Flapjacks are a funny thing. They’re supposedly really easy, something that children make when they’re just starting out in the kitchen, or the first lesson in Home Ec. But I’m still waiting to find my perfect recipe.
I like them chewy without being undercooked stodge, and I like a little bit of crunch without endangering my fillings. I want to be able to lift a slice in one hand without it crumbling into a million flaky oat pieces.
So I’ve been doing some reading around.
The brilliant Felicity Cloake at the Guardian wrote a good column on flapjacks, even if she does like them crunchy (which, frankly is flapjack heresy, as the comments all make clear), and the three pages of comments are particularly enlightening, with several readers’ own recipes.
Here’s Miranda Gardiner’s recipe, from her book Teaching Dad to Cook Flapjacks. You’d imagine that, with it being the title recipe of the book and all, it would be top-notch, but I’m concerned it’s a wee bit peelly-wally. Maybe five more minutes in the oven?
How about adding condensed milk? There’s a bridal forum going nuts about it – which is slightly odd, as most brides seem to want to subsist on ryvita and rioja in the run-up to the nuptials, in my limited experience. But still, there’s quite a few different google hits on the search so it might be worth exploring. Because condensed milk usually makes things better, right?
The addition of a Whole Pat of Butter is a slight concern in most of these recipes. I’m quite good at forgetting what’s in stuff once it’s made, but seeing the whole thing go in a pot, then adding sugar and syrup is a slight reminder that I probably ought to drop a few pounds and consider my risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Dan Lepard makes Halva Flapjack which I do like the sound of on several counts: the reduction in butter, the fudgy consistency of the finished article and my fondness for tahini and halva in general. The only drawback is my concern that the two mini crumbles will not enjoy this departure from the expected norm.
Finally, the Leith Cookery Bible offers up this simple version, which gets good ratings in the Guardian comments.
So all I have to do now is choose a version! I will, however, be tinkering – I have a giant sack of craisins to use up, so a handful or two of those plus some chopped white chocolate will go in the mix. Results may follow.
Rachel Allen owes me 12oz of butter – yes, one and a quarter packets. Plus some oats. Her flapjack recipe is a total failure. I put it down to the inclusion of 3oz of flour. The finished article manages to be crunchy at the corners, uncooked in the middle and totally falls apart if you try to prise a piece out of the tray. Bugger. Plus we now have, to all intents and purposes, a large volume of floury granola to get through.