Recipes

flapjacks

One of the things I obsessively collect in my cooking life — aside, apparently, from container lids with no bases and jars of mustard seeds because every time a recipe requires it I presume I’m out because of that one time in 2010 I was — is recipes with very short ingredient lists. It’s not revolutionary to learn that, say, a salad can be made with just lettuce, oil, and vinegar or to find tomato bread, or basil pesto on these lists, but Marcella Hazan’s 3-ingredient tomato sauce is indeed something pretty revelatory, especially when you’re short on time to go to the store or merely patience to cook. So is this Minimalist Barbecue Sauce, Bacon Corn Hash, this summer squash pizza topping that could convert anyone to zucchini, and if does not, this Quick Zucchini Sauté will, the omelet that’s basically Spain’s national dish (and mine), and let us never forget all of the magical things that happen when you let fresh raspberries, brown sugar, and sour cream blister under a broiler, or roast a sweet potato until it almost candies itself inside. It’s not fully populated (I keep finding things I’ve missed and taking liberties when the 6th ingredient is butter or olive oil) but I finally got to pulling together a few of my favorites in this collection this summer. Life is busy; it’s here to help.


what you'll need + oats
a caramel base
stir to combine

Despite all of this, I am a deeply contradictory person. While I assure you that these recipes don’t require any more ingredients than listed to fulfill their delicious destinies, if you were to try to tell me about a recipe with a set number of ingredients, I’d immediately bristle at the limitation. “What was the 6th one? Maybe I have it! I really don’t mind taking it out!”

ready to bake

Regardless, today’s recipe is a long-overdue entry into the high reward for low ingredient count category. Stateside, confusingly, flapjacks mean pancakes but in UK, flapjacks are something completely different, a tray-baked, soft-centered, chewy, crunchy-edged caramel-scented bar made only with oats, golden syrup, brown sugar, and butter*. If they are not already, we need these in our lives. They’re considered the quintessential teatime treat; alas, I don’t have a whole lot of teatime in my life but I do have hangry schoolkids that require nut-free snacks and that these are also gluten-free and ridiculously quick to make (you’ll memorize the recipe after the first time you make them) means that they’ve been on repeat here since the school year began.

cut while warm

“But Deb, flapjacks have only 4 ingredients. What’s the 5th? I might have it!”

Fair enough. I added chocolate. Does it *need* chocolate? For once, I’m totally torn; they’re outstanding either way.

of course I added chocolate
spread once soft
flapjacks + chocolate

* Although if Queen Mary Berry said marg-reen was okay in 1974, who am I to argue?

Previously

One year ago: Tomato Bread + A Bit About [Last Year’s] Trip to Spain
Two years ago: Plum Squares with Marzipan Crumble and Piri Piri Chicken
Three years ago: Corn Chowder Salad and Caponata
Four years ago: Corn Cheddar and Scallion Strata and Chocolate and Toasted Hazelnut Milk
Five years ago: Buttescotch Pudding Popsicles, Pink Lemonade Popsicles and Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
Six years ago: Vanilla Custards with Roasted Blueberries and Baked Orzo with Eggplant and Mozzarella
Seven years ago: Peach Butter and Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Mint
Eight years ago: How to Use a Kitchen Scale, Peach Shortbread and Grape Focaccia with Rosemary
Nine years ago: Espresso Chiffon Cake with Fudge Frosting, Grilled Eggplant and Olive Pizza and Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting
Ten years ago: Kefta and Zucchini Kebabs, Dimply Plum Cake and Crisp Rosemary Flatbread
Eleven years ago: Hoisin Barbecue Sauce and Layered Lemon Cake

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Luxe Butterscotch Pudding
1.5 Years Ago: Butterscotch Pie
2.5 Years Ago: White Russian, Everyday Meatballs and Roasted Yams and Chickpeas with Yogurt
3.5 Years Ago: Spaghetti Pangrattato with Fried Eggs and The ‘I Want Chocolate Cake’ Cake
4.5 Years Ago: Morning Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel and Kale and Quinoa Salad with Ricotta Salata

Flapjacks

  • Servings: 16
  • Print

Golden syrup — picture corn syrup, but made with cane sugar and lightly cooked for a caramel-y vibe — is a central flavor in flapjacks, which is frustrating as it can be hard to find in the U.S. (Although Amazon sells it in many sizes, including the one I keep around.) (It’s also my favorite thing to put in pecan pie instead of corn syrup, if you need more convincing to pick some up.) I didn’t test the flapjacks with maple syrup but aside from it being thinner, I think it would work decently well as a substitute, as would honey, but only if you love the flavor because it will absolutely come through.

I found that quick-cooking oats (1-minute, not instant) work best here, holding the bars together better than old-fashioned rolled oats did. If you only have them, pulse them a couple times in a food processor to chop them down a little. Instant oats made the bars too tightly packed for my tastes. If you’re serving these to anyone with gluten sensitivities, make sure the oats are labeled gluten-free.

