First thing’s first, I must apologise to anyone who clicked though to this post expecting to see some pancakes. Nope these aren’t pancakes, they’re granola bars, but as far as I’m concerned oats, butter and golden syrup = flapjack. Sorry Americans!
My boyfriend’s first and only attempt at baking, and in addition, the first thing he ever cooked for me, was some coconut and apricot flapjacks. They may have crumbled into tiny shards, but they were utterly scrumptious. Therefore, flapjacks have a special place in my heart. And then, I saw Nigel Slater dip a flapjack into melted dark chocolate and I almost fainted.
So when one of my friends requested a tray bake that could possibly be eaten for breakfast, I knew what had to be done. Admittedly the addition of chocolate makes these a pretty decadent breakfast but it’s only a thin coating, go on treat yourself!
I don’t entirely know how I stumbled upon the recipe for the ultimate chewy granola bar in the back catalogue of Deb of Smitten Kitchen, but I just loved the fact that it’s endlessly adaptable and it sticks together pretty solidly, making it ideal for chocolate dipping.
One of the tastiest flapjacks I’ve ever had was purchased in Borough Market and was largely a simple oats, butter and golden syrup concoction, except for a glorious dose of spicy ginger. Taking inspiration from this, to Deb’s recipe I added ground ginger and finely chopped crystallised ginger.
To increase their healthy breakfastness (is that a word??) I chucked in some black sesame seeds, ground flax and golden raisins. Lastly a good dollop of sunflower seed butter. You can use any nut butter you fancy but I have a mild sunflower seed butter obsession right now and need a trip to the US in the near future to replenish my stocks.
The key step to making sure they don’t fall apart on you is making sure that you pack the mix down pretty firmly in the tin before baking and that you make sure they’re completely stone cold before you attempt to cut them up. It’s also advisable to flip them over and gently peel off the greaseproof paper before cutting them up. I skipped this step and had a very tricky time removing them as I chopped them up, as the last picture in the post testifies!
These flapjacks are incredibly dense and chewy but not too sweet, the ginger provides a subtle warmth and the chocolate is good for the soul. They’re gluten free (provided you use gluten free oats) and they can easily be adapted to be vegan. What more could you ask for in a handheld snack?
Stick Ginger, Dark Chocolate Dipped, Flapjacks
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 2/3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (made by processing 1/3 cup of rolled oats in the food processor until they’re a fairly fine powder)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp finely chopped crystallised ginger
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup black sesame seeds
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
6 tbsp melted butter (to make the recipe vegan, switch the butter for your favourite oil)
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp cold water
1/3 cup sunflower seed butter or another nut butter of your choice
100g dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 175C / 160C Fan / 350F. Grease and line an 8 inch by 8 inch tin with sides at least 2 inches high.
In a large bowl stir together the oats, sugar, oat flour, salt, both types of ginger, raisins and seeds. In a measuring jug or small bowl thoroughly mix the butter, syrup, water and sunflower seed butter.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well. Tip the mixture into the tin and spread it out with the back of a spoon. Then cover it with cling film and press it firmly down and into all of the corners. Remove the film and pop the tin into the oven for 30 – 40mins until it’s brown around the edges.
Remove it from the oven and cool it completely on a rack, before cutting it into 12 equal sized chunks. If it’s taking too long to cool you can pop it in the fridge, once it’s no longer properly hot.
Now melt the chocolate either in a small bowl over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave in 10 second bursts, stirring in-between.
Dip each of the flapjacks into the chocolate and then place them on a lined baking tray, before popping them in the fridge to set solid. Enjoy with a nice cuppa.