Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eureka! At Last, the Perfect Flapjack!


I was totally thrown the first time Matt ordered a flapjack at the Mill on my very first day in Salisbury last November.  In the US "flapjack" is just another term for "pancake" so I was surprised when they brought this strange little oat-y square to the table on a little plate.  It didn't take long for me to fall in love, though, and Matt not only brought several Chunky Chocolate flapjack bars (yum) from M&S when he came to visit but he even posted some to me.  I love flapjacks. 

I've tried making them several times and only twice did they turn out inedible.  Once when I made them when I still lived in the US and couldn't get my hands on any Golden Syrup and recently when I couldn't read my own recipe since I'd made so many changes and I doubled the brown sugar.  Little hockey pucks both times.  My other attempts were really good but a little too crumbly for my taste.  I tried a little more butter this time, a little more oats that time and a wee little bit more Golden Syrup another time.

Little did I know that I wouldn't find the right recipe until I made them with Matt who decided we should add a lot more Golden Syrup. 

Golden-syrup What is Golden Syrup?  Wikipedia calls it sugar syrup and a pale treacle; I call it heaven.  Whatever it is, there's nothing like it readily available in Ohio and it's what makes a flapjack a flapjack.

Matt just pointed out to me that that is a dead lion on the can.  I'd never taken a close look it it and thought it was just the side of a standing lion.  Nope, he's dead and surrounded by a swarm of bees.  I found this explanation on the Lyle's website:

Abram Lyle [the man who started the company in 1921] had strong religious beliefs, which is why the Lyle's
Golden Syrup trademark depicts a quotation from the Bible. In the Old
Testament (Book of Judges 14:14) Samson was travelling to the land of
the Philistines in search of a wife.  During the journey he killed a
lion, and on his return past the same spot he noticed that a swarm of
bees had formed a comb of honey in the carcass.  Samson later turned
this into a riddle: "Out of the eater came forth meat and out of the
strong came forth sweetness". 

However, no-one knows why Abram chose the wording 'Out of the strong
came forth sweetness'.  Was he referring to the tin holding the syrup -
or the company producing it?

Interesting but I could have done without realizing the lion was dead.  Thanks, honey.  ;)

The closest you could probably get to a flapjack in the US would probably be baked oatmeal.  In texture it's more like a granola bar than baked oatmeal but the taste is fairly close and I just love baked oatmeal.  I had a really great recipe but it's stored on my desktop computer and, unfortunately, it's still in a box on the floor behind me.  This seems like it might be close, though.

And here is my flapjack recipe (if you can call two lines a recipe, that is).  I'm sure it's like a million others out there but this is the one I like best.  Matt gives it his stamp of approval, too.  

Viking Flapjacks

Slowly melt 80g light brown sugar, 110g butter and 110g Golden Syrup over low heat and stir well.  Stir in 300g jumbo oats and press into a buttered tin and bake at 180 C/350 F for 25 minutes.

I've added dried apricots several times with yummy results and we bought some dried cranberries last night so I'm looking forward to throwing those in next time.  Not very surprisingly, though, we're out of oats.  I'll have to take care of that tomorrow for sure because there are only two flapjacks left in the kitchen!

Flapjack up close

P.S. Speaking of flapjacks - this is really cute!


  1. Finally! the flapjack post! now I can sleep at night - well, except now I can't again, because I'll never have a proper flapjack due to that damn golden syrup situation! i vow to replicate it here! (or at least make something that tastes like I think yours looks like it would taste like! ha! that's the beauty of never having the real thing - i can just say to myself "by gum, I think this is totally dead ON!"

  2. I would think that jungle jim's has golden syrup... now I'm going to have to check!

  3. Ok, this is ridiculous, but I still haven't made flapjacks - even after I made such a fuss about your delay with the recipe! now, ma'am, I need this in English - and by English, I mean American! i'm not weighing out grams of brown sugar!