Wednesday, March 3, 2010

British Flapjacks

Disclaimer: This was a big fat fail. To be fair, the original recipe said they would be soft. Code for falling apart? My flapjacks were delicious, though very sweet, but fell apart like so much oatmeal covered in sugar. Was it my substitution of old-fashioned oats? The clementine syrup? (I can't imagine.) Or should I have baked it longer? Let it cool longer? Ah, the mysteries of life. All is not lost, however, I will gladly bake them into another incarnation and eat them eventually. I think they will make a lovely topping for a plum crisp I've got rolling around in my head...But still, I feel so obviously off-kilter. I'll have to slog through a bit of this, I think. So: my apologies.

While I was sick, I received a wonderful package in the mail from Shae. She sent me clementine confits (!) that she had made and as an extra bonus a jar of clementine syrup, a byproduct of the confits. She asked me to think up ways to use it. Well, first off a goodly amount went into my many cups of tea a day. That was a no-brainer. I had a few ideas for her, we'll see if they come to fruition on her blog. In the meantime, I happened across this recipe in Bon Appetit from Molly Wizenberg for British Flapjacks. The recipe is not for pancakes but a sweet oat bar that goes by the name of flapjacks in the UK. It is an incredibly easy recipe, and Wizenberg likens the recipe to rice krispie treats. It also calls for golden syrup, a British product. I thought, well, that clementine syrup looks just like golden syrup. Don't you agree? Who doesn't want a crispy little oat bar with loads of butter and gorgeous clementine syrup in it, and takes all of ten minutes to make (minus baking time)?

1 stick of butter, sliced into eight pieces
1/2 cup golden brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup or clementine syrup
2 1/3 cups of oats (recipe calls for quick oats, not instant and not old-fashioned. I used old-fashioned but pulsed them in the processor a few times)
pinch o'salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a square 8x8 pan. Melt butter with sugar and syrup until all is dissolved and looks gorgeously buttery and saucy. Pour the oats in with a pinch of salt. Mix it all up and toss in the pan, patting down neatly. In the oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. The edges will be a little darker, as these things tend to go. Let cool in pan for a bit. Don't be hasty! Cut it up into cute little triangles. (Which I forgot to do and made boring little squares.) Let cool completely. (They'll fall apart if you don't let them fully cool. Take it from an impatient baker.) Pour a cuppa tea and enjoy.


  1. Clementine syrup, ohemmmgeee...

    I love all of these ingredients together, even if they didn't adhere. I will 'do try this at home', dear.
    (oh, look I wrote a tercet)

  2. They look delish no matter. I just made the KAF granola bars today and they fell apart as well. The kids ate almost the entire pan though so jimmy crack corn. That looks like the makings of stellar plum cobbler topping - which is also on the menu at my house Sat!

  3. Whenever I follow a US recipe that calls for corn syrup, I use golden syrup instead. Cold golden syrup is a thick gloopy meniscus, like treacle or molasses. I've got a cat called treacle, so nothing like as hairy as her.

  4. Kate- I know, the syrup. It's grand! Love the tercet! You couldn't even help it.

    Annette- Oh, it's so tasty! I would eat it plain if it wasn't so sweet. My teeth ache. Can't wait for the cobbler.

    Gloria- I was hoping you would lend your wisdom of golden syrup. Now I know that the syrup was probably much too thin! But just as tasty, I'll bet.

  5. What the different between quick oats, and old-fashioned

  6. Golden syrup is Tate's Golden Syrup, or Tate & Lyle's, as it used to be. You get it at any good grocery shop.

  7. Way to throw down a challenge, Jules! And how lovely to see the syrup so beautifully featured. I have enough of it to experiment, so I'll try to concoct something this weekend. (I've also got to research alliums. It's gonna get busy 'round here.) I do know I want to hold back some syrup to attempt preserves with summer fruit. I'll report back.

  8. Sorry to hear you were sick, but it's getting warm out...

    I wrote someone a sonnet once in their blog comments, but don't have it in me right now. Did you get the email about the classes?

    My captch is "togratin."

  9. Fun to scroll through multiple posts that're almost The Marmalade Files ( given all the chutney, pickles, etc.) and wind up here with 2 items very near the top of my consciousness: There's a ton of citrus syrup - orange and grapefruit - left over from making candied peel, that I've got to think of something to do with, and just the other day my sister wrote asking if she could substitute Karo syrup for Lyle's golden, first I've thought of in years. Answer is as you've figured out from laundryetc: golden is very dense and very sweet, so it's going to be a better binder going in and there's more sugar to tighten up in the oven heat.

  10. Easy Recipe- Thanks for the comment! Quick oats are more flattened and chopped, processed to cook quicker, less chewy. Old-fashioned or rolled oats are flattened oats. One step closer to oats are steel cut, which are oats cut in half. Very chewy and tasty. Etc. There's a lot on the internet about these differences.

    Hopflower- Thanks for commenting! Yes, love that Lyle's can. Didn't want to shell out for it!

    Shae- No throw down, just don't want to steal your thunder! Just had oatmeal with said syrup. Yum! I am pumped for alliums!

    Leslie- Ha! Yes, indeed and there's more marm sitting in the fridge macerating! And, I'm about to embark on candied peels using your recipe. So, I'd better be prepared for the syrup. Sadly, not a sub, as we've noted, on the Lyle's. No matter, we'll find ways to dispense it!

  11. Peter- Yes! 50 degrees this weekend! Woo hoo! The good thing about being sick is when you bounce back nothing can stop you!
    I did get your e-mail and will write back today. Togratin!

  12. Aw, I know! Your post just got me excited to think about what I might do. Experiment #1, last night, was a complete disaster, but a tasty one. (The syrup may have acted like honey in the jar, but it sure didn't act like it in a baking recipe.) Now I know. I'm appreciating all this syrupy education. Experiment #2 today. More soon.

  13. Shae- Syrupy education. Mmm..

  14. Was this a fail, or did you just end up making something other than a flapjack? What if you refrigerate them--would that solve the problem that apparently golden syrup is much thicker?

    I noticed Molly Wizenberg's recipe too and was curious to try it as I used to live in London and have had flapjacks (of the marks & spencer variety). Millionaire's Shortbread--now that's the british bar cookie I need to make...

  15. Syrup, syrup, syrup!

  16. Sara - Usually nothing is a total fail because I'm into salvation, but this was a fail as a flapjack. I'll definitely use it as a crumble topping. I don't think refrigeration would have worked. Golden syrup was key. What, pray tell, is a Millionaire's Shortbread. Do tell!

    Shae- you are nothing short of amazing!