I’m not usually a fan of flapjacks. Generally I think they’re a waste of calories. They look deceptively healthy and yet they’re usually full of fat and if I’m going to eat something like that I’d rather it involved chocolate.
However, the last time I was at home visiting my parents, my mum was making her flapjacks, or as she calls them, ‘energy bars’. She bakes a batch before she goes golfing with her friends and they snack on them around the course to keep their energy levels up. The smell when they came out of the oven was heavenly, so I tried a corner of one while it was cooling. Then another little corner, then another, until I’d demolished 3 full squares. Worryingly, this stuff is quite addictive.
They’re buttery, toasted, nutty and sweet and so, so delicious. You can add what you want to them…seeds, other preferred dried fruits and nuts. I personally love pecans, almonds and hazelnuts and I think the three worked well together, especially after toasting them first. I really hope you try them out. Yes, they have butter and sugar in them, but they also have oats, nuts and fruit so in a way they are still healthy. Kind of…
175g/6oz rolled oats
175g/6oz self raising flour, sifted
175g/6oz soft brown sugar (for a processed sugar-free alternative see update at the bottom of the page)
175g/6oz butter or margarine (I used Stork as per my mum’s instructions)
Handful of whatever nuts or dried fruits you like. I used pecans. hazelnuts, sliced almonds, dried apricots & dried cranberries)
Start by preheating the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/Gas 4. Then grease and line a 7inch/18cm square baking tin with parchment paper.
Simply place the sifted flour and sugar into a mixing bowl and rub together. Often, brown sugar has little lumps in it so its worth rubbing it together with your fingers to get rid of those lumps.
Add the oats and pour in the melted butter/margarine then mix together until all of the mixture is coated in the butter.
Then add whatever nuts and fruit you want to put in there. I toasted a large handful of pecans in the oven on a baking sheet, along with a handful of hazelnuts and a handful of sliced almonds for about 5 minutes. I also added a handful of dried cranberries and a handful of dried apricots which I chopped up.
Then transfer the mixture to the baking tin, pressing it into the corners and ensuring the surface is flat. Then pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.
It should look golden on top and have puffed up a little. Just leave it to cool in the baking tin and it will fall.
I got 20 portions out of this amount but you can cut it up whichever way you like.
Each mouthful should give you oaty, nutty, buttery goodness with a hit of sweetness from the dried fruit.
Update: I have since made these flapjacks countless times (I told you, they’re addictive), and I’ve played around with different fruits and nuts and seeds, as well as the sugar content. In a bid to try to reduce the refined sugar in this recipe, I played around with honey and also date syrup. I found date syrup to work particularly well. I started reducing the sugar and replacing with date syrup until I omitted the sugar altogether and just used date syrup. And it worked a treat! Still sweet but with a slightly chewier texture. If you are trying to reduce your processed sugar intake, its definitely worth trying this recipe with date syrup. In fact, buy date syrup anyway, its awesome. This one by Meridian is my favourite, and you can find it in Whole Foods or online.