Cooking from my cookbook: Flapjack success or disaster?

Proving a recipe can just be a guide, not set in stone instructions, I make a few changes to the flapjack recipe and still manage something tasty!

After a successful first attempt at baking from my new copy of 'The Great Book of British Baking' (the rock cakes proved so popular they were made again a few days later), it was the ingredients I had in my cupboard that decided what my next baking challenge would be.

You know when you have something that just sits in your cupboard waiting to be cooked but you're not entirely sure what to do with it? I've had a tin of dark treacle in mine since Halloween (hence the packaging!). It seemed about time I tried to cook something with it and found a recipe for flapjacks which I then tore to pieces (not literally).

150g unsalted butter
125g light brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
200g jumbo porridge oats
a pinch of salt
75g unsalted mixed nuts (can be replaced with dried fruit or chocolate chips!)
a 20cm square tin, greased with butter (or any tin you have that will fit the mixture!)
(Cook on gas 2 for 25 to 30 minutes)


The syrup was replaced with the treacle, the suggested nuts were replaced with dried fruit, the butter used was dairy free margarine, the jumbo porridge oats were replaced with regular porridge oats and the rectangle baking dish became circular. Also, as the dark treacle was so very strong I cut the amount of sugar used in the mixture by a few grams. Other than that, it's exactly the same recipe!

The weirdest thing about making these flapjacks is that when you put the margarine, sugar and treacle into a pan it looks just like ice cream. As it slowly melts on the low heat it just looks like you're mixing chocolate sauce into vanilla ice cream until it goes runny. Then you remember it's just margarine and the thought of eating it as is just goes right out the window. Once the mixture is runny, you add in the porridge, salt and mixed fruit (or nuts - up to you!) and stir it all into one gloopy mess.

It's that simple. Pour it into the tray, cook it on an obscenely low heat for 20-30 minutes and take it out. I just guessed according to how long it had been in the oven to be honest. It seemed to work. There's one rather important issue with cooking something until it's 'golden brown'? When it's that colour before it goes in the oven, how on earth do you know when it's ready?

Success or disaster?

These flapjacks are incredibly rich but the reduced amount of treacle and the added mixed fruit really made them a success. I think without the fruit, it would have been too rich, even for me. If they weren't so full of sugar, I'd make flapjacks far more often.

Amanda Keats is a recovering vegetarian who is rediscovering her love of cooking. Follow Amanda Keats on Twitter and Facebook.

More Lifestyle articles by Amanda:
Cooking from my cookbook: Chocolate Shortbread success or disaster?
Unusual veggies and what to do with them
How I live with a Repetitive Stress Injury
The height of the matter: Banishing tall women from the high street