27 October, 2007

October recipe: Flapjack

Samuel Johnson’s dictionary famously defined oats as “ a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.” Well, in northern England at least oats are widely used in biscuits and the tray bakes called flapjack.

Flapjack, for anyone not familiar with the term, is made from oats, butter and golden syrup, and is perhaps best described as halfway between a biscuit and a cake. Usually eaten as a snack with tea or coffee. I also make flapjack as an alternative to muesli bars for hiking and cycling from autumn to spring, when they aren’t going to melt in the rucksack on a hot day.

The variations are endless. You can substitute part or all of the syrup with honey or black treacle, or add dried fruit, chopped ginger, chopped nuts, spices, chocolate chips, even pieces of toffee, as the fancy takes you. Here’s a Lancashire recipe for sultana flapjack.

Sultana flapjack (makes 12 pieces)

2 Tablespoons (2 x 15 ml spoon) golden syrup
1 oz (approx 25 g) dark muscovado sugar
3 oz (approx 75 g) butter or margarine
2 oz (approx 50 g) sultanas
4 oz (approx 100 g) rolled oats
1 oz (approx 25 g) self-raising flour

Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan over a low heat.
Remove from heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Spread the mixture evenly in a greased 7” (approx 18 cm) square shallow baking tin.
Bake at approximately 190 C for 20-25 minutes, until set and golden brown.
Mark into 12 pieces.
Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.

Can be wrapped in foil and stored in an airtight tin for several months, and will also survive happily for a week or more in a rucksack or cycle pannier.


Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks for another scrummy recipe, Carla! I love sultana flapjack - my grandmother used to make it, and she came from Lancashire.

Carla said...

You're welcome, Alianore! Let me know how it compares with your grandmother's version.

Bernita said...

Where I was born, the term "flapjack" meant a pancake, made often with a buckwheat flour slury and fried on a hot gridle.
Something like a crepe.
Perhaps the name survived because a lot of the original settlers were from northern England and Scotland.

Carla said...

Bernita - I think the word has slightly different meanings in North America and Britain (as so many do). It may have changed over the centuries or it might have had different meaning in different regions. In Britain, oatcakes in Scotland refers to a hard dry biscuit, whereas oatcakes in Staffordshire refers to a sort of pancake fried on a griddle. Perhaps there was a similar variation in flapjack? If I remember rightly, it derives from something like 'mixture', so it could have been a pretty elastic term!