The best flapjack is soft and chewy, buttery and very lightly sticky. You can add in fruit, coconut or chocolate, or keep it plain and healthier. If you prefer your flapjack crunchy and brittle, just bake it five minutes longer.
Orange and ginger flapjack is my favourite flavour. It is nice to throw in various enhancements, dried fruit or nuts, decadently chocolate or glace cherries, but – as I point out further – it might make it a bit too much of a good thing. I based my ingredient proportions on River Cottage guidance and followed my instinct for flavours. And you can trust me – my love of flapjacks is deep as an ocean of honey and butter.
There is a common misconception about the health benefits of flapjacks (flapjacks as in the British understanding of the confection, squidgy and sweet oats bars, made with golden syrup. The Americans sometimes call their native pancakes ‘flapjacks’, while the oaty thing I’m talking about is a granola bar for them. Clear as mud. I’m not even going towards biscuits or pudding), perceived as a ‘good for you’ breakfast or snack.
It’s the oats, you see – anything that has oats in it seems HEALTHY these days, as well as being GLUTEN FREE, as if it was a good thing. Oats there certainly are, along with equal amounts of sugar and butter. Are we still calling flapjacks healthy? I thought not. Even if you replace ordinary sugar with honey or maple syrup, trying to deceive yourself those are better, an individual bar will still be basically rich dessert which just happens to contain quite a bit of fibre. As do pears poached in syrup, incidentally.
Having the health issues cleared up, we can now enjoy flapjacks as a treat, sweet, pudding, dessert. Still, it does make some sense to have it for breakfast as the early time of day gives us more time of day to burn the calories from foods high in sugar and fat; and they will tend to energise us rather than give us a post-lunch slump. But you know what? Life’s too short to be concerned ALL the time about whether things we eat are healthy enough: let’s just bake a batch of this orange-ginger squidgy wonders and enjoy them whenever we fancy!
flapjackServings: 16 barsTime: 40 minutes
- 170g (1½ stick) butter
- 140g (2/3 cup) demerara sugar
- 20g (1 tbsp.) golden syrup
- 300g (3 1/3 cup) jumbo rolled oats
- a pinch of salt
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- zest grated from a large orange
1. Line a square 20 x 20cm (8 x 8 inch) cake tin with parchment. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.
2. Cut the butter in chunks and place them in a large saucepan with the sugar and golden syrup. Heat it gently just until the butter melts.
3. Add the oats, salt, ginger and orange zest and mix very well, make sure to scrape the sugar off the bottom of the pan.
4. Transfer the mix to the tin, spread it evenly and pack down firmly with a bottom of a glass tumbler.
5. Bake for 20 minutes or until very lightly golden for soft, chewy flapjack and 25-30 minutes for crunchier, crispier one.
6. Remove from the oven and let it settle in the tin for 5 minutes. Score it with a sharp or serrated knife into bars or squares and leave it to cool down in the tin.
7. Remove the flapjack with the parchment onto a chopping board and cut into pieces. Keep in an airtight container.