I’m in the final trimester of my second pregnancy and I have a vivacious toddler to fuel, so what better way is there to treat us both (and ply her with healthy stuff, like seeds and dried fruit) than with some chunky, chewy flapjacks.
Unfortunately, this time round my baking didn’t go quite to plan…
So, we all know that the Great Fire of London started in Pudding Lane. (At Thomas Farriner’s bakery, in 1666, to be precise.) Well, the Great Fire of the Mother-in-Law’s Kitchen started with a pudding too. It was bound to happen. The AGA was going to get the better of me and, three weeks in to our tempestuous relationship, it positively choked out a great lump of coal in a baking tin where my scrumptious flapjack mix had been.
For goodness sake, the cooking time for the recipe is 25 minutes. Yet 15 minutes in (during which time I was bathing Zippy, far, far way from the kitchen), the AGA was coughing out puffs of sugary, oaty smoke, as if it were finally succumbing to its 60-a-day habit.
Well, (*fist shaking*) you won’t get the better of me!
Having cooled the charred remains of my flapjacks in the fridge and turned the tray out onto a board, I forensically sifted through the debris and sliced off the burnt top and bottom. Yes, TOP AND BOTTOM. At 10pm this evening I am left with a tub of skinny (BUT CHEWY!!!) flapjacks that will fuel our journey to London tomorrow to celebrate our daughter Zippy’s birthday.
If you would like to make (and not burn) these delicious and, in part, nutritious flapjacks, here is the recipe.
Thank you to Smitten Kitchen for sharing her fabulous recipe, which itself is a version of one from the King Arthur Flour website. Here is my own take on this recipe (whereby I have adjusted measurements, cooking times and temperature, and substituted ground oats for ground hazelnuts, granulated sugar for caster sugar, corn syrup for golden syrup, and opted to use a crunchy nut butter for added texture).
Makes about 10 generous squares
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
140g rolled oats
70g caster sugar (I prefer golden)
40g ground hazelnuts (you can use ground almonds or walnuts too, if preferred)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
300g dried fruits and nuts* (see below for my recipe)
3 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter (or any other nut butter)
6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons golden syrup (or honey)
1 tablespoon water
Preheat your oven to 190°C / 170°C (fan assisted) / gas mark 5. Line a 30cm x 12cm / 12″ x 8″ baking tray with baking paper (I use a brownie tin) so that the paper spills out over the edges of the tin. Lightly grease the paper with butter or oil.
Bring all the dry ingredients together, including the fruit and nuts, in a large mixing bowl. (I chop up the fruit and nuts by hand so that I get nice little, randomly-sized, chunks of each. But you could also use a food processor.) In a separate bowl, mix together the melted butter, maple syrup, golden syrup, and water. Pour this liquid into the bowl of dry ingredients, followed by the peanut butter, and stir together until the mixture is evenly coated.
Next, simply tip the mixture into your prepared tin and – using the back of a spoon, a palette knife or your fingers – press down to ensure that it gets into all the corners of the dish and has a vaguely flat top.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top and edges of your flapjacks are golden brown, and leave to cool on a wire rack. (They should still be soft to the touch when you press down upon the top but they will set as they cool.) I then leave to cool for another hour in the fridge before turning out the tin onto a surface, removing the baking parchment and, using a serrated knife, cutting into generous squares.
Store in an airtight container. These flapjacks can also be frozen and last for a few days (if you haven’t scoffed them already) if kept in the fridge.
* Suggested mix: 10 chopped dried apricots (I like mine unsulphured), 5 soaked and chopped prunes, small handful of goji berries, handful of chopped up dried apple, two handfuls of seedless raisins, large handful of sunflower seeds, handful of dessicated coconut, sprinkling of brown linseed, and a small handful of sesame seeds. The mix I use is toddler friendly (so no whole nut pieces) but you can add almonds, cashews or whatever you fancy/find in your cupboard.