Today’s recipe is for Irish flapjacks. I know! I know! My flapjacks look just like granola bars, and nothing like pancakes, as any American might expect.
But believe it or not, a flapjack in Ireland is a homemade oatmeal bar and in no way resembles a pancake.
You say ‘granola bar’, and I say ‘flapjack.’ Oh my! Here’s one of those little culinary and cultural nuances between Ireland and America, I just love to explore.
I remember when I first crossed the Atlantic to the good old USA, I loved Saturday morning breakfast in a restaurant. America wins my award for the best breakfast joints in all the world.
The first time I saw “flapjacks” on a breakfast menu, with luscious descriptions of cream and strawberry toppings, I immediately started imagining how difficult it must be to pipe cream onto a skinny granola bar.
I laughed when I read Imen McDonnell’s flapjack story on her blog Farmette. As an American in Ireland she expected pancakes when offered flapjacks in an Irish restaurant.
Now Ireland is not alone in calling these baked oat bars ‘flapjacks’. Our neighbors in the United Kingdom, who share many of our culinary traditions also bake rolled oats with butter, brown sugar, and syrup before cutting them into serving sized strips.
And our Irish cousins in Newfoundland also call these baked bars ‘flapjacks’. Everyday I seem to learn of more shared cultural connections between Ireland and this eastern Canadian province.
My kids LOVE Irish flapjacks. They’re a perfect after school snack. This is a perfect substitute for biscuits and milk, an after school treat when I was a little girl. And I’m not averse to a cuppa tea with a flapjack in the middle of the afternoon.
Despite plenty of healthy oats, these are no skinny treats. Melted butter, brown sugar and delicious golden syrup add a slight hint of caramel to these scrumptious finger food bites.
I don’t worry too much about those extra calories. I much prefer to make my own oatmeal treats than to have my little ones devour store bought granola bars, that boast too many preservatives and an ingredient on my “no-no” list – BHT.
BHT is part of the benzoate preservative family and stands for butylated hydroxytolune. There’s a mouthful and I don’t like eating ingredients I can’t pronounce.
Once I started reading about BHT I learned this preservative is made from coal tar and butane, a petroleum derivative. No more granola bars from the grocery store for Irish American Mom.
And so, my days of buying non-organic granola bars came to an abrupt halt. Homemade Irish flapjacks came to my rescue. They may be a guilty pleasure, but who cares. I can pronounce everything on the ingredient list. And they are ever so simple to make and bake.
And so, without further ado, here’s my recipe for this sweet oatmeal snack, loved all over Ireland.
Ingredients for Irish Oatmeal Flapjacks:
Here’s the simple list of ingredients you’ll need. Check out the printable recipe at the bottom of this post for US customary and metric amounts for all the ingredients.
- light brown sugar
- golden syrup (corn syrup or honey may be substituted).
That’s it – just four simple ingredients.
Directions For Irish Oat Flapjacks:
Making these bars is easy as pie. Actually, they’re easier than pie.
To get started pre-heat your oven to 350° F. Prepare your baking pan by greasing a 9 x 9 inch square pan. I used a 7 x 11 inch pan.
First pop the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan.
Over low heat melt the butter, with the brown sugar and golden syrup, stirring frequently to form a caramel color sauce.
I use golden syrup which is available in Meijers grocery store. If you can’t find golden syrup, corn syrup can be substituted. I believe King’s syrup is available in some states, and is a very good substitute for golden syrup.
Honey can also be used, but it alters the flavor of the flapjacks. There’ll be no hint of caramel if you use honey. Maple syrup works well too, so don’t worry if you can’t get your hands on a bottle or tin of golden syrup.
Next, pour the melted sauce over the dry oatmeal in a large mixing bowl.
Stir it all together, mixing well so no dry pockets of oats escape their sweet buttery coating.
Spoon the oatmeal into a greased baking pan.
Flatten the oats into the pan with the back of a large spoon. A nice smooth upper surface is best.
Pop the flapjacks into a pre-heated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
The flapjacks are ready when they are a lovely golden brown color.
When done remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool a little. While they are still warm use a knife to loosen the edges away from the sides of the pan. Using a knife score the top of the flapjacks into 16 rectangular slices.
When set and nearly cooled, pop the flapjacks onto a wire rack to cool completely.
If you undertake this step too soon, your flapjacks with fall apart on the rack.
Transfer the cooled flapjacks onto a chopping board and slice into individual serving bars.
Trust me, you won’t be able to cut these delicious granola bars without some crumbling along the edges. All those runaway oats are simply an extra treat for the server.
These bars store really well in an air tight container and stay fresh for up to a week. They’ve never lasted more than two days in our house, but I do have four hungry, flapjack loving kids to feed.
These bars are lovely with a cuppa tea, but there’s something special about a glass of cold milk with an Irish oat flapjack. A reminder of my childhood days!
Now this recipe is for a simple flapjack. The possibilities for tweaking the ingredient list are endless.
You can add chocolate chips for extra sweetness, or you can add dried fruits for extra texture and flavor dimensions. Then there are all kinds of nuts and seeds that go perfectly with sweet oats. The sky’s the limit.
Irish Oat Flapjacks Printable Recipe:
Note: There’s a tab just below the ingredient list to switch between US and Metric measurements.
Irish Oat Flapjacks
- 3 cups oatmeal
- 1 stick butter 4 ounces butter
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons golden syrup corn syrup or honey may be substituted.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9 x 9 inch baking pan.
- Melt the butter, brown sugar, and golden syrup in a saucepan over low heat, stirring to blend.
- Add the oats to a large bowl and pour in the melted mixture. Combine well to completely coat the oats.
- Spoon the oats into the prepared pan, and flatten with the back of a spoon.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the pre-heated oven until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly in the pan. Score the top of the flapjacks into rectangular slices, and loosen the edges with a knife while still warm. Allow to cool further in the pan. When set turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Slice or break the scored flapjacks into fingers to serve.
And there you have it – my most basic of all flapjack recipes. Simple but delicious. Happy flapjack baking – no flipping required.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
You might enjoy more Irish recipes. Check out my complete Irish recipe index here….
Here’s another great Irish dessert.
Strawberry Mousse Dessert
For Pinterest fans, here’s a pin friendly image….