To me, flapjacks have always been flapjacks.
According to the Oxford Companion to Food, flapjacks are ‘thick, chewy biscuits made from rolled oats, sugar, butter, and golden syrup baked in a flat tin.’ Thank you. Because it took me close to 14 years to understand that, in the US, flapjacks are also griddle cakes, which are akin to pancakes. I don’t blame myself too much as The Joy of Cooking, or the ‘pancake book‘ as it is known in our house, happily deems these interchangeable.
Having spent a few years in England as a child, my first encounter with a flapjack was a flapjack, so when I read about Imen‘s Fine Fettle Flapjacks, I knew exactly what she was talking about. I also immediately construed their magical ability to make the day a little better.
I’ve made the flapjacks Imen’s way first, because the recipe is compelling. Then I tinkered with it a little, because it can’t be helped.
In search of Sriracha sauce one day I walked into a small shop with a myriad specialty products and, without a plan in mind, bought a big bag of barberries and a jar of date syrup (of course, no Sriracha). For the flapjacks I substituted date syrup for some of the honey, which Imen used rather than golden syrup. I also added coconut. The date and coconut transport the flapjacks to a slightly warmer place. I liked it.
Which nonetheless begs the questions: if there is no golden syrup, are these even still flapjacks?
Adapted from Imen McDonell’s Fine Fettle Flapjacks
250 g (1 cup) butter
2 small ripe bananas
4 Tbsps honey
1 tsp cinnamon
4 Tbsps date syrup
350g (3 1/2 cups) porridge oats (which are finer than rolled oats)
115 g (1 cup) millet flakes
100 g (1/2 cup) chia seeds
100 g (1 cup) coconut flakes
Pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a rectangular 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) baking tin and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Mash the bananas; then place the bananas, butter, honey, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan, and heat slowly, stirring carefully until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the date syrup.
In a large bowl, mix the oats, millet flakes, chia seeds, and coconut flakes, with a pinch of salt.
Pour the butter/honey/date syrup over the oat mixture and stir with a large wooden spoon until the oats are well covered and nicely sticky.
Scoop the mixture into the prepared tin and pat it well to achieve a flat, even surface. Sprinkle a couple of handfuls of millet flakes over the top and slide into the oven.
Bake the flapjacks for about 25 minutes, or until nicely brown. The flapjacks should still be soft to the touch as they will harden as they cool.
Cut into squares while still warm, but leave the flapjacks in the tin until completely cool if you can (otherwise they will crumble).