Flapjack Woes

flapjackI grew up in England and one of my favourite treats was a flapjack. They are moist and slightly chewy oatmeal bar thingies (great description, I know). I have tried several times to make them and no matter what I do, they just don’t turn out. I have used two different tried and true recipes and it’s just not working for me, at all. This is really disappointing and I am not sure how to remedy it. Today we woke up to more snow, not enough to play in, not even enough to look pretty. Just enough to make the sky a dull grey, so mid morning after being on the phone trying to deal with the hospital trying to overcharge me by $40,000 (long story…) I got everything out to make some flapjacks. I followed the recipe to a T and once again they flopped. Only the very top layer actually stuck together, the rest has to be eaten with a spoon as none of it stuck together at all. In the picture, it is just a very thin layer of flapjack balanced on my mug. Does anyone have any idea why this is happening and how I can fix it? I would really appreciate any help I can get as I really miss having a good flapjack.

food • Saturday, November 14th, 2009 • 23 Comments »
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23 Responses to “Flapjack Woes”

  1. Petit Filoux says:

    Hey!! Oh I feel very sorry for you, flapjacks are so nice!!! Let me try and fetch my recipe… There, I’ve got it. Maybe you’re not using the right ingredients? This is what I usually use:
    – 180g butter
    – 180g brown sugar
    – 210g rolled oats (porridge oats)
    – 1 tablespoon golden syrup
    – small pinch of salt
    Grease cake tin with a little butter. Melt butter, sugar and syrup in a pan over very low heat (don’t let it boil). Take pan off the heat, mix in the oats and salt. Stir with a spoon until evenly coloured. Tip in the baking tray and press down with back of a spoon. Place in preheated oven at 175 degrees C for 25min. Place on cooling rack and cut in segments when still a bit warm.
    Hope this works out for you!!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Petit Filoux, they are bigger amounts, but it’s basically the same. Both of the recipes I have tried are from British friends (one of whom made her flapjacks all the time when we were kids), so I know they work, but I can’t figure out why they aren’t working for me. I don’t think the high altitude should affect it that much. It’s just bizarre. Thanks for trying to help.

  3. marisa says:

    i saw the title of this post and thought it was going to be about pancakes. i had no idea flapjacks meant something different in the UK. šŸ™‚

  4. Sandie says:

    Mr Dancing is the flapjack king in this house… we’ve just arrrived home after a couple of days away but will ask him tomorrow for his recipe!

  5. kristina says:

    Oh dear. How frustrating. Are you using Lyle’s Golden Syrup (as they just don’t work with American corn syrup)? K x

  6. Anna, Sydney says:

    I had some issues with oat recipes when I first moved to Australia. Do you have different types of oats? Some types over here just does not seem to stick to anything. Can you soak them first in something? Sorry, not very helpful, I know. (lovely pic again)

  7. Jennifer says:

    Kristina, yes I am using Golden Syrup (it would be sacrilege to use anything else šŸ™‚

    Anna, that’s what I was thinking, it must be that the oats are just different enough.

    Would anybody be able to describe the oats you use. Is it more like what we call Scottish oatmeal (a mix of steel oats and what must be ground oats as well, because it’s quite powdery). Our rolled oats just aren’t cutting it. I really want to get this right, but it’s depleting my golden syrup too quickly for flapjacks that don’t turn out.

  8. Emily says:

    Have just checked my oats and that is all they are 100% organic oats – I have used various sizes too -just what I happen to have to make porridge. Could it be the temperature of your oven? It needs to be not too hot 160c (approx320F) for 25-30 mins? Have to say I am a bit of a seat of my pants baker and will happily change things around depending on what I have available, so sometimes my flapjacks are crunchy and others are more chewy but all taste fine so I dont think it can be about following the recipe exactly! If it doesn’t work email me your address and i’ll send you the English ingredients for christmas – hate to think of you suffering from flapjack woe! Ps. As my older son is called Jack, we also have flapsams in our house -specially renamed for when my younger son Sam makes them!!! šŸ™‚

  9. Flapjacks sound delicious. I want to try to make them. I know how it is to attempt a recipe and have it blow up in your face, though. I spent a year in England and I love British food! Yay for digestives!

  10. Gill says:

    I’m thinking that they need a little longer in the oven, with perhaps a little firmer hand when it comes to pressing the mixture into the tin?

    Just my 2 penn’orth…not claiming to be a flapjack expert but knowing from experience how disappointing it is when they turn out not quite as you hoped.

    Good to find your blog

    Gill, in Gloucestershire UK

  11. Jennifer says:

    Emily, flapsams, I love it.