The base recipe here is, I think, lovely — simple, rich, sweet but somehow not excessively so for a treat, and definitely syrupy, a term that makes absolute sense once you bite in. They smell like caramel as they bake. Still, you could tweak the flavors more ways than I could list on two internets. Here are a few to get you started: replacing 1/4 of the oats with an equal weight of dried coconut, adding finely grated lemon zest, ground or candied ginger, ground cinnamon, dried fruit such as dates or figs, or even adding chocolate chunks. The only thing to consider is that the single biggest complaint I read in reviews of other flapjack recipes (but didn’t experience in a way I found problematic) is that the bars are crumbly (which, of course, with so little holding them together) and imagine that adding more chunky ingredients would further this.

  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) salted or unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (95 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (85 grams) golden syrup or honey or maple syrup (see Note)
  • 2 1/3 cups (about 220 grams) quick-cooking (1-minute) oats (see Note)
  • Flaky sea salt
  • 2/3 cup (115 grams) semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips (optional)

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. In a medium-sized pot, melt butter with brown sugar, golden syrup, and a few pinches of flaky sea salt (omit if using salted butter) together over medium-high heat. Once bubbles form, simmer for one minute, then stir in oats off the heat. Spread in pan in an even layer and baked bars for 20 to 25 minutes, until deeply golden at edges. (Deeply golden bars have much more of a caramel-y flavor than pale ones.)

If you’d like to add chocolate, let them rest in their pan on a cooling rack for 3 to 4 minutes before sprinkling the chips all over, then waiting 5 minutes before spreading them in a single layer.

You can cool the flapjacks at room temperature but it goes faster (especially setting the chocolate) in the fridge. However, flapjacks taste best at room temperature, where they’re still stretchy and tender, so you want to keep them in an airtight container at room temperature. They keep for a week.

Every flapjack recipe on the internet tells you to cut them while they’re still warm or it’s too difficult later but I found them messy to cut while warm and really easy to cut cleanly once cool with a sharp, serrated knife, so I’m going to suggest you cut them once they’re fully cool. Use the parchment paper to slide them out of their pan onto a cutting board and cut them into 16 squares or into 4 large ones, then cut quarter diagonally to form 4 triangles.

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192 comments on flapjacks

  1. sallyt

    perfect! Making these Sunday for a dessert for my block party (my other option was your bake sale bars from SKED but these are easier). They look so good!

    1. Never heard of Lyle’s Golden Syrup. What makes it so unique? My kids love syrup but honestly, sometimes the stickiness gets to me. Like silly putty, popsicles and slime. Kids love making slime. Me…not so much.

      1. deb

        It’s a pure cane sugar syrup but it tastes lightly cooked/caramelized. It also has a pinch or so of salt, I’d say, giving it an even more complex flavor. I know in the UK it’s put on pancakes and the like.

    1. Elizabeth

      Omigod how I wish this were true. I seem to have the other problems–containers with no lids. I wish we could run a match-up of people with no lids to people with no containers!
      And I’m trying this recipe this weekend! Thank you, Deb.

  2. Amy

    oh. my. god.

    these look amazing.

    in canada we have roger’s golden syrup – my grandpa was the president of roger’s sugar for many years, so it always feels very familial to cook with the syrup! (we also used to make sandwiches with it – white bread, buttered inside, thick layer of syrup between slices. would 10/10 recommend.)

      1. Jean

        I’m near Toronto and have never seen the Roger’s syrup. I can get Lyle’s pretty easy though in most any grocery store and we love it. Where are people finding the Roger’s??

        1. Amy

          Jean – I can find it at any grocery store. Not sure if you have the same chains as us – but Sobey’s, Safeway, Co-op, Save-On Foods, etc all carry it.

  3. Amber

    Yum! These look very similar to a recipe I grew up with, we called them “O’Henry Bars” and the base/bar was basically the same, although I remember vanilla and salt, and maybe an egg in there too, and none of it heated prior to baking. The lid was chocolate and peanut butter. I’m sure your husband will want you to try that lid for future flapjacks ;)

    1. Yes, I remember O Henry Bars too. As I recall, they are very similar to this recipe, with the chocolate on top. My kids have been missing out so it’s time to get baking.

  4. Golda

    My husband and I just got back from our first visit to the UK! We kept seeing flapjacks or flapjack-flavored things and finally asked our guide about it, and realized these would not be pancake-flavored. Thank you for this amazingly timed recipe! I will be making them soon while also trying your cream scones recipe (with strawberry jam and clotted cream, of course) in my quest to re-live the high of afternoon tea :)

    1. Michal Ramati

      We made these and they were great – however, does anyone have an idea on how to lessen the sweetness without everything becoming too crumbly? My partner and I have a low sweetness threshold – we love your recipes, Deb, but usually automatically use less sugar. With this we were a bit afraid that with less sugar the whole thing wouldn’t hold – we used about a quarter less sugar and syrup but still found it a bit sweet for our taste (the rest of my family however had no problem whatsoever wolfing it down…)

  5. Sarah

    I know sometimes sweetened condensed milk is added to give the flapjacks more “squidgy-ness” as some UK folks say. What do you think adding in some sweetened condensed milk would do?

      1. Sarah

        Oh yay! I’ve made some peanut butter flapjacks before and I added in some condensed milk. I think the texture was great! I will try out the above version too. What are your go to flapjack flavors/add-ins?

