Flapjack - yum! Very easy to make, four ingredients, and only 30 minutes from start to finish. When you want something sweet with your afternoon tea, this hits the spot.
Flapjack came to mind the other day when I got home after a hard day's shopping. I thought I'd like something nice with a cup of tea but I didn't want to spend long cooking, so I thought of flapjack.
It only takes half an hour from thought to plate and uses ingredients I keep in the cupboard.
Finding the right Flapjack recipe
Unfortunately, I couldn't find my recipe. I dug up a few recipes from my cookbooks and found a vast difference between the amounts of butter and sugar they used. I tried a couple of recipes but they weren't right.
By then I had become rather focused on finding the ultimate flapjack recipe, so I went to the mother source - my mum's recipe book. (Fortunately, I've scanned all her handwritten recipes.) Eventually, I came across the ultimate, traditional flapjack recipe.
Key Ingredients in Flapjack
Butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and oats are almost all you need.
I only use butter for cooking for two reasons - the flavour is better and I know what's in it. I often buy a cheaper brand to cook with and I keep loads of it in the freezer.
Soft Brown Sugar
Dark or light - it doesn't matter. Dark has a stronger flavour but you don't really notice it.
Having a sweet tooth, I love golden syrup. Try it on oats with milk for breakfast! Although it's more of a comfort food than a good breakfast, I have to say - and I don't have it every day.
Most recipes measure golden syrup in tablespoons which is okay but the amount can usually vary a bit. I've put the weight in as well in case you like to be sure, but a bit more or less isn't going to ruin your Flapjack.
The best way to weigh golden syrup is to put the tin on the scales and zero them. Then you will see the weight that you take out as a negative/minus number. Bear in mind that some sticks to the spoon, so use the spoon that you'll use for mixing.
Rolled oats are what you need for Flapjack. Not jumbo oats, not oatmeal, and not instant oats.
Salt and Ginger
Salt is a wonderful thing. Adding a good pinch to a sweet recipe, that might otherwise be a little bland, enhances the flavour - so don't leave it out.
A good pinch (or more) of ginger powder is my secret ingredient. Again, it adds a little flavour - but you can't taste ginger. It's just definitely better with than without it.
Secrets of Success
Soft and chewy, or crunchy Flapjack?
My Mum likes her flapjack quite biscuity and crispy, whereas I prefer a soft flapjack. Fortunately, this is easy to sort as the difference is only in the cooking time. 20 minutes for a softer finish. Add 5 minutes for the crunch.
The first couple of times you make Flapjack, note the cooking time and see whether you want a crunchier biscuit - longer time - or softer - shorter time.
How do you make this gluten-free?
None of the ingredients contain gluten, but if you're cooking for a coeliac, make sure the oats say they are gluten-free as they're often packed in a factory where gluten products are around.
What else do you need to make Flapjack?
- 20cm square traybake tin - Perfect for most small traybakes. I use this tin a lot!
- Lining the tin with a baking parchment square makes it easy to remove the flapjack. Or if you use the tin a lot, try using a piece of magic liner, cut to fit, which is washable. Keep it in the tin so you know where to find it!
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- 165 g butter
- 125 g soft brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup (60g)
- 250 g rolled porridge oats, (not jumbo oats)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch ginger
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 180°C fan/ gas mark 6/ 400°F
- Grease the baking tin and line the bottom with a square of baking parchment
For the flapjack:
- Weigh the butter, sugar and syrup into a large saucepan
- Heat the mixture on a low heat, stirring often, until the butter is melted
- Remove from the heat and stir in the oats, salt and ginger
- Turn the mixture into the prepared baking tray. Spread evenly and firm down with the back of a spoon
- Cook for about 20 minutes until a light golden colour for a soft flapjack. Give it a bit longer if you prefer your flapjack slightly crisper
- Run a palette knife around the edge of the tin then, after 5 minutes, mark the flapjack into bars or squares
- Leave in the tin until almost cold, then cut into pieces.
- Don't be tempted to leave out the ginger. It adds flavour without being 'gingery'
- I like to cut this into different sized pieces to cater for different appetites
- Cherry - add 75g quartered glace cherries
- Raisin - add 100g raisins. Replace the golden syrup with honey