The mention of flapjacks and almost everyone thinks of pancakes. That’s probably because we’ve become so familiar with American culture that we don’t realise that people who grew up in the UK refer to a completely different dish.
The flapjacks in the UK is known as granola bars in the US, and is usually made with just oats, butter, brown sugar and syrup. Many variations may include nuts, dried fruits, and chocolate chips and may be coated with melted chocolate, yoghurt or caramel.
The texture may range from soft and moist to dry and crisp, and because of the high fat and sugar content, some supermarket flapjack or granola bars may claim to be low fat or low sugar.
I got this recipe from a church friend who has made it many times. Here’s a shout out to Rohan Selva who initiated my dabble into this dish. He has been experimenting on bars with less sugar, but the problem with reducing the sugar content is that you are also reducing the glue for the ingredients to stick together.
One of the ways that Rohan keep the bars together is to blitz all the dry ingredients in a food processor. That way, the sugar will have a chance to combine with the grains and form a block that can be cut.
However, if like me, you prefer a bit of bite in your flapjack, then do not grind the rolled oats or porridge oats. I’ve used organic whole-grain rolled oats before and I find that the sugar does not stick very well to the bran around the grains of oats. Coarsely chopped nuts, and whole seeds and fruits should also be stirred into the melted sugar first so that the coating will help adhere them to the oats.
This recipe is essential gluten-free, but if you do not want your flapjack to be too crunchy, you can add up to two tablespoons of self-raising flour into the mixture to soften the flapjacks. That, however, will introduce gluten into the flapjacks but will be less crunchy.
Try not to reduce any more sugar than what this recipe indicates or the bars will simply fall apart. And if all else fails, at least you have a fresh batch of nice and crunchy confectionery that you can use as a breakfast muesli with cold milk. That’s how my wife consumed all my failed attempts at making solid granola bars aka flapjacks.
- 90g golden syrup, molasses or honey
- 90g brown sugar
- 125g unsalted butter
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup almond nibs, or any chopped nuts
- ½ cup dried cranberries or any dried fruits, chopped
- ½ cup ground almonds
- 250g rolled oats
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- ¼ tsp nutmeg powder
- ¼ tsp salt to taste
- Line a shallow 20 x 30-cm cake tray with baking paper.
- Combine the syrup, sugar and butter in a saucepan and heat gently until the ingredients meld together in a light simmer.
- Add pumpkin seeds, almond nibs and chopped fruits, and stir until completely coated with the melted sugars. Stir in ground almonds, oats and seasoning and mix well.
- Transfer into the prepared tray and smooth the surface with a spatula, then compact them with a flat baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 160°C for about 30 minutes.
- Leave to cool in the tray for about 5 minutes. Then transfer on to a cutting board and mark into 18 to 24 bars. Leave to cool completely for about an hour, then cut along the marked lines. Store in an airtight container to keep them crispy for about one week.