        1. Jane

          Well, unfortunately my kids are dried fruit deniers, so I don’t normally add anything, but I’m a fan of some chopped unsulphured apricots. It’s not traditional though!

  6. Raewyn

    These look delicious! Deb, if you ever tire of cutting flapjacks give Anzac biscuits a try (a similar tasting cookie famous in New Zealand and Australia). They’re equally delicious with the oats, golden syrup, coconut combination, then drizzled with melted chocolate. The chocolate isn’t necessarily traditional but hey, what cookie isn’t made better with chocolate?!

    1. Gaidig

      ANZAC biscuits are the reason I’ve bought golden syrup, too. Yum. Never tried them with chocolate, though.

      Also, this is the first time I’ve heard of this type of flapjack. I was only familiar with the kind of pancake.

    2. Rhiannon

      I don’t seem to have a copy of her recipe, which I will have to rectify, but after learning to make Anzac Biscuits in Australia, my mother Americanized the recipe she’d been using after we moved back to the States. She substituted half molasses, half light (?) corn syrup for the golden syrup. The results are delicious (and come out looking like florentines).

  7. Lydia

    Sounds yummy and easy, but i just see myself adding a bunch of stuff to them until they are basically like your thick chewy granola bars – aside from celebrating simplicity, are these a similar experience? I’ve never had a flapjack.

    1. Amanda

      Yes, they are although definitely on the chewier side of the spectrum. I’ve been getting flapjacks in my Graze boxes for a year now and am very excited to make them at home!!

    2. Kris

      I resisted the urge to add things to them, even though I’m a person who can’t make a recipe without tweaking it. I’m glad I did; they’re incredibly delicious and unfortunately more-ish. I did use the golden syrup, and making them as is allowed that unique butterscotch-adjacent taste to shine.

    1. Sarah

      I think the main thing that would be compromised is the flavor. Golden syrup has a very distinct flavor that I think is apparent in the flapjack. Although if you plan on adding mix-ins I bet the absence of the golden syrup flavor wouldn’t be missed as much.

    2. Ttrockwood

      I’ve used brown rice syrup for chewy granola bars before and it worked great, but you may want to add a splash of vanilla or use the chocolate topping for additional flavor.

  8. Jennifer

    Lyle’s Golden Syrup is also a key ingredient in Treacle Tart, which only my London grandmother could make properly (according to my dad!) I’ve tried to make it several times, but it’s never been as good as her’s, and she is no longer with us. Please tackle that one sometime!!

    1. Then there’s Treacle Pudding. Of course it’s English so “pudding” means something different than in the US. It’s a boiled cake with treacle in the bottom of the bowl. So easy to make but delicious.

  9. Kristen

    From a mom with a gluten free & nut free kid…THANK YOU! So many GF recipes have nuts. And I get it. But it doesn’t help us. My son has been gluten free for 9 years but only but free for a year.

  10. Paula Fleming

    The recipe for flapjacks is the first one in “Baking with Mary Berry.” However, it calls for corn syrup, rather than golden syrup, in what must be a concession to U.S. bakers. IMO, there’s no substitute for golden syrup.

  11. Karen

    I have been reading the Miss Read novels–lovely cozy stories set in England spanning the post World War II to the 1990s–and they often have mentioned flapjack and until now I never knew what it was! Will be making this ASAP.

    1. Lauren

      Isn’t Miss Read great? Would eat anything mentioned in any of the books, and so want to live there! Have seen some recipes somewhere based on the stories. Would be worth trying to find them…more uses for Golden Syrup no doubt!

  12. Katrina

    As an expat Brit, I’m skeptical about the chocolate; as an expat Brit, I will definitely be making these flapjacks tomorrow!! I’ll review!

    1. deb

      Oh I loooove this idea, I mean, not just because I’m predictable but because I think the flavor would really show up here and it’s a simple as just putting the butter in the pot first.

  13. Dotlot

    If you want your flapjack to hold together a bit more, add a peeled and grated apple and a couple of tablespoons of apple juice. Finely grated if you don’t want it to be too obvious that it’s there. With the apple the mix will be clarty enough for you to chuck in whatever you want in the way of chocolate chips and the like. You haven’t lived until you’ve had chocolate chip flapjack.

    1. Emily

      Yes! World Market is the only store near me that has it. I just bought 5 bottles. I like to use it in the pretzel linzer cookies as well.

  14. mary g

    These look amazing! The chocolate topping reminds me of scotcheroos, and I’m really glad to have a nut-free alternative to those at last. Looking forward to tracking down golden syrup.

  15. Autumn

    I used to get Graze boxes to pack into my work lunches and my very favorites to get were their flapjacks, they had some truly outstanding flavors, I may have to make up a batch of these and see if I can replicate the pumpkin spice with dates and the honeycomb chocolate drizzle versions!

  16. Shannon Carter

    A version of these are the only “treat” my mom has ever made and are everyone’s favorite. We call them Frosted Oatmeal Squares. They are made with corn syrup instead of golden syrup, in a pyrex pan, and cooked in the microwave. Topped with chocolate chips melted with peanut butter. Seriously the best thing in the world. I will try them with golden syrup! Thanks, Deb.

