Flapjack Recipe (Both Chewy & Crunchy Versions)
A simple to make oaty cake that is sweet, moist &
chewy (or caramel
flavoured, hard & crunchy).
- Mix oats with melted margarine, golden syrup &
- Takes approximately: 5 min work, 25 min cooking,
60 min total.
|Chopped rolled (cheap porridge) oats
|Rolled (premium porridge) oats
Oven. Hob & saucepan (or microwave oven with
microwaveable bowl). Knife,
chopstick, wooden spoon or similar (to mix ingredients with). Pallet
press into cake tin with). Scales & spoons (or just estimate).
shallow baking tin about 20 cm sided. Baking paper (or reusable equivalent).
Detailed Instructions for Chewy Flapjack
- Put the 150 g of margarine, 75 g of sugar
& 75 g of golden syrup in saucepan (or microwaveable
bowl if using a microwave oven) and heat until it is all liquid.
- Meanwhile line the baking tin with greaseproof paper.
- Mix all the oats (125 g of chopped rolled
& 125 g of rolled) into the liquid.
- Put the mixture into the baking tin & press flat.
- Bake at 175 °C (Gas Mark 4) for 25 to 30 minutes.
Warning: the timing is
tolerant but accuracy in temperature is critical.
- Slice into 8 fingers (by cutting into half along the
of two sides and into quarters perpendicular to the first cut) before
but leave in place in tin.
- Leave to cool and set.
The recipe is identical to chewy version but cook at
15 °C (one Gas
Mark) hotter. This is 190 °C (Gas Mark 5).
The chewy and brittle versions can be make simultaneously from
the same mix
by baking them on different shelves in the same oven provided the oven
have forced temperature equalisation (e.g. a fan oven) by utilising the
temperature differences between shelves. In my gas oven, I can bake
flapjack on the middle shelve whilst baking brittle flapjack on the top
shelf. (Great for the indecisive :-) .)
The recipe is identical to above but mix in some raisins
before baking (obviously).
The recipe is identical to above but just use butter instead
margarine. I thought it was only a relatively a slight improvement
flavour until a reader told me that it needed to be normal salted
butter not unsalted cooking butter, it then gave a noticeable buttery
taste to the flapjack. The butter also gives a very distinctive and
tempting buttery smell to the flapjack. Furthermore, "all-butter"
sounds good in the name!
Replace the golden syrup in the recipe with 100 g of
apricot jam (low sugar jam typically tastes more fruity) and reduce the
additional sugar from 75 g to 40 g. The result has a
apricot flavour instead of a mild golden syrup flavour (and is slightly
Golden Syrup: Explanation & Alternatives for Cooks
outside the UK
most frequent questions & suggestions I have had from readers anent
my recipes on this website have been from readers from
North America as to what
'golden syrup' is & what could be obtained locally as a
substitute. Until I started receiving the emails I had mistakenly
assumed that golden syrup was a common generic form of liquid sugar
worldwide but it seems that it is primarily a UK thing.
Syrup' is the British English name for a common cheap viscous
syrup. It is golden brown, transparent, about 80% sugar & 20%
made from a cane sugar solution that has been partially 'inverted'
split into glucose & fructose to make it sweeter). It has a
butterscotch taste and is often erroneously called 'treacle' because
real treacle, is used with breadcrumbs & shortcrust pastry to
tart'; real 'treacle' is much darker, a bit bitter & more
molasses-like. Treacle is probably uncommon in the USA because of the
The following alternatives are based on advice from readers, what I
know from chemistry and what I have found by looking up ingredients on
the WWW. Probably most will work but bear in mind that I have not
actually tested any (other than the honey) myself:
- Golden syrup can be
found in the international/gourmet section of some USA supermarkets but
it is expensive (which rather defeats the original reason it was in the
- The first USA reader to give a suggestion
recommended maple syrup, had tried it and reported that it
very good. I imagine that it would be tasty but maple syrup is, at
least in the UK, far more expensive than golden syrup (over ten times
- Another USA reader later informed me that 'corn syrup' is the USA
syrup is similar but is made from maize starch and its sugar is just glucose.
- A derivative of corn syrup that made by converting some of the glucose to fructose, 'high
syrup' (a.k.a. 'HFCS' or 'isoglucose'), is probably chemically closer
- Another USA reader then told me that corn syrup is often called
its most well known brand. According to the ingredients on the Karo
Karo Syrup is a mixture of corn syrup & HFCS but contains a
non-sugar carbohydrate content.
reader, one who has lived in both the UK
told me that corn syrup is not as sweet as golden syrup and both it and
syrup are runnier. That reader recommended honey. I tried it (it is
much more expensive than golden syrup in the UK but still cheaper than
maple syrup) and found it tasted good (but the honey taste was
surprisingly mild so it is probably not worth the expense unless one is
making luxury flapjacks and can label them as containing honey).
reader who has lived in both counties told me that corn syrup is
available in 'light' & 'dark' varieties and the dark one is
probably the better golden syrup substitute. They noted that sorghum
syrup is available in some parts of the USA, is like "a very mellow
molasses/golden syrup cross" and has a viscosity similar to golden
syrup and so suggested a mix of dark corn syrup with honey or sorghum
syrup with light corn syrup.
