I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve tried – and failed – to make a flapjack as soft, chewy and delicious as the traditional kind, but without the buckets of butter and sugar that are usually called for. Everything I made was either rock hard, fell apart in my hands, or tasted far too healthified for my liking. Whilst I care about eating well, I don’t believe that taste should be sacrificed in the process; what is the point in eating something just because it’s mildly less unhealthy than a far tastier alternative? Better to have one real, unhealthy, delicious flapjack than 10 mediocre healthified ones, I say.
So I gave up for a while, resigning myself to the fact that flapjacks could only ever be butter and sugar laden and that I’d just have to deal with it. Until, that is, essay procrastination gave way – as it so often does – to a burst of creativity in the kitchen. Instead of trying yet another complex and dubious looking “healthy flapjack” recipe, I took a standard, popular flapjack recipe (from BBC Good Food, a wonderful and frequent source of cooking inspiration) and simply replaced the standard ingredients for more nutritious alternatives. Butter became almond butter, brown sugar became chopped dates, and golden syrup became pure, unrefined maple syrup (I’m sure honey would work well too!). I tried both baking and freezing; freezing worked far better. The overall result? My favourite flapjacks to date. These are soft and chewy but hold together well. And, according to MyFitnessPal, each one contains 9g of protein and 6g of fibre. Don’t mind if I do.
It’s a very versatile recipe and there’s plenty of room to play around with it to suit your taste. The first time I kept it fairly classic, adding some sunflower seeds and raisins, and the second time I omitted these and covered it in this chocolate glaze instead. I love it both ways, and will continue to change it up, but honestly, the chocolate really adds something special. I couldn’t even wait for it to set properly before taking pictures and devouring it!
(Oh, and I still haven’t done that essay…)
For the flapjacks:
-250g porridge oats
-125g pitted, chopped dates
-125g almond butter
-½ cup water (you may need more than this if you add additional items like raisins or seeds)
-3 tbsps pure maple syrup
-1tsp vanilla extract
-anything else you fancy!
for the chocolate topping:
-2tbsps coconut oil
-2tbsps maple syrup
-1.5 tbsps cocoa powder
- Add all the flapjack ingredients (except any additional add-ins like raisins) to a food processor and pulse until combined; you want the oats to stay chunky, though. It should create a very thick, stiff mixture. Add anything extra at this point (you may need more water).
- Transfer this mixture to a 7” square tin lined with greaseproof paper and push it into all corners, smoothing with the back of a spoon. It might take a while as it’s very stiff but it is possible! Put this in the freezer while you make the glaze.
- For the glaze: add all the ingredients into a small saucepan and heat gently until all melted and combined. Pour over the flapjack and return to freezer until set.
- Cut into 9 squares, and store any leftovers in the fridge.