  17. Have you ever made fårikål? Maybe a bit of an obscure one, but it’s hugely popular in Norway in fall, and it’s ridiculously simple and only requires like 5 ingredients (lamb, cabbage, water, salt and peppercorns). I probably sound like a Norwegian sterotype, but there’s nothing like going out for an autumn hike in the mountains and coming home to pot of fårikål–the whole house smells like heaven.

  18. This may be a crazy question and I realize they wouldn’t be true flapjacks even if it worked, but your description of the taste & smell made me wonder…do you think this would work if you used 1 ¼ cups of caramel instead of the butter & sweeteners????

  19. I’m going to totally confuse things here, and throw myself on the mercy of Deb and her followers. Many, many, many years ago, my mother would make something she called flapjack. It was made in the ancestral (ie, great, great grandmother’s) cast iron frying pan, and had an almost biscuit-like consistency. Def not a pancake, or other form of sweet. Served with dinner, which might’ve been fried or scrambled eggs (this was post WWII, when money was tight). Any ideas? I’d love to replicate it, and have no one left to ask. Many thanks!

    1. Jacqueline Leach

      Not the same, but at my German grandparent’s house “flapjacks” were little pieces of bread dough (not tiny, maybe ping pong ball sized?) Flattened out a bit and then deep fried & tossed in cinnamon sugar. It’s funny how many different foods have this name!

  20. MKLands

    I am going to try these today with Steen’s cane syrup, which is unfortunately even harder to find than Lyle’s, but I always have in the pantry for pecan pie. Sigh…maybe there are some good things about living in the South (besides BBQ). And I am going to brown the butter first :) Will report back.

  21. Emma

    Sounds delicious! If I’m making this for a dairy-free friend, could I use coconut oil instead of butter? Would I need to add anything else?
    Thank you for your sweet recipes!

    1. Priya

      With a different base recipe I have tried coconut oil, and found it too greasy. However, I often sub dairy free butter/ spread and find that works great.

  22. J Woessner

    I am a big fan of Golden Syrup and use only it in pies calling for that *other* syrup. However, oats: given the recent findings of the main ingredient in Round-Up to be present in MANY oat products (from Cheerios to whole oats, steel cut oats and even granola bars; from Quakers to even organic Annie’s) I am not sure I ever want to cook with oats again. I have found one company whose oat products are not tainted, but gosh….what a conundrum!

  23. Susanna Fraass

    I just made flapjacks (from a mix). We’re an American family living in England now, and I have a pancake-loving, Celiac-having five-year-old and I bought this mix and had a case of mistaken identity! She seemed to like it anyway, though!

    Next time, I’ll have a go-to for making them from scratch.

  24. Françoise

    I’ve made a version of these before and wow! Think a completely unadulterated oatmeal cookie. As a side note, I think that adding in other ingredients (ie dried fruits or coconut) might tip this too far into granola bar territory for me. They are so good as is. I will definitely be trying this version with chocolate!

  25. Sara

    THIS IS SO EXCITING! I bought some boxed flapjacks eons ago at a specialty shop and they were SO DELICIOUS. I have attempted to recreate them at home a few times with limited success. I trust you implicitly so I cannot wait to try this out! Once upon a time golden syrup was hard to find but now I know I can get it at certain local groceries and/or online easily, so I’m going to give it a go!

  26. Jane

    I grew up making a version of these, only we called them Rickety Uncles. In my recipe, the proportion of oats to butter/sugar/syrup is slightly higher, and they come out very dense and crisp. Delicious, a childhood favourite.

  27. Julia

    This sounds like the perfect recipe for all thise folks who need a contribution to the school/church/community bake sale but forgot ‘til 10pm the night before. Stock up on these ingredients & you’re saved.

  28. Beverley

    Hello! Is there any way to NOT print the “Previously” section of this post? Usually your recipes don’t include that part, but this one does include it, making the recipe three pages long! Thanks.

  29. Rhonda from Baddeck

    I visited a bakery in Glastonbury 3 years in a row so I could buy flapjacks at “Burns The Bread” bakery. They were so delicious that I begged the owner (Mr. Burns) for his recipe. He was kind enough to give it to me – with the huge measurements he used for his large baking trays. I bought golden syrup and brought it back to the U.S., but never made the flapjacks. I’m definitely going to try your recipe! (Yes, I’m hoping my souvenir jar of golden syrup is still good.)

    1. Grace Coop

      Rhonda,if you opened your syrup tin when you brought it back home, it may have a crystallised (sugary) texture – if so don’t throw it out. Put the tin, minus the lid, in a saucepan with water half way up the tin and heat it gently on the hob, the crystals should disappear. Being English and using golden syrup as a topping for porridge in the winter, I may not use it all. Come summer, when I decide to make flapjacks the syrup may have crystallised. Heating it sorts this problem out.

      1. Rhonda from Baddeck

        Thanks, Grace. It’s in a glass jar (never opened) and looks as good as the day I bought it. I hope it’s like honey and ages well – I read that some 3,000-year-old honey was still edible!

