Flapjacks are one of my favourite snack foods. Sweet flapjacks are just the right amount of treat, and savoury can be used anytime of day. You will always find a batch of flapjacks in our kitchen cupboards, ready for a quick snack. They’re also a healthy school lunchbox filler, that can be thrown together on a Sunday night and used for the whole week. You can play around with lots of different flavour combinations to keep them interesting. Remember to get your kids used to the savoury versions too, so they don’t always expect sweet treats in their lunchbox!
Traditional shop-bought flapjacks are sold as a healthy option, but they are actually loaded with sugar. Homemade is always a better option for controlling the sugar content. When I started making homemade flapjacks, I found that when I adjusted the ratio of oats to sugar/fat, I ended up with a batch of granola rather than flapjacks! Over the last few years I’ve become obsessed with finding the ‘golden oat to binder ratio’, and after several frustrating crumbling batches, I’ve finally found a method that works for me! By experimenting with different ingredients that have binding qualities like tahini, nut butters, chia seed or psyllium husk, you can reduce the sugar/fat ratio of your flapjacks. Making them a better choice for a healthy treat, or a savoury snack, than shop-bought flapjacks or energy bars.
If you're still having problems getting your flapjacks to stay together, try milling about half your flakes to a flaky crumb in a food processor. I cut my flapjacks before baking and I use a coffee press to compress the mixture into the tin. I press them again when they come out of the oven, and let them cool for about 30min before carefully flipping them out of the tray and re-cutting. Cooling them is an important step, but don't let them cool in the tray for too long or your base will get soggy with the steam of the hot oats.
A lot of recipes use banana or apple sauce to bind the oats together, but I prefer my flapjacks crunchy. You’ll see in my ‘Flapjack Builder’ there is an option for using grated carrot or apple, makeing sure you give them a good squeeze to remove as much of the liquid as possible, so your flapjack doesn’t end up more like a dense baked slice than a crunchy flapjack. I find the banana apple sauce versions end up tasting a bit soggy after a day or two. If your flapjack stays crunchy it can last for up to a week in an airtight container. I don’t store my flapjacks in the fridge for the same reason; they end up a bit on the soggy side.
My current favourite version is an oatie base with dates, goji and lots of seeds and nuts. I use about 10 dates which add just about the right amount of sweetness and help to bind them together. Have a go at making your own sweet or savoury flavour combinations. Click on the ‘Flapjack Builder’ above, print it out and get experimenting!
Ruth Delahunty Yogaru