    Old School/New School Mom, I’ve been hoarding a big package of digestives my mom brought back after her recent trip to England, I love them too.

    Gill, thanks for the advice. When I pulled them out the edges were already getting rock hard, so I’m not sure that they need more time and I was really good about pressing them down firmly. I’m just stumped as to what’s going on, and nobody else seems to have had this problem. So glad you stopped by, I grew up in Cheltenham, miss it so.

  12. gardenmama says:

    I hope you are able to perfect your recipe, it sounds like such a nice comfort of home for you. I would love to hear your recipe!
    Many warm wishes!

  13. I had a recipe in a kids children’s book, we made it all the time, but not sure where it is so can’t help

    how about trying Recipezaar.com – there is a forum section there and some great recipes and an ‘English’ section – you could post a message they may be able to help


  14. felicity says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    thanks for popping to my blog and leaving a comment im glad you did! i love finding new blogs. i made flap jacks a few years ago from a beginners step by step cook book, have you done a search on google for a no thrills basic flap jack recipe, i’ve got a little bero book which you can get free or look here http://www.be-ro.com/f_insp.htm its got some great english cakes and dishes. fliss xx

  15. Charlotte says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    Do you know, I have almost exactly the same problem!! I am HOPELESS at flapjacks and cannot understand what goes wrong as all the recipes suggest they are so simple to make and really they are…

    I am rushing a little at the moment (so, so, so snowed under with Christmas orders) but am definitely going to come back and read this thread more thoroughly for the tips and hints.

    Oh and it is making me so hungry!!

    Love Charlotte

    ps When I make flapjacks and they don’t stick together, it is quite nice to have the ‘bits’ as a breakfast cereal šŸ™‚

  16. Debbie P says:

    Hi! If you go to Lucy’s blog, Attic24, she has a marvelous recipe for flapjacks! Love your site, just started reading it and LOVE it!!!! Hope your flapjacks turn out!
    Hugs from Indiana

  17. Jennifer says:

    Thanks everybody. I have been doing more research and trying to pinpoint the problem. It looks like I’ll have to do some experimenting. One of the recipes I used was Lucy’s, so I know it’s not the recipe that is the problem, hers are always excellent. I will figure it out and let you guys know when I do.

  18. Liz says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    I know you don’t need a flapjack recipe but this one is foolproof – since using it mine have always come out well. I prefer them chewy rather than crunchy. I always use baking parchment to line the baking tray – nothing fancy, just a piece big enough to cover base and sides and I sort of squidge it into the corners.

    500 g porridge oats
    300 g butter
    150 g golden syrup
    150 g sugar

    9ā€x12ā€ shallow baking tin lined with baking parchment/greaseproof paper

    Heat butter, sugar and syrup until it is all liquid.
    Mix oats into the liquid
    Put the mixture into the baking tin and press flat.
    Bake at 175C (Gas mark 4) for 25-30 mins.
    Cut before it sets but leave in tin until cold and set.

    This produces a chewy flapjack
    I like to add about 4oz halved glace cherries when I mix in the oats.
    To make a crunchy flapjack cook at 190C (Gas mark 5)

    Best wishes,

  19. Karen says:

    Hi everyone, fantastic site and I’m thrilled to have found it.
    I am in Cheltenham, in the UK and have my own flapjack woes.
    I just tried making them today, for about the 50th time and still no luck. I followed a new online recipe, did everything you’re supposed to do and I still ended up with a sticky mess in the tin. I have now tried them with baking paper, no paper, less syrup, more syrup – you get the idea. Can anyone give me a recipe that includes tin size, oven temp and cooking time as well as the ingredient quantities please? Thanks in advance, I am desperate here šŸ™‚

  20. Adam says:

    I tried to make these for the first time in years today and had the same problem though they always (AFAIR) turned out fine.. I should mention that I am in now in Canada though grew up in Stroud, UK and studied/worked in Chelt (what is it with the Glos connection here?!) I AM using golden syrup, but actually halved it with blackstrap molasses, but I used rolled oats NOT porridge oats or a mix of rolled and chopped rolled. I’m wondering whether there isn’t enough fine stuff to glue it together – a bit like concrete needs a mix of sand and gravel. They do seem very buttery too. I also baked them in a deep glass dish as I didn’t have a small and deep enough baking tray. I will try do some experimenting with oats & trays and get back to you..

  21. Glyn says:

    Hi i use five tablespoons of golden syrup ,300g of scotish porridge oats organic,200g butter heat and mix together on hob, 20mins in oven poor on chocolate for the finishing touch, not qut the same as i used to have in school but better than suppermarket ones, hope you try because there lovley,

  22. brandonjessica says:

    mine stuck to the tin even after buttering šŸ™

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