  30. lisa

    I make these fairly regularly. Sometimes I add flax seed so I can say they’re “healthy”. And sometimes some bits of dried apricot. Sooooo delicious.

  31. Marie

    Made these tonight using lyle’s golden syrup and cinnamon. They are very yummy and stayed together just fine, although I may cook for 22 mins instead of 24 mins next time because I liked the chewier interior pieces more than the crispier edges (personal preference). They remind me a lot of the sunbelt honey oat bars of my youth. Those were more like desserts than snacks anyway!

  32. Yet another Anna

    Some time back I wandered the internet in search of a DIY golden syrup recipe.

    Found a video that was pretty simple, and definitely cheaper, but I wound up with more of a burnt sugar syrup instead of golden syrup. Still delicious.

    Has anyone else tried this? I just got tired of having to work quite so hard even to find the Lyle’s.

  33. Mix406

    I’d never heard of these so I asked my British friend if they are a popular thing. He and his friend who jumped in agree that “Chocolate on them is a no no. However you could mix chocolate chips in, that would be acceptable especially if you add chopped cranberries.” Then she suggested adding “apricots in a layer in the centre or eating apples and cinnamon, cranberries, stem ginger, crystallized pineapple .. the list is endless but never covered in chocolate.”
    I was puzzled by the aversion to chocolate in the land of chocolate, but it’s apparently a totally reasonable thing with texture: “the whole point of flapjack is they have a crisp tending towards hard top and a gooey middle. Putting chocolate on the top softens them and you don’t get the very distinct difference in texture. Tops need to be crunchy.”
    So now we know.

    1. Chrissi

      neh, i love chocolate topping on mine and im british. It depends on who you are. The non chocolate topped ones are more kid and picnic friendly as hands are less sticky at the end. Flapjacks have all the diversity as granola bars and i frequently fill them with seeds and fruit. My husband makes one with just orange zest through it and chocolate topping and its amazing. My fave is Chocolate topped ginger with a condensed milk recipe

  34. Charlotte in Toronto

    These look and sound very similar to the oat cakes made in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Lots of Scottish/English descendants there. Except that oat cakes have no syrup of any kind. Just brown sugar. I’ll try these with the Roger’s golden syrup that someone mentioned above. They look delicious :)

    1. Another Anna

      I was wondering if they’d be like oat cakes. I had some in Newfoundland once, and haven’t been able to find a suitable recipe to recreate them.

  35. They improve on keeping, they soften and go chewy (maybe because I use rolled oats and they start out a bit solid). My mother hid them for the first week to make sure that they got the proper conditioning.

    My mother’s recipe for flapjacks and Yorkshire parkin have been closely guarded but my husband managed to sweet talk them out of her.

  36. lizb

    Flapjacks with Maple syrup are Excellent! Being from Vermont, it was a natural substitution the first time I made them, and now it is preferred in my household and in my office.

  37. Julie Wilkens

    I used to get flapjacks at the now-closed Food For Thought restaurant in Covent Garden, London–thanks for reviving them here!

    Do you think non-dairy (e.g. vegan) butter is OK here? Wasn’t sure about flavor, since there are so few ingredients.

    Thanks!

    1. Priya

      It’s absolutely fine! I usually prefer to make with butter as I like the buttery-ness but I often make with spread and it still tastes great.

  38. Leti

    making this recipe right now and just noticed that the golden syrup that I bought today has a Best Buy date of August 2018. It’s Lyle’s and it was at my grocery store- maybe not a popular item. Not overly concerned but just wondered if any posters here who use it find the quality goes down after the BBDate. Thank you!

    1. Karen Walsh

      Hey Leti – golden syrup is a really stable ingredient. It will be fine for ages. If it crystalizes you just need to gently warm the tin up to dissolve the crystals.
      Cheers, Karen :-)

  39. Donna Wiedeman

    When I was a kid growing up in rural Michigan, a favorite treat was a bar we called “Chocolate Dreams.” As far as I can tell, it was essentially this recipe, with the addition of chocolate chips mixed in. I’ve tried to reproduce them but didn’t have, and couldn’t find, a recipe and never quite got the proportions of ingredients right. Thanks!

  40. Colleen

    As a concept, I can see how these would be amazing, but the batch that I made turned out somewhat greasy. I followed the directions, used the kitchen scale. My jar of golden syrup was nearly solid, so I threw it in the microwave for 30 to liquify it before adding it to the butter and sugar on the stove. Any thoughts on where I went wrong and more importantly, how to improve them for next time?

    1. deb

      I think they’re quite buttery by design. It’s possible you could use less but I wouldn’t know more without testing. In general, when an ingredient list is a short as this, though, changing one ingredient can be a big change. They might just end up chewy.

  41. Patricia

    I made these today. Added finely chopped walnuts and chopped dates, omitted the chocolate. They were great. Might add orange zest next time.

  42. Dori

    I admit it: I saw this recipe and went right out to my fabulous local import grocery and picked up a can of Lyle’s Golden Syrup just to make these. Wow, where has Golden Syrup been all my life? That stuff is GOOD! However, it makes a MESS pouring it out of the can. Do you have any tips or tricks for preventing it from getting all in a sticky mess in the channel around the lid?

