“We’ll always have London…” I quipped to AJ as we boarded the Tube for the last time to go to Heathrow and head back to San Francisco. About ten years ago, on a whim, AJ and I decided to go visit Great Britain because I had found us insanely cheap tickets (it was ridiculous, I think we spent maybe $300 each on the roundtrip tickets). So when I came across a recipe for British Flapjacks that the marvelous Molly Wizenberg wrote about in Bon Appetit a few years ago, it sound like a perfect easy-to-make recipe to remind us of our trip from years ago. I had every intention of making them immediately…except I didn’t, instead bookmarking them with a soon to become ratty post-it note and then filing it away for future reference.
It wasn’t until recently, while cleaning out my magazines (I tossed my old Food and Wine, but couldn’t bring myself to get rid of the Gourmets or Cook’s Illustrated) that I came across Molly’s recipe again. It was high time that I made them, and with that, I took down my can of Lyle’s Golden Syrup, which had been languishing in the back of my cabinet, and proceeded to make Double Ginger Almond British Flapjack.
I wish I could say that there was a Ratatouille flashback scene in my head when I bit into the flapjack. You know the scene I’m talking about, when Anton Ego bites into the deconstructed Ratatouille dish and is suddenly brought back to his childhood and his mom handing him a dish of homemade with love ratatouille. But as much I love Pixar, sadly my life is less colorful and not filled with convenient flashback (oh how I wish they were – it would be ever so helpful in remembering people’s names).
In truth, AJ and I went to plenty of museums (we stayed in a flat just two or three blocks away from the British Museum where we went several times during our stay to admire the Elgin marbles) and wandered about the city always on the verge of getting lost (AJ proclaimed “This is what happens when a city is built before the age of enlightenment!” when we realized that there was no grid system with the streets). We went across the Thames, saw Big Ben, experienced the Tower of London and I even dragged AJ to Charing Cross Road to fulfill my bibliophile needs. And though we ate well, with a few memorable meals, including my insisting we eat fish and chips, bangers and mash and chicken tikka marsala, we did not eat any flapjacks.
So why did I want to make these treats when I read about them in Bon Appetit? Perhaps it was the way Ms. Wizenberg described them in her article, all sweet and chewy with memories of her brief trip to London. Perhaps it was an unconscious longing that I had for travelling to a foreign country, as it’s been quite some time since AJ and I have had a chance to use our passports. Or maybe it’s just that they sounded like they would taste really good. Regardless of the reason, they do taste exactly as you expect them to taste, only a just a tiny bit better than that. AJ was smitten with them, taking them on his cycling rides in those tiny snack sized ziplock bags that you see mom’s at the playground pull out for their kids, full of cheerios. And I was just happy to have found a use for that can of Golden Syrup in the back of the cabinet. One of these days we’ll make it back to London, or at least get out of the country again. Until then, I guess we’ll also always have this recipe as well….
Double Ginger Almond British Flapjack
By Irvin Lin
Not to be confused with the American pancake, the British Flapjack is an easy to make bar that is similar to a granola bar, only denser, chewier and less healthy tasting (in a good way). Traditional British Flapjacks don’t use the ginger or almonds and use Lyle’s Golden Syrup, an inverted sugar that has a fabulous caramelized sugar flavor. If you can’t find it or don’t want to track it down, you can probably substitute light corn syrup or honey, though I haven’t tried either so I can’t 100% guarantee that it will work (though I don’t see why it wouldn’t).
recipe adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s Bon Appetit recipe
1/2 cup (115 g or 1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (110 g) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup Lyle’s golden syrup or light corn syrup or honey (see headnote)
2 cups (250 g) quick cooked oats
1/3 cup (65 g) finely chopped crystallizes ginger
1/2 cup (90 g) slivered almonds
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray a 9×9 inch square baking pan with cooking oil, then line it with parchment paper, leaving a few inches overlaying the edges. Place the butter and sugar in a medium pan. Spray the inside of a glass measuring cup with cooking spray and then pour the golden syrup into it to measure. Pour the syrup into the pan (the spray will help the syrup slide right out) and cook the butter, sugar and syrup together over medium heat until the butter melts, the sugar dissolves and it is smooth.
2. Remove the pan from the stovetop and add the remaining ingredients, folding everything together with a heatproof spatula, until the oats, ginger and almonds are evenly coated. Scrape into the prepared pan and press down with the spatula to evenly distribute.
3. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the edges of the flapjacks seem to darker brown than the center. Try not to overbake, they’ll seem a bit soft when you cut into them but they’ll harden as they cool. Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then cut them (in the pan) with a butter knife. Allow to cool completely in the pan, then lift the parchment paper up with the flapjacks inside, move to a cutting board and break apart.
Makes 16 flapjacks
Belinda @zomppa says
I’d go to for $300! Golden Syrup is the best…so tasty and gorgeous these are.
I adore golden syrup. I need to use it more often! And trust me, I’ve been looking for another deal like that for AGES. Haven’t found it since…
Alyssa @ Kitchen Cures says
These sound and look absolutely divine! I love ginger in my baking.
I’m a fan of ginger in my baked goods too. 😉
megan @ whatmegansmaking says
Love this post because it reminds me of my time in London. I spent a week there while my husband was on a business trip, and thankfully I did discover the amazing flapjack while I was there. I had no idea what it was when I bought it, but after tasting it, I loved it. I forced my husband to buy one, and even bought one as a treat for the plane ride home. Oh, and I’ve made them at home as well – I was clearly obsessed haha.
I wish I had discovered them when I was there, but I’m happy to have discovered them via Molly!
Sydney @ Crepes of Wrath says
I love that these are called Flapjacks! I had a totally different idea of what they might be, obviously, and I think that I want to make these to bring into my office to share. They look chewy, sweet, and delicious – and I think the addition of ginger is wonderful!
Right? They are super addictive. Totally chewy, like an oatmeal cookie, but crisp too. The ginger gives it a nice little snap!
I’ve had her flapjack recipe on my to-make list forever, and I finally got around to making the olive oil granola she featured on her site. It was unbelievable. I have no idea why I don’t attend to her recipes with more urgency, so I think this is the prefect opportunity to buck that trend. I’ve been making granola bars for my partner to take to work, and he’s a ginger fiend, so I think these will be a great break from the norm.
You must. Molly is wonderful. I do need to do more recipes from her. They never fail me.
Whitney @ The Newlywed Chefs says
Irvin, your blog simply rocks! These look delicious. Can’t wait to come back and read more!
Katie Lyn says
I two found out about flapjacks via the Molly Wizenberg article in Bon Appetit and just made a batch today. I love how you express wanting that Ratatouille moment, but have yet to get one. I’m always hoping as well. I love the sound of your recipe and I will have to try it. I’ve used strictly corn syrup due to availability, but I think I will have to look into getting some golden syrup. I tried the ones today with a touch of maple syrup added for a different consistency. They turned out a bit soft.
I like to think that now because I make them, someday I will meet a man who loves them, doesn’t know I make them and one day comes home in delight because he grew up on them… Okay, I’m just wishful thinking. I’m happy enough that my sister and parents have stopped scoffing at them and are now requesting them. Great article. Loved it.
lavanga latika dd says
hi,just made these flapjacks, turned out aaamaaazingly good, just the right chewiness and crispness and the crystalised ginger is the best flavour just picks up the oats with a little zing, i have already eaten nearly half by myself, trying to hang on to the rest to give out to my hare krishna friends. looking forward to trying some more recipes….. hare krishna