flour


    Heat oven to 160°C.

    Melt butter (or margarine) and syrup.

    Add dissolved bicarbonate of soda and water.

    Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, add the liquid mixture and stir.

    Place small balls of the mixture (about 1 teaspoon) onto a greased tray.

    Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly brown.

    Lift biscuits onto a cake cooling rack and wait for them to cool.

    • Hi Maureen
      I have been informed that the difference between a European biscuit (hot bake for crisp) & a US cookie (moderate heat for a short period for chewy.) is just that, texture or mouth feel due to oven temperature & timing. Either is fine for me please but as chocolate Anzac’s – yummy ! I am also partial to any biscuit or cookie with oats, such as Hob Nobs so here is my recipe.
      Hob Nobs
      75g butter or margarine
      75g Caster Sugar
      1/2 tbl Golden Syrup
      75g Wholemeal Flour
      150g Oats
      1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
      Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan & line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat together the butter & sugar until light and fluffy then add syrup & mix well. Combine the flour, oats & bicarbonate of soda in a separate bowl. Add to the wet mixture to the bowl mixture a bit at a time, mixing well to incorporate all the ingredients together. It should be crumbly at this stage. Place a spoonfuls onto the sheets and compress down with a fork. Repeat until mixture is all used up. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheets.

  7. Banning words from a language is rarely effective, the French have been trying for years to replace anglicised phrases without much success. The word cookie sounds rather babyish to my ears so I don’t use it. But that does not stop me eating them. The Crunchies look pretty moorish, I don’t think they would stay in tin long enough to bother putting them in!

  8. Ooooo I have enjoyed reading all the comments this morning from costuming to recipes! Going to try my hand at cinder toffee again. I’ve tried it several times but never suceeded, will try one more time (keep saying that). The recipe is often in ww2 cook books.Have a great Sunday everyone, now I’m feeling almost back to normal today have a lot of chores to crack on with before baking and art and prep for a 4 day training course starting tomorrow. C xxxx

    • Hi Carolyn, here is a foolproof recipe from my Scottish granny where it’s called ‘Puff Candy’ & is quite often part dipped or drizzled with chocolate. My Geordie partner (Keith) calls it ‘Cinder Toffee’ too, but in NZ it’s called ‘Hokey Pokey’ & an American friend calls it coal when it’s chocolate coated.
      250g of Caster Sugar, lump free
      125 mls of Golden Syrup
      3 tsps of Bicarbonate of Soda, lump free
      Remember the speed is the key ! First prepare a metal tray with a non stick liner. In a large high sided pot warm the syrup then dissolve the sugar into it stirring to mix then leave alone. Simmer gently until just golden which is 150c, takes up to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat throw in the bicarbonate of soda & stir quickly & thoughtful – I use a long handles whisk, pre warmed in hot water. The mixture will erupt ! Pour into your prepared tray & allow to set, then smash & store in an air tight container.

      • Yes 🙂 that is the one I have found in WW2 recipe books too but alas not fail safe with me. I am determined to succeed as it sounds and looks so nice xxxx

      • If you just remember that speed is important & do use caster sugar, honestly, you can’t go wrong. Get everything laid out, ready to go then all will be well. Be brave !

  9. I have made these biscuits now and they were absolutely lovely. I will definitely be making them again. I think I might have to make some of the lovely sounding recipes up above too : )

  10. I have just baked my 10th batch. Tried black treacle and honey instead of syrup, with ginger or cinnamon or both. They would be dangerous except that they have no calories if eaten standing up and or smiling. (Some people will believe anything. )
    Best wishes for Christmas and New Year Carolyn. Your ‘life saga’ is inspiring and fascinating.

  11. Your crunchies look very much like American oatmeal cookies and the only thing they are missing is the raisins, dash of nutmeg, and a teaspoon of cinnamon. We don’t have golden syrup in this country. I’m guessing the closest thing would be honey?

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