There were just too many mentions of flapjack around me recently to ignore them. Autumn brings on our desire for comforting snacks full of slow release energy to keep us warm and snug, I used to bake flapjacks almost every day, soft chewy ones too, not crunchy ones but haven't baked any for ages. When it dawned on me that I hadn't any little snacks for tomorrow's lunchboxes then baking flapjacks seemed to be the obvious solution.
A quick disclaimer: I don't eat oats, (so this is a truly altruistic post)! if you are not gluten intolerent, feel free to skip the next bit and dive straight into the recipe.
I know that I am walking into a minefield by posting an oat-based recipe here. "Are oats gluten-free?" is the subject of much debate, with some people being able to tolerate them, others not.
Gluten free oats are now available in the UK as well as the states. In the UK you can now buy gluten free oats in all Waitrose stores under the brand "Delicious Alchemy". I haven't tried them (the recipe below was made with regular oats). In the states Bob's Red Mill, among others, supply gluten-free oats.
It is worth pointing out that gluten-free in this sense means un-contaminated with gluten. These oats are often grown on farms and milled on sites that do not handle wheat at all, so there is no possibility of harvest-related contamination. They are tested using ELISA testing to prove a gluten content of less than 20ppm.
However, some people still can't tolerate oats even with the gluten contamination removed. In the UK the contamination issue has meant that it really difficult for us to work out whether we are sensitive to the cellular formula of oats, or just the wheat-related contamination. The only way to find out is to try - of course it is up to you whether or not you do. If you do want to try, then these are the people who can help you:
USA (& worldwide shipping): Bob's Red Mill
13521 SE Pheasant Court, Milwaukie, Oregon 97222. USA
Phone: 001 503 654-3215. Fax: 001 503 653-1339
Right, with that out of the way, here's the recipe - it is so easy and tastes fantastic!
Chewy honey & apricot flapjacks
- 140g salted butter
- 125g light muscovado sugar
- 30g glucose syrup (from supermarket in cake decorating / home baking)
- 70g honey (eucalyptus gives a great caramel flavour)
- 175g apricots, chopped
- 300g rolled oats (GF if required)
Oven: pre-heat to 150°C
- put the butter, sugar, glucose syrup and honey in a large saucepan (I use a wok!)
- heat over a low heat and stir regularly to ensure it neither sticks nor burns
- when the sugar has dissolved add the apricots
- stir to cover the apricots in the caramel
- add the oats and mix till all the oats are coated in the caramel
- press the oat mixture into the tin
- bake at 150°C for 20 minutes
- take out the oven and leave to cool in the tin for around 45 mins
- cut the flapjack into portions before it is fully cold
- wrap each piece and store in an airtight container to ensure they stay soft