And no, I don’t mean what some Americans mean by flapjacks, which is apparently some kind of pancake. I mean proper, oaty, sweet things that are sinfulness itself masquerading as health food. They’re better for afternoon tea than scones with jam and cream, and even at Harvey’s strict school pass the ‘healthy’ test to be allowed into lunch boxes (no cakes or biscuits allowed).
My husband and son are addicted to them, and I’ve never yet had a complaint when I’ve made them, unless you count people worrying about the effect they’ll have on their waistline. The only reason I don’t get even fatter than I am is because I can’t eat them without making myself ill: I can’t even eat gluten-free oats, so these are definitely off the menu until I start work on an oat- and gluten-free flapjack… and develop the willpower not to scoff the resulting treats in one sitting!
If there’s one thing I particularly like about flapjacks, it’s their versatility. My son, Harvey, prefers them with Callebaut chocolate flakes sprinkled over the top before baking. I used to love them with dried blueberries and lemon zest added in place of the sultanas/raisins. And I have two trays in the oven baking – one with chocolate flakes and one without.
Here is my fail-safe recipe for flapjacks. I hope you like them.
- 350g porridge oats
- 50g jumbo oats (optional – add 30g more normal oats if not using)
- 230g butter
- 230g demerara sugar (soft brown also works fine)
- 2 good tbsps golden (corn) syrup
- 100g sultanas/raisins
Preheat the oven to 180C and lightly grease a shallow baking tray measuring approx 33cm x 25cm. If you have a teflon baking tray liner, use that instead as it will be much easier to get the flapjacks out at the end. Place the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan and place over a low heat. While you wait for them to melt, weigh both types of oats into a large heatproof bowl, add the sultanas and mix well together.
Check the saucepan with the butter and sugar mixture. Stir it regularly until everything has melted and the whole thing feels much less ‘gritty’ from the sugar granules – usually the ideal point is when the mixture has started simmering gently round the edge.
Pour the butter/sugar/syrup mix into the oats and stir thoroughly together until all the oats and sultanas are lightly coated. Empty the mixture onto the baking tray and spread evenly, pressing into place with the back of a spoon.
Put the tray in the oven and bake for 9-10 minutes, or until the mixture is molten and turning a golden brown colour. You can adjust this to suit your taste: my family like their flapjack quite chewy, but you can give it an extra minute or so if you want it to be a little crisper.
Let the flapjacks cool for a couple of minutes and absorb the liquid before dividing them into portions with a plastic knife: this is much easier done now than when they’ve had a chance to cool. Let them cool for 8-10 minutes more before removing from the pan. If you leave it too long and the flapjacks have started to weld themselves to your baking tray (some of my older non-stick trays have a tendency to errr stick), pop them back into a pre-heated oven for half a minute or so and you should be able to get them out.
And finally… put the kettle on for a cuppa, put your feet up and enjoy!
The finished product should look something like this…