Sometimes you just feel like going to bed and staying there. Today is one such day for me, and never one to ignore a calling, I dutifully obeyed. Of course, if you go to bed during the daylight hours that’s still no excuse to do nothing (unless you are ill, in which case I forgive you and you have my permission to go to sleep. Get well soon). So I have spent my under-the-covers-afternoon doing a bit of browsing, writing, pinning and photo editing. Sometimes productivity is stifled by being warm and comfy, but luckily for me today I found that my place of extreme comfort was a help not a hindrance. I might have to factor in a few more duvet days …
Now, onto more important matters. Namely The Flapjack. Yes, this foodstuff of the Gods requires capitals. How many other delectable morsels require only 3 ingredients (minimum), take less than 40 minutes total to make AND cook, can be dressed up by the addition of endless variables, eaten naked or accompanied by cream or fruit or purées or melty oozy chocolaty sauces? I can think of NONE. Only The Flapjack.
But for such a simplistic little bake, it can also be surprisingly difficult to get right. I find this is more often than not down to the cooking: it needs to be only just cooked, with barely a hint of colour so that it retains its moist and squidgy, non-crisp texture. I also like to use all syrup and no sugar, and I add fresh white breadcrumbs as I find these help create a texture which is dense but not too dense, as it can be if you add flour (although I’m a fan of the added-flour flapjacks too). My finished flapjack recipe is the result of much experimentation and I have included it at the bottom of the page for those of you who might still be in search of the perfect specimen: it may not be your idea of perfection, but it works for me so there’s no harm in trying, eh?
But the main recipe, the star of today’s post, is a severely pimped up flappy jacky. She’s got pears (it makes her healthy. Honest.), walnuts (from France, no less – thank you parents!), sultanas AND dark chocolate whilst the golden syrup is replaced by honey which goes beautifully with pears. She makes for a satisfying and relatively healthy energy boost. Obviously we can’t ignore the fact that she’s got a hearty dose of butter in her, but alongside there are oats for long lasting, slow release energy: a small amount will see you through the morning (or afternoon/evening/night if that’s the way you roll). And if you’re über health conscious and want to replace the white breadcrumbs with wholemeal you can try that too.
A final note: this flapjack will keep fairly well in a tin, but may be best stored in the fridge due to the added fresh fruit. It will freeze fine.
175g butter or margarine
400g pears (about 3 medium-small)
50g fresh white bread (or try wholemeal if you prefer)
150g regular porridge oats (not ground, jumbo or pinhead)
50g lightly roasted walnuts
100g plain or dark chocolate
Line a 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 inch) square tin with baking paper and grease well with oil. Set aside.
Gently melt the butter and golden syrup in a large, heavy based pan.
Meanwhile, peel and core the pears, then cut them into fairly small dice. Add them to the melting butter/syrup mix, bring to a simmer and allow to cook gently for 10 minutes, lid on.
Whilst the pears cook, blend the bread in a food processor until it forms fine breadcrumbs. Roughly chop the walnuts.
After 10 minutes remove the pan from the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs, oats, walnuts and sultanas, along with a small pinch of salt.
Spoon half the mix into the prepared tin and press down to cover the whole of the base.
Next roughly chop the chocolate and sprinkle all over the flapjack mix.
Spoon over the remaining half of the mix and press down again, making sure that the chocolate is all covered.
Bake in an oven preheated to 180 C degrees fan (200 C conventional) for about 25 minutes until just starting to colour at the edges. Leave to cool in the tin before turning out and cutting into slices and eating.
PS – The cold chocolate helps to hold the bars together so if you eat them warm don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Basic flapjack recipe
260g butter or margarine
315g golden syrup
75g fresh white breadcrumbs
250g regular porridge oats (not ground, jumbo or pinhead)
In a pan, melt the butter and syrup.
Stir in the breadcrumbs, oats and a pinch of salt.
Pour into a lined and greased baking tin (I leave the size to you as some people like deep flapjacks and other prefer them shallow. If you’re really not sure, try 20 x 20 cm/ 8 x 8 inches).
Bake for about 15 minutes on 180 C degrees fan (200 C degrees conventional) oven. The thinner the flapjack, the less time it will need.
Cut whilst still warm then leave to cool in the tin.