USA reader suggested making ones own golden syrup substitute by boiling
sugar in a small amount of water until it starts to caramelise. That is
really ironic as one of the key innovations in my simplified Sachertorte recipe was replacing the tedious boiling of sugar to just the right degree with simply using golden syrup!
USA reader reported that Lyle's (the premium brand) golden syrup was
available in the USA from an online shop specialising in British
nostalgia items. However (even excluding postage) it was 3 times the
price it was in UK supermarkets & 6 times the price of the
USA reader reported that Lyle's golden syrup was
available in Louisiana in shops that provide for Cajun cooking (but sometimes labelled 'treacle').
- Another USA reported that corn syrup has had health scares such as claimed mercury contamination. Personally I
think the obvious fattening & diabetic problems from its high
sugar content far outweigh such speculative/rare risks.
- A reader from Canada reports that golden syrup is readily available from normal supermarkets there.
have read that in some parts of the USA a 'flapjack' still retains its
an older meaning as a type of pancake. If that is what you were looking
for then sorry but this is not the recipe you were looking for!
flapjack was traditionally a cheap cake easy to make cake using
ingredients that were to hand and probably dates from late 19th
or early 20th century in the UK, golden syrup almost certainly
became an ingredient simply because it was the cheapest thick tasty
sugar syrup locally available. Therefore it I assume it is perfectly in
the tradition of flapjack to substitute whatever the local thick tasty
cheap sugar syrup is and to adjust the proportions of ingredients to
suit the viscosity of that syrup.
- The names for chopped rolled & rolled oats vary a
lot, sometimes even within the same supermarket in the UK.
Usually chopped oats in the UK are labelled 'porridge oats' but
'oats' and both terms can be used for rolled oats too. Typically
cheaper brands (e.g. generics) are chopped almost to dust and premium
brands (e.g. organic or slow grown Scottish) are more likely to be
rolled staying as whole flattened grains. I usually resort to looking
in the packet (if transparent) or feeling (if a soft bag)!
- The rolled oats are not vital. Flapjack can be made from
pure cheap porridge chopped oats
but the texture is less interesting. However, pure rolled oats does not
well because the resulting cake is very fragile.
- What is commonly called margarine in the UK, as I have done in this recipe,
is not officially 'margarine' but something
typically labelled unhelpfully 'spread', 'baking' or similar
(it relies on people to recognise it in the supermarket from the
context). This because the word 'margarine' in UK trade description is
archaically reserved for very high (80%) fat content margarines. These
days additives have allowed most margarines to be made with lower fat
content than that so the margarines cannot legally be called
'margarine'! The manufacturers could instead label it as "fat with some
water", I suppose, but they don't as that might put off some customers.
The margarines & butters I use for flapjack are typically 70-80%
fat but even 50% fat low fat margarine can work (despite being labelled as not suitable for
baking) if quantities are adjusted accordingly..
- I have not calibrated my oven (I just relied on its
thermostat) so please
check your oven produces flapjack the way you like it and adjust the
temperature accordingly before producing a big batch. My oven, being a
reaches its final temperature quickly; if your is an electric one
without a fan
assist it will take far longer to warm up and save time &
cooking as it warms up then the nominal settings may be very different.
chewy version is not very sticky so cheaper greaseproof paper (which is
intended for wrapping rather than as non-stick but often is reasonably
non-stick too) might be usable instead of baking paper. However, the crunchy version is much more likely to stick to greaseproof paper so it is best to use baking paper if making that.
- Lard is not a good replacement for the margarine/butter. It is not only even more unhealthy but is upsetting
to vegetarian guests and makes much more solid feeling cake without the
melt-in-the-mouth feel as it has a higher melting point.
- This is a remarkably cheap cake because it can be made with
chocolate, fruit or alcohol.
This is a family recipe except for the details. The original
simply "Melt margarine, sugar & golden syrup in the ratio
sufficient porridge oats. Bake with whatever else is being cooked." and
sometimes produced a chewy cake, sometimes a brittle one. When I came
to make it for a party, I experimented
different temperatures, times & compositions
to remove the chance
element to get it reliably chewy. Whilst the experiments were cooking,
telephoned and told me she liked flapjack hard so I recorded how to
flapjack as well. The rolled oats instead of porridge oats were
accident when I bought the wrong type of oats but found they worked
well. The jam version was suggested by a reader of this site.