Today is my daughter’s first day back at school, and there are few occasions that warrant some home baking as much as that. The American in me automatically leans towards the classic cookies-and-milk combo, but this year I made a batch of flapjacks instead. Selfishly, it also just so happens that a homemade flapjack is my favourite thing to have with a cup of tea.
When you talk about flapjacks in Ireland or the UK, you’re not talking about a thick pancake, like an American flapjack. Over here, a flapjack is a sweet tray-baked oat bar made with oats, butter, brown sugar and golden syrup, and you’ll often find commercially produced ones at the counter by the cash register in chain coffeeshops.
Flapjacks are usually made with golden syrup, which is available in any Irish or British grocery store, but you can also use honey or maple syrup if you can’t get golden syrup. Flapjacks take less than 10 minutes to make and only half an hour to cook, so there’s still time to whip up a batch before the kids get home or to have with your cuppa.
Makes 8 to 16 flapjacks, depending on how you cut them
100 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
100 g (1/2 cup) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup, honey or maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
200 g (2 1/2 cups) porridge oats
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a 8 inch x 8 inch or 9 inch x 9 inch square baking tin with parchment paper.
Put the butter, brown sugar, syrup and salt into a pan big enough to eventually hold all the oats too and melt over a medium heat, stirring to combine. Add in the oats and stir together until everything is well combined. Pour the oat mixture into the lined tin and press down firmly, making sure the oats are evenly distributed in the pan. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then cut into rectangles by cutting the flapjacks into 4 squares, then cutting each square into 2 or 4 triangles. Allow to cool fully in the tin before removing them to give the flapjacks a chance to crisp up. Store in an airtight container.