I've almost always been disappointed with bought flapjacks, or flapjacks made by other people – because I have a very particular vision in my mind of how the perfect flapjack should be, which is apparently different to everyone else's. To me, perfection is golden, sweet, initially slightly brittle yet yielding to become jaw-achingly chewy. The overriding flavour should be oats and golden syrup. Putting flour in a flapjack is anathema of course – this is a chewy, oaty treat, not a soft cake!

So I set out to create the perfect flapjack by starting with a basic recipe and modifying till I found nirvana in a baking tin. My first effort was just a straightforward attempt to act as a benchmark, using the following straightforward approach, modified from several I found across the internet:

  • 125g Whole rolled jumbo oats
  • 125g Oatmeal (because all whole oats is apparently a bit much)
  • 150g butter
  • 75g Golden syrup (the single most important ingredient – Tate & Lyle of course)
  • 75g caster sugar (I used golden caster sugar)

Melt the butter, syrup and sugar together in a pan, add everything else, stir together than put into a 20*20cm tin lined with baking parchment. Put in oven at 175c for 20mins or so, but if you're oven's anything like mine you really need to keep an eye on it!

Here are the before and after going in the oven shots:

Looked pretty good and tasted OK, with decent chewy texture, but not the flavour I was after – just not enough golden syrupyness coming through.
So I tried again, this time using much more syrup and much less butter (they were a bit greasy first time). I also threw in a handful of sultanas to add moist chewiness and flavour. After only 15 minutes it was 'done' and came out looking like this:
It took some serious effort to cut it into those few pieces, but I gave up after that. Those black blobs are the sultanas, embedded within the concrete that was the 'improved' flapjack. Honestly you could have made houses with this stuff. I think I know what the butter's for now! The experiment will continue…

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