Flapjacks, and I don’t mean pancakes


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).

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12 Responses to “Flapjacks, and I don’t mean pancakes”

  1. I dream of Cornwall | Brooklyn to Brussels Says:

    […] For our first day of reliably beautiful weather, we decided to bike the stunning Camel Trail, a repurposed railway that goes from Bodmin to the coastal village of Padstow. We set out to do the five or so miles from Wadebridge to Padstow. In the end, it was too ambitious for us, with Sebastian on his first substantial bike ride and on a rented bike that was a bit too big for him. I’d say we made it a little past halfway, and more importantly we made it to Treats on Trikes, which offered up a decent hot chocolate and a divine flapjack. […]

  2. theresakishkan Says:

    These sound so delicious. I wonder what they’d be like with maple syrup? Maybe I’ll try that. (Someone brought two large tins of it over Christmas…)

  3. Oui, Chef Says:

    Thank you for reminding me of these yummy British treats. I’ve only made them once before and LOVED them. Time to make another batch!

  4. brooklyntobrussels Says:

    I had no idea! And I consider myself something of a pancake expert (though clearly not a flapjack expert). I have also just discovered a lovely ingredient here in Belgium called “sirop de Liège,” which is a bit like apple butter but made with apples, pears, and dates. That might be good here as well.

  5. Jean | DelightfulRepast.com Says:

    I should think the date syrup would make them a little healthier, with NO subsequent sacrifice of flavour! Flapjacks are one of those things you can put nearly anything in and they’re always good. Lovely!

  6. baconbiscuit212 Says:

    I never knew that flapjacks and pancakes were not one in the same! I wonder how they got to be confused in the US… In any case, these flapjacks look amazing!

    • valerie Says:

      I’m not sure when or how the meaning of the word split, but since there already is a perfectly good term for pancake, why not liberate flapjack for flapjacks, because granola bar just sounds awful…

  7. Imen McDonnell (@ModernFarmette) Says:

    Fantastic Valerie! And, very good question. I vote YES they are still flapjacks. And, mighty fine ones indeed. LOVE the idea of date syrup in these instead of golden. Might have to give them a whirl this weekend! Thanks a million. Imen x

    • valerie Says:

      Thank you so much, Imen. Using bananas as sweetener was genius. I LOVE your recipe, it was a great place to start!

  8. Seaneen Says:

    Lovely! I imagine some added dried papaya or candied ginger would move them straight onto a Caribbean island. :)

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