Maybe I’m generalizing too much, but I feel like the flapjack rarely migrates from home economics class to everyday adult life. Right now, though, it hits all the notes: It’s healthy, it’s very simple, you can bake it with kids, and you can add any nonsense with no obvious ill effects. Also, you don’t need flour, which is great if you can’t get any, and the oats are amazingly good value. There’s no alchemy in the kitchen involving things that have a habit of going wrong: no leavening agent, no uncertainty in adding an egg.
I tried every which way, with the “help” of an outrageously neglected 10 year old, to get it wrong, just for the suspense. There were rumors that the size of the can was important, that incorrect dimensions altered the texture. It’s true that a thinner cookie will have a biscuitier, less mushy mouthfeel, but the biscuit is still okay, otherwise why would people eat biscuits? It’s also true that the finer the oats, the more they hold together in the finished product, but even giant oats didn’t fall apart like I’d been led to believe. But if this really worries you, you can make them finer by running them through a food processor first anyway.
Having said that all flapjacks are equally good, it would be contradictory to claim that these are the top 10 – think of them more as a flapjack for everyone.
The bow tie of nostalgia
Loosely based on the Winnie the Pooh sensibilities, The Pooh’s Cookbook came out in 1971: if you were born between then and 1985, it will have provided the basics of your early cooking experiences, even if you never read it. Trust me, I was there.
Anyway, your flapjack (50g butter, 50g sugar, 100g oats, a tablespoon of golden syrup, a pinch of salt, 160°C (140°C fan/350°F/gas mark 3) for 20 minutes) is basically a ration book version of the classic recipe. (There’s usually more fat than oats), and, with a much smaller yield, that should be enough for two hungry children. That’s what really stands out about recipes written before the ’90s, how unbelievably small they are.
the perfect pancake
You want perfection, go to the person whose middle name it is: Our very own Felicity Cloake identified both fundamental schools of flapjackery as crunchy or chewy, and leans, herself, very firmly on the side of crunchy. Much more syrup than sugar in this one, and she’s pretty strict about the size of the oats, 50:50 jumbo to rolled, but the main way to ensure more crunch is a shallower baking sheet in a hotter oven.
It is possible to give flapjacks a luxurious and considered aesthetic. Photo: sugar0607/Getty/iStockphoto
The classy flapjack
Inexplicably, baking genius Dan Lepard was looking for a way to reduce the fat and sugar content of a pancake, and discovered that even a small amount of tahini (75g) had a creamy effect on the other ingredients, reducing the need for both butter and sugar. sugar. The ingredients list, which includes dates, walnuts, sesame seeds, honey, means it’s not for someone looking for something simple, but it will be ideal if you want to remove your odd reservations.
The hipster cake
Victoria Glass is a terrifyingly talented baker whose technical skills I often find a little out of my league. These chocolate flapjacks are fabulous though, just as simple as a regular flapjack, but with a distinctive and considered aesthetic.
The vegan pancake
There are variations of this recipe all over Instagram, though I haven’t found any big-name chefs to put their name on them: the dairy-free, sugar-free, nuffink-free flapjack. Basically, you take any size mashed banana and oatmeal in roughly equal amounts; Before mixing them together, toast the oats in a skillet with just enough coconut oil to coat, then add the banana and some sort of nut or seed butter (or more coconut oil, if desired).
You can add as much dried fruit as you think it will take without falling apart. And these have to be baked into biscuits, rather than squares, because they’re too dry in the mouth otherwise, but they work surprisingly well, I think due to the initial toasting of the oats, which adds depth of flavor.
However, my little one and I agreed that they just weren’t sweet enough, and we gave it another try twice with golden syrup and agave. The golden syrup was the best. For a two-banana mix, I added two tablespoons, but feel free to adjust to taste.
Assorted tortillas… ‘Basically, you can add anything you have lying around’. Photo: daseaford/Getty/iStockphoto
Taste-like-a-shopflapjack did it
Industrialized flapjack has a very distinctive texture that, like a store-bought chocolate cake, is incredibly difficult to replicate at home. That’s fine if you’re proud of your home baking, but not if you really prefer the store version. The answer came, unexpectedly, from a recipe shared by Anna Botting (the Sky presenter) on Twitter: condensed milk. She uses the sugar-free version, but I’m obsessed with the regular stuff, and I can attest that they have wonderful store-bought squid and it tastes like condensed milk, too.
Not a traditional Scottish snack, just Sue Lawrence’s wonderful Scottish Baking – it’s a versatile recipe that basically lets you add anything you have, raisins, apricots, coconut, flaked almonds, you name it, and it’s also the only one that use any flour. Even in a small amount, it makes them a bit more cake-like.
The luxury tortilla
Flapjacks are as rich as life, and yet you can pile wealth on top of them to create something 10 times richer, but just as delicious. Like this BBC Good Food recipe for Chocolate Caramel Flapjacks. It’s the kind of math only flapjack really understands, just like only Jeff Bezos understands why you’d want to be a billionaire when you’re already a billionaire.
A flapjack drizzled with white chocolate. Photography: Joff Lee/Getty
The tropical cake
Birmingham-based, mostly vegan but not so adamantly, Domestic Gothess concocted the classic recipe here with coconut and ginger, and if you can get past your inner purism, I have to say these are the most interesting. The flavor is still very clear, just a few more notes ringing out.
The Nut and Seed Flapjack
Almost all recipes that suggest seeds and nuts will allow for endless variations; this BBC Good Food is just seeds. Mainly, this is because you’re not really trying to distinguish the finer flavor differences between a pumpkin and a sunflower seed, you’re looking for crunchier, more variety of textures, and the overall impression of a more grown-up snack.
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