Sunday 7 December 2014

Energy weapons

Until last month I had never made flapjacks. My past experience was of something dry, gritty and overly sweet. Imagine! Then I tried Gaynor's flapjacks, and they were quite a revelation. What on earth had I been missing? Gluten free, too.

I started with the recipe for "Basic Flapjacks" in the BBC Good Food "Cakes & Bakes".

You start with the basic ingredients:
175g/6 oz butter, cut into pieces
140g/5oz golden syrup
50g/2oz light soft brown (muscovado) sugar
250g/9oz porridge oats
Now that sounds like it might be a little bland, and more than a little rich. Some dried fruit, nuts...
I reckon you could go up to 250 grammes more of dry ingredients without your flapjacks falling apart through stretching the "glue" too far. They're a little crumbly, but that's flapjacks.

Sultana, apricot, walnut and pumpkin seed flapjack
You could try a combination of
  • walnuts - broken into pieces and lightly toasted in a dry frying pan until crunchy
  • golden or dark raisins - halved if they're very big
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sultanas or currants
  • ready-to-eat dried apricots, quartered
  • ready-to-eat dried figs, quartered
  • pistachios, roughly chopped
  • stem ginger, roughly chopped
  • glacé cherries, quartered ....
You can buy most of these, and the oats, from the Bio Co-op, serve-yourself from dispensers into a paper bag, an ecologically friendly distribution method and good value for money. Not the stem ginger, though they may have it elsewhere.

Line a 23 cm/9 inch square baking tin with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 180°c /170°c fan assisted / gas mark 4.

Put the butter, golden syrup and sugar into a medium saucepan (I weigh them into a pan, and take away the weight of the spoon from the weight of the syrup-plus-spoon). Heat gently, stirring from time to time, until the butter is melted, then stir vigorously until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the oats. Keep stirring until all the liquid is mixed in and all the oats are coated in butter. Add the additional ingredients and stir again to mix thoroughly.

Spread the mixture across the bottom of the tin, pressing it firmly down and into the corners and edges with the back of a spoon or spatula, and smoothe the surface. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool in the tin for five minutes, then cover the mixture with another sheet of greaseproof and press down firmly with a flat object or roll with a cylindrical jam jar or something like a child's rolling pin. If you can make up a 23cm/9in square wooden stamp for this purpose, so much the better.

Mark the surface into squares or bars with the back of a knife or a spatula while still warm. Allow to cool completely. in the tin. Cut along the marked lines and break out the individual flapjacks.

Store in an airtight tin or Tupperware box, away from mice, particularly the two-legged variety.
Extra crunchy


Susan said...

I'd add hazel nuts and sunflower kernels to your mix'n'match list of ingredients. Also, in my experience, two legged mice don't touch things stored in opaque containers. If they can't see it they don't know it's there, even if they saw you making it, apparently.

GaynorB said...

I use all kinds of dries fruit and nuts, sometimes some jam or lemon curd, and even some of the whiskey citrus mincemeat you gave me. My secret ingredient is condensed milk. I'll send you the recipe.

Betty Carlson said...

Interesting! I had always imagined "flapjacks" as an American term -- it just sounded American to me. And in American English, it is simply an old-fashioned synonym for a pancake. I have now learned what it is in in Great Britain: "a sweet dense cake made from oats, golden syrup, and melted butter, served in rectangles." In all my years of having British friends and colleagues here in France, I had never heard them use the word. With blogs, you learn something new every day!

Tim said...

Glad to have been of service, Betty! Maybe our flapjacks are a bit homely to bring out for guests. My Good Housekeeping cook book from 1966 has a recipe, so they must go back quite a long way. Don't forget though that most Brits think hush puppies are shoes. Pauline

Betty Carlson said...

Lol, I only vaguely know what hush puppies are because they are something Southern, and I am not. For me they are pretty much shoes first.

Vera said...

I forgot about how easy flapjacks were to make, and how versatile they are with ingredients. Liked the comment about the mice with two legs!

Tim said...

they are "trail" food...
they would have been good to have in your pocket while you were re-separating the piglings.
And, given your current "lack-of-kitchen" status, a useful energy for outdoors snack.
We used to make them to take up to the allotment...
but ALLLLWAYS forgot to take them...
but they were nice with a cuppa on our return!

potty said...

Good Housekeeping Cookery Book page 349, my copy even has a bookmark in it for the shortbread ! These days I would think that dried cranberries would be obligatory.