    1. Jo

      Rather than pouring syrup, I usually spoon it out of the tin – if you swirl the spoon a few times, it catches the drips and then you can scrape it off the spoon into your bowl. It’s a bit more time-consuming but does stop the tin getting into a horrible mess and cementing itself to your shelf…

      1. Jo

        PS: as an Irish person, it’s a real delight seeing everyone rave about golden syrup! I’ve been totally taking it for granted my whole life but I have a new appreciation for it now :)

    2. Ellen N.

      You can buy Lyle’s golden syrup in a squeeze bottle, but it’s more expensive than the tins. I buy it in the tins and pour it into a squeeze bottle.

  43. hmk71

    As a Brit I wouldn’t bother with the chocolate (though my children would disagree) but I would try adding chopped dried fruit. Apricots are my favourite, but my most recent batch had chopped dried apple in too and that was very good.

  44. Mai

    Thank you for this recipe! I made it on Sunday as a gift and it came out well and looked almost like your photo! Do you cool the flapjacks in the pan? I noticed in your photos they were removed from the pan before the chocolate was added.

    1. deb

      Some are chewy, some are crunchy. These are more chewy than crunchy with a crispy edge. They age very nicely; the caramel flavor should get more developed. If you want them crispier, just add more oats next time.

  45. jhitchcox

    Deb, I think you should add socca to your list of recipes with short ingredient lists. I made the Mark Bittman/NYTimes version this past weekend and it was so much more than the sum of its parts. I’m going to have it on repeat as a savory snack or appetizer for the foreseeable future. Technically it’s 7 ingredients but three of those are salt, pepper and water. Also there’s a version I saw in Bon Appétit that has an egg added to the batter, a kind of socca omelet with sautéed vegetables on top, I want to investigate further (yeah, add it to the list, right?)

    1. deb

      It’s totally on the list. I confess it’s one of those things I really want to experience in situ, that you get so much more of a sense of how it’s eaten and what it’s like so excuse me I’m off to Genoa now, I can do that right? :)

  46. Peg

    Even though I still am not much of a cook, I so love reading all your posts. When having a particulary meh day, I come back to last year’s post about the wedding cake. You are an inspiration to the cook I might have been…

  47. I grew up with these! (Millennial from the SW United States here.) My mom calls them oatsies and we *always* topped with chocolate, and often chopped walnuts or pecans. We use light corn syrup, and they hold together great.

    Deb, I adore you, this site has made my life a billion times easier and tastier! Thanks and love from Texas.

  48. Stephanie

    Does this post start the commenters sharing their favorite minimal ingredient recipes or non-recipes? I hope so! And here’s mine! One large onion sliced, lay as a foundation for one whole chicken, all in a ceramic casserole dish (I’ve tried no other vessel). Drizzle a little olive oil on top. Salt and pepper only if you’re in the mood! Roast at 425 until chicken is done per thermometer. Onions will burn and combine with rendered chicken fat to make a jammy topping for white rice. It is definitely greater than the sum of it’s parts.

    Now I’ve done that obnoxious thing and shared a recipe no one asked for; but I couldn’t help myself!!! I’m with you Deb, minimal ingredient recipes that are also amazing are my favorite. I’ve been making and preaching about the unbelievable pot roast with tomatoes since I read about it here. Thank you forever for that one!

  49. Jeannine

    I had these in England meant years ago and had forgotten about them and how much I’d liked them till now.

    Unfortunately, my co-op in longer sells golden syrup, which I found out the first time I made SK oatmeal pie, and used brown rice syrup (never again) instead.

    I decided to make my own golden syrup and used this recipe. It worked very well, and I plan on doing it again. http://www.internationaldessertsblog.com/make-golden-syrup/

  50. Megan

    HI Deb. Two things:
    First I want to thank you for creating such a consistently fun, interesting and positive space on your blog. When I need a distraction from concentrating on work I know that clicking over to your site will make me feel happy-distracted (compared to facebook which will make me feel negative-distracted-bleh). So thanks!

    Secondly, I had a good laugh at this post! I’m from South Africa, with lots of British influence in our food. We would call this recipe a “crunchie”. To us flapjacks and dropscones are equivalent names for American-style pancakes (diameter of your hand or smaller, thick and puffy). But flapjacks/dropscones are only ever made with white cake flour/all purpose flour and the egg whites are never beaten. And to us pancakes are what you might call crepes.
    Language is a funny thing!

  51. Mary

    I just made these using maple syrup, and they are great! They are not crumbly…I put them in the fridge to cool for a bit, and cut with a serated knife. They are really good!

  52. Nicole

    I did 50% maple syrup and 50% golden syrup and they turned out perfectly. Crunch bits on the outside with a delightful chew on the inside. Reminds me of a bar my mom used to make when I was a kiddo.

  53. Jessie

    These are great! I made a first batch as written, chocolate and all, and then decided to omit the chocolate and throw about 1/3 cup peanut butter in a second batch. Honey in both, by the way. I like the more savory peanut butter taste better myself, but both batches were popular and disappeared quickly. It’s a fairly forgiving recipe, so if you want to experiment, go for it!

