How Much Butter??

Flapjacks are a real taste of childhood. I remember standing next to my mum at the cooker, stirring, stirring oats in warm, melted sugary butter, until they glistened. Then we would press the sticky mixture out into a baking pan, baking them until the kitchen was filled with the smell of butter and hot oats. Sometimes we would pour melted chocolate over the top, once they had cooled. Other times we had them just plain, still warm from the pan so they crumbled into your lap as you tucked into them.
It seems to me that you reach a certain age when you ‘grow out’ of the treats that you begged your mum to make when you were just that bit younger. They become old-fashioned and are replaced by things like Big Macs.
Since reaching 30 though, I have become fascinated with those ‘old-fashioned’ foods, the foods that my grandmother made and her mother before her. Kathryn at Kathryn Cooks with Jamie recently wrote about a similar phenomenon when she made a beautiful Victoria Sponge, oozing with pure white cream and red, red berries. All of a sudden, these foods that we eschewed for more ‘sophisticated’ cuisines are piquing our taste buds again.
Nigella Lawsons How To Be A Domestic Goddess is virtually a bible devoted to home cooking as we remember it and is indispensable for her cheese and onion pasties, scones and fairy cakes (which got replaced sometime in the late 90s by the ritzier, glitzier Cupcake – Americas culinary version of the Barbie Doll compared to Britains Sindy Doll: bigger and blonder if everyway).
I hadn't eaten Flapjacks in probably ten years when, flipping through the Green and Blacks chocolate cookbook, I glanced upon a fabulous sounding recipe for Chocolate (what else?) Flapjacks.
"Do you like Flapjacks?" I asked Paul, "Sure" he replied and so the wheels were set in motion. I left him to his blog tweaking whilst I retired to the kitchen and started gathering all the ingredients.
I was a little shocked (and my heart valves gave an extra wince as well, I'm sure) when I read the quantity of butter: 350g! This is one and a half English size packs! Or, to put it another way, a big, huge lot!
As luck would have it, I only had one block of butter left anyway so I was forced to reduce the recipe by 100g or thereabouts. Mathematics is not my strong point but I did some judicial mental arithmatic and reduced all the other ingredients by eye. I think they turned out OK though, if maybe a little dry (my boss's comment, not mine).
The recipe also required two types of oats: Whole Scottish Oats (the only kind that Paul will eat, he being an Oatmeal expert) and Processed (or rolled) Oats. I rather reluctantly used Ready Brek for the latter although I have my suspicions that it was the Brek that contributed to the overall slightly dry texture of the Flapjacks. I can't resist Ready Brek though, I love its twinkly whiteness as you sprinkle into the bowl, like flakes of snow.
Anyway, I replicate the recipe in full here for you now. If you wish to be daring like me and reduce the butter and therefore the other ingredients, then go ahead. The reduced batch still made about 20 3" squares of delicious oaty goodness that are just crying out to be drizzled in some melted chocolate...
CHOCOLATE FLAPJACKS makes about 20 depending on what size you cut them into
350g Butter
3 Tablespoons Golden Syrup
175g each of Soft Brown Sugar and Muscovado Sugar (I used light because thats all I had) to make 350g of sugar altogether!
275g Rolled or Processed Oats (instant oats)
150g Whole Oats
8 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder (Green and Blacks has the richest, darkest flavour but any good quality cocoa will do)
2 Tablespoons Shredded Coconut (optional)
Preheat Oven to 140c.
Melt the butter into a large saucepan (I made the big mistake of using a small saucepan and inadvertantly sprayed melted butter and sugar on my new sweater - sorry Mark and Sarah!) over low heat. Add the Golden Syrup and Sugars and stir until the granules have melted. Do not let boil.
Add all the other ingredients, removing pan from the heat, and stir well to combine. You should have a shiny, dark mixture.
Press into a greased pan about 7" x 11" square and bake for 18-20 minutes. They need to be still soft in the middle to have that delicious chewy texture.
Wait for 20 minutes, then cut into squares. Do not remove from the tin until cold. Drizzle with some melted chocolate if desired. N.B. they do sort of resemble clumps of dried horse manure but don't let that put you off!


Charlotte said...

I loved flapjacks as a child too, although in South Africa we called them crunchies for some reason - probably because when they dry out they crunch as you bite them. And that odd horse-manurey texture adds to their charm.

wheresmymind said...

I always thought flapjacks were pancakes...go figure!

Kathryn said...

I have actually made flapjacks quite a lot. My nana used to make us them when were kids and I loved them. My take on them has habitually been a lovely choc chip version from a chocolate cookbook I have. I find flapjack kind of comforting, and nice and easy to make - though sometimes it sticks:).

Any weekend culinary projects?

Kathryn x

Kristen said...

I'm with Jeff... flapjacks to me have always meant pancakes. It's so interesting how the same word can mean entirely different things!

Freya and Paul Erickson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Writing At The Kitchen Table said...

Hi Charlotte, you can buy them here in petrol stations (I buy lots of snacks in petrol stations!) but they taste very doughy, not at all crunchy which is why I like the homemade ones!
Kathryn, thanks for the email! I am making roast chicken tomorrow and for dessert a Marmalade Cake, how about you? How was the curry? I'm very envious!

Jeff and Kristen, so when I asked my husband (whose from WI) if he wanted flapjacks, he was probably expecting pancakes. No wonder he looked so shocked! There's always massive confusion over pudding too...

Sarah said...

Hey Freya!

I left a comment under the belated Cajun entry!

Hope you're doing well!


Shaun said...

Freya, love - I recall having flapjacks once in a while as a kid, usually when I wanted a cookie of sorts, but not one of the chocolate, very buttery, or marshmellow (which I've really come to dislike) variety. I don't recall what they were called, though - perhaps "oat cookies" was the layman's term for them, but certainly not "flapjacks". Love the new look to the blog; the green really works.

Ros said...

Mmmmm....flapjacks. Goon's mum makes flapjacks and he brings them back with him when he goes home to visit. I actually have to get him to hide them from me or else they'd all disappear in about three minute and I'd have a coronary. It's for the same reason that I never make them myself and I restrain myself from buying baking books.