flapjacks – smitten kitchen


Golden syrup — picture corn syrup, but made with cane sugar and lightly cooked for a caramel-y vibe — is a central flavor in flapjacks, which is frustrating as it can be hard to find in the U.S. (Although Amazon sells it in many sizes, including the one I keep around.) (It’s also my favorite thing to put in pecan pie instead of corn syrup, if you need more convincing to pick some up.) I didn’t test the flapjacks with maple syrup but aside from it being thinner, I think it would work decently well as a substitute, as would honey, but only if you love the flavor because it will absolutely come through.

I found that quick-cooking oats (1-minute, not instant) work best here, holding the bars together better than old-fashioned rolled oats did. If you only have them, pulse them a couple times in a food processor to chop them down a little. Instant oats made the bars too tightly packed for my tastes. If you’re serving these to anyone with gluten sensitivities, make sure the oats are labeled gluten-free.

The base recipe here is, I think, lovely — simple, rich, sweet but somehow not excessively so for a treat, and definitely syrupy, a term that makes absolute sense once you bite in. They smell like caramel as they bake. Still, you could tweak the flavors more ways than I could list on two internets. Here are a few to get you started: replacing 1/4 of the oats with an equal weight of dried coconut, adding finely grated lemon zest, ground or candied ginger, ground cinnamon, dried fruit such as dates or figs, or even adding chocolate chunks. The only thing to consider is that the single biggest complaint I read in reviews of other flapjack recipes (but didn’t experience in a way I found problematic) is that the bars are crumbly (which, of course, with so little holding them together) and imagine that adding more chunky ingredients would further this.

  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) salted or unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (95 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (85 grams) golden syrup or honey or maple syrup (see Note)
  • 2 1/3 cups (about 220 grams) quick-cooking (1-minute) oats (see Note)
  • Flaky sea salt
  • 2/3 cup (115 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips (optional)
Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. In a medium-sized pot, melt butter with brown sugar, golden syrup, and a few pinches of flaky sea salt (omit if using salted butter) together over medium-high heat. Once bubbles form, simmer for one minute, then stir in oats off the heat. Spread in pan in an even layer and baked bars for 20 to 25 minutes, until deeply golden at edges. (Deeply golden bars have much more of a caramel-y flavor than pale ones.)

If you’d like to add chocolate, let them rest in their pan on a cooling rack for 3 to 4 minutes before sprinkling the chips all over, then waiting 5 minutes before spreading them in a single layer.

You can cool the flapjacks at room temperature but it goes faster (especially setting the chocolate) in the fridge. However, flapjacks taste best at room temperature, where they’re still stretchy and tender, so you want to keep them in an airtight container at room temperature. They keep for a week.

Every flapjack recipe on the internet tells you to cut them while they’re still warm or it’s too difficult later but I found them messy to cut while warm and really easy to cut cleanly once cool with a sharp, serrated knife, so I’m going to suggest you cut them once they’re fully cool. Use the parchment paper to slide them out of their pan onto a cutting board and cut them into 16 squares or into 4 large ones, then cut quarter diagonally to form 4 triangles.



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