Out of the Oven: British Flapjacks

14 Mar

I finally got around to making the British Flapjacks chosen by several voters last Friday. (Check out my previous post here for the original post).

First of all, I have to say that making the flapjacks was the easiest baking challenge I have ever done. In fact, it was not even a challenge even when taking in the time I started preparing. I debated whether or not to start because it was approximately 7:15 p.m. However as I was preparing all the oats, syrup, and sugar, I realized that the directions in the Bon Appetit article “Bar None” by Molly Wizenberg were fewer than 5 steps.

I literally looked at the microwave clock, then the ingredients neatly resting in their bowls, the clock again, and then back at the ingredients. I peered into the other room where my mom was sitting in front of the couch watching the 7 p.m. news. I wondered, “Should I? Do I have time?”

I stated to answer my own question, “Maybe if …” But before I could dissuade myself from stopping, I preheated the oven, buttered the pan, and mixed all the ingredients together. I carefully guided the gooey mass of oats, sugar, and syrup into the pan, placed the pan in the oven, and then set the timer.

British Flapjacks

And that’s when I saw it: the time. It was only 7:36 p.m. I stared at the glowing numbers. “Really? That’s all it took? 30 minutes to prep?” I am so accustomed to slaving away in the kitchen to produce a batch of anything that I could not believe it had only taken 30 minutes.

Because of the ease of the recipe, I’m sure you too – if you choose to try baking the flapjacks, which I suggest – will find this a recipe worth keeping. If I must compare the process, I must say that author Molly Wizenberg describes it best, “the method is, weirdly enough, very similar to the process for making Rice Krispies Treats: Melt butter and something sweet in a saucepan, add cereal, then press the mixture into a pan.”

But I must warn you when you make this you will just die with each mouthful of flavor. Again, in the words of Molly Wizenberg, “On first appraisal, it was all about texture, chewy in the center and crisp around the edges. But about two chews in, the flavor came: deep and hearty, the way good oatmeal can be, with a gentle amount of sweetness and a good hit of butter. I now think of this as the Flapjack Reveal. You take a bite, and it tastes good, if a little wholesome. But you keep chewing, and in a second or two, the flavor opens up threefold, big and toasty and rich, and your salivary glands start going, and you think, This is delicious. I don’t know what this thing is, but I’m going to need another.

British Flapjacks

Recipe from Molly Wizenberg, Bon Appetit

Makes 16 cookie bars


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup*
  • 2 1/3 cups quick-cooking oats (not instant or old-fashioned) (If using old-fashioned, add 17 more minutes to baking time, and check back before the last 5 minutes).
  • Pinch of salt

* A type of syrup popular in Great Britain; available at some supermarkets, specialty foods stores, and British import shops


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan.
  3. Combine first 3 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until butter melts, sugar dissolves, and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Add oats and salt; stir until coated. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread out in even layer.
  4. Bake until top is golden (edges will be darker), about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 5 minutes. Cut into 4 squares; cut each into 4 triangles (mixture will still be soft). Cool completely in pan before serving.

There you go – recipe and all! I highly suggest that you try making these delicious British cookie bars. They are truly a cross between a chewy oatmeal cookie and a crunchy granola bar. The taste has this familiar aspect of it but also this exotic taste.I suppose it’s familiar because of the oatmeal flavor and the “homemade-ness” from a simple oven, but there’s something about it that makes it just a delightful morning or afternoon snack.

British Flapjacks


4 Responses to “Out of the Oven: British Flapjacks”

  1. Jolly March 21, 2010 at 5:36 pm #

    Hello Nell,

    The recipe looks delicious, with and added bonus eating oats is highly nutritious due to its high fiber content.

    I went to bon appetit to check out the recipe for more tips and read the reviews on the recipe. While browsing around I noticed the picture of Molly’s Flapjacks her flapjacks really looked different. Its apparent she used quick cooking oatmeal which made her cookies look more like a bar cookie.

    And you used the Old Fashion oat meal.

    What a difference in the looks of the bar cookies. Your cookies looked like granola bars, apparently the quick oatmeal breaks down a lot more when baked and no doubt has less nutritional values.

    “OK! When I baked up the recipe I didn’t have instant oatmeal so I substituted a nine grain cereal, added 4 grams wheat germ, toasted the cereal along with the wheat germ, for added flavor, and chopped cereal lightly in my coffee grinder to look more like quick cooking oatmeal. It worked great!

    I’m a health nut so, I added 1 Tbsp light molasses, and 3 TBSP flavored pecan golden maple syrup, and 1 tsp vanilla. “Wow! The bar cookies were absolutely delicious.

    Jut had to tell you Nell, this is and awesome recipe and its easy to adapt. Loved your easy challenge.

    • notebookworthy March 21, 2010 at 6:01 pm #

      Hi Jolly,

      It’s true – Molly’s flapjacks and my flapjacks look different. I didn’t realize that her recipe called for quick cooking oats, but I decided that I would improvise and see where the Old Fashion oats took me. Nonetheless, I have to say they still turned out really tasty. All were eaten that night and the next morning for breakfast.

      Oh, and I’m a health nut too, so I’m going to try your version as soon as I can. But first, grocery shopping for a nine grain cereal and wheat germ!

      Thanks for the comment and check back for more future challenges.


  2. Jolly March 24, 2010 at 1:03 am #

    Hello Nell:

    I’m going to make another batch this time I’m going to add 1 tsp lightly ground Chia seeds, along with toasted chopped sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds, 2 TBSP each. Plus 1/4 cup each raisins a craisins.

    Chia is used for enhancing flavor and its loaded with scads of nutritional values.

    I love the simplicity of this recipe because I can just keep adding to the recipe. Thanks for the recipe this one is a keeper

    The syrup I bought and used was by:
    Blackberry Fields Breakfast & Dessert Topping
    Rich Maple Praline Flavored Syrup

    The Nine Grain Cereal I used is from Montana Milling. Its all flakes, watch out sometimes these cereals come with rice or millet and wheat. Make sure you buy and all grain flaked cereal. Montana Milling Nine Grain Cereal also contains a few flax seeds, but that’s it.

    Upon reading the recipe for the first time. I said I can’t make the bars because I don’t have quick cooking oats. Looked the recipe over again, then I noticed you had used Old Fashion Oats. So I quickly decided to adapt the recipe as you did using the Nine Grain Cereal.

    Did you omit adding the raisins as and ingredient? I didn’t see them listed or did I over look them in the recipe?

    Thanks Jolly

    • notebookworthy March 24, 2010 at 7:29 am #

      Hi Jolly,

      I’m glad you find this recipe a keeper! There are certain ones that are really just perfect for the home, you know?

      I added the raisins in on my own. It was a rather spur-of-the-moment thing. I almost regretted it too because while the bars were cooking, I saw the raisins puff up and start to soak in the syrup until they looked like mable-sized grapes. Thankfully, the heat eventually got to them and they returned
      back to their original size. In the end, they gave the bars a chewy texture. Adding them, of course, is optional though craisins sound like a good addition too.

      Let me know how your second batch turns out. I’d love to see any pictures that you have, so feel free to email me at nell.notebook@yahoo.com

      Happy baking!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: