Now is the season of my discontent
Made happy eating by this plate of flapjacks
- 250 g Porridge oats
- 175 g soft butter
- 85 g of chopped glacé cherries
- 60 g of slightly crushed flaked almonds
- 50 g of salted caramel sauce or 50 g golden syrup (Choclette is right and I had too much sweet stuff here – been back and weighed properly when I made them again, and have dropped the syrup quantities)
- 125 g soft brown sugar
- two capfuls of Kirsch (why not? – actually don’t, because you can’t taste it…)
These have always been called flapjacks in England as far as I know, though I understand from my transatlantic readers that the word flapjack is used to describe a popular breakfast pancake in the US and Canada. Another one of those words that has two different uses. See the comments for the discussion on this.
Melt the butter a bit, add the sugar and caramel sauce, use golden syrup if you don’t have salted caramel sauce, or use both, or something similar. Golden syrup is traditional though.
Stir in the oats and cherries and Kirsch and almonds, or if you don’t have any of those add anything you think goes with oats that takes your fancy or be purist and don’t add anything else. You can add chocolate chunks, or any nut you like, I think Brazils are good, as are dried fruits, dried locusts, honey or manna from heaven, the choice is yours! It’s only flapjacks after all. If the mixture is too wet add more oats and vice versa. The mixture should be sticky but not swimming in extra liquid.
Once all mixed well together and looking suitably unctuous, i.e. with no dry oats showing in the mix, (the Danish dough hook is good for mixing things like this), spread the lot out on a buttered and parchment lined 30 x 25 cm tray to a depth of about 2 cms. They will puff up a bit when they bake. If your tray is smaller and your flapjacks are taller then bake them a bit longer. Try and spread the mixture out evenly and then pat and press it down firmly with your knuckles. Resist the urge to lick your fingers while you are doing this.
Bake at 160ºC in an electric fan oven for 20 minutes till they are golden and bubbling – you might need more heat in a conventional oven. If you mark them where you want to cut them while they are still hot it will be easier to cut them up later, I forgot to go round the inside edge of the tray with a blunt knife while they were hot which also makes it easier to get them out of the tray later. This tray made 16 biggish pieces.
Slice when almost cool and lever them out of the tin. Best to use an old tin and line it, rather than a non-stick one as they can be very sticky and then glue themselves to the edges of the tin while they cool. Try not to eat them all at once, but if you do, remind yourself that oats are very, very good for you. I made these a fair bit when I was a kid, I think I was more enthusiastic about them than anyone else in the family though. I have learnt not to overcook them though, the ones I made as a child were often rock hard and sometimes a little burnt too.
If you did happen to eat too many however, take a brisk walk around the garden and see what’s growing…
In a mild climate like ours in the West of England, even in February there are buds and leaves unfurling despite the recent frosts. The continental influx of blackbirds and robins has swelled the numbers visiting the garden to eat the dried mealworms we put out. The jackdaws who are nesting in the chimneys of my neighbours have worked out how to fly at the feeders and swing them so the seeds fall out and Fatty the Wood Pigeon watches and waits patiently underneath. He made the mistake of telling his friends about the free food though and the local Sparrowhawk starts doing more swoop throughs – he picks them off the fence where they sit. Only the smartest pigeons survive….