  54. J

    My mother in law makes these, but with peanut butter mixed with chocolate chips melted on top. She calls them oatmeal squares, and they are the go to at family events. She learned the recipe while in Okinawa without an oven on base housing. You can microwave the oat step and it will turn out great.

  55. Esther

    I tried this today… I must have done something wrong… It fell mostly apart in the pan.. I have a few pieces to eat, it tastes good…the rest crumbs… I’m saving to add to the next vanilla ice cream I make..I don’t know…maybe I measured the oats wrong, or cooked the sugar mixture too long. Phooey….

  56. Susan

    Do you know the cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall called “Three Good Things”? It’s a collection of recipes with very short ingredient lists. He’s on my list of “cookbook authors whose recipes Just Plain Work.” (As are you, of COURSE!)

  57. Ekie

    These. Are. AMAZING.
    I found golden syrup at Wegmans; Whole Foods says it I see a seasonal item. Where the HECK has this stuff been all my life? I could eat it straight. I now need to incorporate golden syrup into at least 2/3 of my meals each day. (I won’t. I need to, but I won’t.)
    I browned the butter because I love browned butter. They took the full 25 minutes for me and still looked worryingly wobbly at the end, but firmed up quickly on the counter. I spread half of them with chocolate, half without, and can’t decide which I like better. These will not make it to anyone else this time, but are definitely going in my Christmas cookie tins this year. They are easy, delicious, unique – what more could you ask for? Oh, and incredibly allergen friendly. If you swapped the butter for coconut oil or margarine you could even make them dairy free.
    I seriously can’t say enough good things about these. Thank you Deb for another fantastic treat.

  58. Kcake

    Made these with my 2 and 4 year old kiddos and it was a winner in terms of (a) everyone gets to do something, (b) it’s quick, and (c) there’s sprinkles (because, need a say, SPRINKLES!). Used 1/2 honey and 1/2 maple syrup and the taste is lovely. Not too strong on either in the end. Maybe we mis-measured the oats (read: a 2 year old and a 4 year old) or oats vary by brand (we used Bob’s Red Mill quick oaks) but the mixture was very dry. Added a couple glugs of regular milk and things came together. Cooked up beautifully, though it took an extra 10 minutes in the oven. They had a wonderful chewy texture once cooled.

  59. Panya

    These sound a bit like the “energy bites” I make — a base of golden syrup, peanut butter, rolled oats, and chocolate chips, with a pinch of salt and some chia and flax seeds added in, then rolled into balls and kept in the refrigerator. So messy to make [I wear disposable vinyl gloves and use a measuring spoon to make them a uniform size] but such a yummy snack that I have to force myself to stop eating them. They were a hit when I brought them to a party.

    [I get my Lyle’s golden syrup at Meijer, and I’m pretty sure I’ve also found it previously at a local grocery chain –both in the imported foods section. I think sometimes people can’t find it because they don’t think to look there and only look with the other sugars/sweeteners.]

  60. Kelly Mahoney

    Made four batches of these for a slew of weekend activities. Maybe it’s the dry Colorado air but these turned out quite hard…which was a bummer for little-people mouths that were clamoring to devour them given their delicious smell while baking. I tried decreasing cook time, decreasing the amount of oats, and playing around with how long the liquids boiled but all attempts were still crunchier than expected. I put a batch in a tupperware with slices of bread and that did seem to help soften things after the fact though!

    1. Marcia in NM

      Kelly, did you weigh all the ingredients? I live at 7,000′ and baking by weight is the only way I can get really close to the intended outcome.
      BTW, this recipe worked perfectly for me by doing it by weight.

  61. Rita E Gorra

    Wow. I confess that I did add some other ingredients, but that is just the ‘icing’ on one of the best bars I have eaten! I used 1/4 cup less oatmeal and added 2 Tbs cocoa nibs, 1/4 c mini semi sweet chocolate and 3 Tbs dried cranberries (roughly chopped). It was chewy and delish. Thanks Deb. I bought one of these at the farmers market, craved more and tried to find a recipe. Voila, it shows up in my Monday feed. Serendipity.

  62. GreenDoor

    We went to a house party on our honeymoon in Nova Scotia, Canada and were told there would be flapjacks for dessert. I was picturing piles of hotcakes dripping with whipped cream and breakfast syrup and thought that was brilliant. I was sorely disapponted to see plain old granola bars on the plate instead. Out of politeness, I tasted one. Then I almost reinforced every bad stereotype of Americans before my husband finally pulled me away from the platter after gobbling down my fifth one.

  63. Pia

    I’ve made flapjacks twice using the American version of Mary Berry’s cookbook. They taste deliciously toasty and caramelized and comforting but they fall apart! Both times, I’ve had to return them to the oven and do all kinds of baking acrobatics to get them to hold together. I will definitely try yours, since I always trust your instructions.

  64. gkcct

    I fell in love with flapjacks when I moved from Canada to the UK, but have never had success in replicating them before. This recipe is PERFECT and my kids think so too. A resounding 6 thumbs up from our house. And it’s even better because it’s so quick to make and in the heat of Singapore, who wants to spend more time than necessary in a hot kitchen?!

