It might not be the first thing you think of when British food comes to mind, but flapjack, for me, will always remind me of home.
We’ve always been a family that likes puddings and treats (double-desserting is not uncommon at my parents’ house), and a defining part of my chubby pre-teen days was sneaking down after bedtime to steal treats from the biscuit and cake tins that lived in the cupboard. Growing up at home, and throughout my university days when I would come home just a couple of times a year, there was always one constant: no matter when either me or my brother came back to that cake tin, it would be full of buttery, comforting, delicious flapjack.
My mum has always been great at baking, but flapjack is her forte. It always comes out perfect, and with enough sugar to make even the most stable blood sugar levels start quaking in their boots.
This is my attempt to both veganify and de-sugarify my mum’s awesome recipe – and it worked! The molasses and agave displace the sugar, and the canola oil gets rid of the butter. The oil and sweeteners combination still leaves it butter, squishy and very decadent, but it’s slightly less likely to leave you in a pre-diabetic coma now.
(Makes 12-15 slices)
3 cups rolled oats (make sure they’re gluten-free if you want a gluten-free treat)
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
1/4 agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius
Melt the oil, blackstrap molasses, agave nectar and vanilla together in a pan over a low heat and stir well
When combined, stir in the oats and mix thoroughly
Pour into a greased 8×8 inch pan and press down as much as you cake
Bake for 25 minutes, until the flapjack is starting to brown at the edges
Leave to cool for 10 minutes
Cut into squares and leave until fully cold, then serve
The molasses in this recipe gives not only a good dose of iron, but a great smoky flavour too. The harshness of this is slightly offset by the vanilla, leaving a deep, delicious taste in your mouth.
As it happens, flapjack was actually mentioned in a Shakespeare play – so maybe it is far more British than you think!