  65. lp

    hi! i have a massive amount of hazelnut meal and was wondering about subbing in some for a portion of the oats. any ideas on what a good proportion might be? thanks!

    1. deb

      I’m not positive, but maybe start with just a few tablespoons, not more than 40/50 grams, because the bars already lean crumbly and will be more so, I’d imagine, with nut meal instead of oats.

  66. Karen B

    My mother made these as an xmas cookie, and now I do too! We call them Highland Toffee. My mom probably got the recipe from a magazine in the 60s or 70s. Love them!

  67. Ellen

    I’ve been wanting to make these since seeing the post and finally did yesterday. I did use golden syrup and pulsed the oats in a food processor, and used bittersweet chocolate. Mine seemed more candy than cookie when I cut them. Perhaps I cooked the butter/sugar syrup too much or the baking of it closer to 25 than 20 min (to ensure crispiness), was the culprit, although I suspect it was the former. Still delicious, but not quite what I expected. And still puzzled by the name flapjack (which to me makes me think of pancakes), and made it more difficult to find the recipe as I was looking for under “oatmeal cookie” recipes. If I make again, I’ll try monitoring the butter/syrup more closely. First I’ll see how my son’s friends like them! :)

  68. sallyt

    LOVE these. I would bake for 20 min next time – mine were a little overbaked at 25 min. I wouldn’t skip the chocolate, used salted butter, and sprinkled with fleur de sel.

  69. Maro Sevastopoulos

    I made these with the chocolate on top, plus a full (US-sized) orange’s worth of zest and “some” cinnamon — i didn’t measure, but i’d guess around a tsp.

    I LOVE THESE. An easy, versatile recipe to add to the regular rotation. I don’t recall whether anyone did these in the tray-bake sessions of Great British Bake Off, but if they did I didn’t absorb it. Thanks for bringing it front and center!

  70. jan

    I’m always looking for chocolate-free nibbles for after dinner movie watching (chocolate keeps me awake), and these sound perfect! I may try topping them with jam actually…I’ll post results here if so!

  71. Lyra

    I’ve made these three times in the last few weeks, and finally started tweaking them. A half tablespoon of cinnamon and a handful of pulverized freeze dried honey crisp apples (I went to Trader Joe’s Hungry, oops) and they came out delightfully apple cinnamon-y without compromising the texture.

  72. diane

    I normally love all your recipes but I must say this was a bit of a meh. Definitely needs salt. I made them with and without chocolate. Both just seemed like ok chewy granola bars, alas,

  73. I discovered flapjacks when I lived abroad in the UK and have tried a few recipes to replicate them. The 1 min oats do seem the best however I couldn’t help using 20g of rolled/old fashioned oats in the mix since I have more of that. No chocolate and kept the base recipe the same so I can test it. Really good flavour. Next time will add more salt, try the chocolate and maybe brown the butter as well. Thanks Deb!

  74. Andrea

    I made these exactly as directed the first time and they turned out perfectly. The second time I ran out and used 50/50 one-minute oats and rolled oats (pulsed a few times in the food processor). The second batch was still tasty but a bit too crumbly, so I think the one-minute oats are key.

  75. Michi

    Thanks for providing a nut free snack recipe. My son has severe peanut and a few tree nut allergies. So many kid-centric snacks and foods seem to be peanut butter based.

  76. Kris

    I finally got around to making these last night. My husband is a fiend for oatmeal cookies, I thought these looked like his thing, and he had a bad day yesterday. Y’all, golden syrup tastes like butterbeer. We live in Orlando and we’ve been to the Wizarding World often enough to know. So, yeah, licking the measuring cup was a big thing. I made the recipe with just the four ingredients to see how it turned out, which is unheard of for me. All but two pieces were gone inside 30 minutes, and I’m pretty sure those were spared because Chris forgot to take them to work with him. (They’re in a baggie on the counter.) Butterscotch chips or toffee bits might work well in these, but they’re damned near perfect as is, y’all. And golden syrup is crack.

  77. Beth

    Delicious! I added toasted coconut on 1/3 of the pan and flake sea salt on another 1/3 for a variety. Everyone loved them as a nice after dinner treat.

  78. Sandi

    I made these tonight and they are delicious. I had UK grandparents so I grew up with Lyle’s syrup and love the taste. I was wondering if it would work if you cut the sugar down to 1/4 cup. Always looking for ways to lower the sugar content whenever possible. Thanks for another great recipe!

  79. C

    Thinking of these for an office party but not entirely sure what “cut quarter diagonally to form 4 triangles” means. If you had 16 squares, would you cut each in half to get 32 triangles or in quarters to get 64?

  80. I’ve been wanting to do flapjacks for a while! One year in the UK and I was a convert but finding golden syrup here in China is pretty damn near impossible and, like you mentioned, the alternatives might change the flavour.
    Still, I might give it a go with some kind of light honey? Or would you recommend mixing it with something else (I can’t find maple syrup around here) ?

    Thanks a lot!

  81. Well Traveled Mile

    Going to have to try these! I don’t have golden syrup, but going to give it a try with 100% real maple syrup. Should be delicious!