The first time I spotted a flapjack was when I was strolling through High Street in Oxford, a university city northwest of London. Hungry from having visited Stonehenge earlier that morning, I remember seeing a magnificent stack of golden slices piled high in the window of a local bakery. I’m not sure what time it was, but it instantly seemed like the right moment for a tea and goody break.
A few bites and I was in buttery, baked oatmeal heaven. Determined to figure out how to make these treats for myself at home, I returned to the US and conducted extensive research on–of all things–oatmeal. I discovered that porridge oats were the key ingredient to making good flapjacks. Also known as Scottish oats, these oats are typically ground into bits to create a coarse powder. Quick-cooking Irish oats are also used to make these hearty treats–easier to find and in keeping with tradition.
Flapjacks are similar to granola bars. I like to think of them as a grown up version of rice krispy treats, where porridge oats take the place of puffy rice cereal. You can throw ground nuts and dried fruits into the mix, just make sure to use Irish (or Scottish) oats, Irish butter, and Lyle’s Golden Syrup here. For authentic Irish flapjacks, these ingredients are non-negotiables!
I prefer my flapjacks either plain or coated with a layer of dark chocolate. A bright green drizzle of matcha-infused white chocolate gives the hearty bars a pretty pop of color for St. Patrick’s Day. The green tea powder also adds a tinge of pleasant bitterness to balance out the sweetness from the golden syrup.
A strong, brisk cup of Irish Breakfast tea…there’s truly no better drink to serve these Irish Oat Flapjacks with. Drink the tea hot and the flapjacks will literally melt in your mouth! Tied with a strip of parchment and baker’s twine, these rustic bars are ideal for springtime picnics or a charming St. Patty’s Day tea.
Irish Oat Flapjacks
Makes 10 pieces.
3/4 cup butter (I used Kerrygold)
1/2 cup Demerara or light brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup (I used Lyle’s)
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1 tsp matcha powder, sifted
9″ square baking pan fitted with parchment
small spoon, fork, or sandwich bag with an edge snipped off (for drizzling matcha chocolate)
large, sharp knife
1.) Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the butter, sugar, syrup, and salt in a large pot. Set the pot over low heat and gently mix with the spatula. Let all the ingredients meld together until the sugar is completely dissolved. This will take about 10 minutes.
2.) When all the ingredients have melded together, add the oats into the pot and mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Place this mixture into the prepared baking pan and smooth it out evenly with the back of the spatula.
3.) Bake the flapjacks for 30 minutes until the top is golden brown. After removing the pan from the hot oven, immediately scatter the dark chocolate chips evenly over the surface of the flapjacks. Wait for a few minutes, then use an off-set spatula to smooth the melted chocolate over the surface of the flapjacks evenly. Set aside to cool.
4.) For a festive finish, melt the white chocolate chips in a small bowl, in the microwave. Melt the chips for 10 seconds at a time, mixing thoroughly after each 10 second interval (my chips melted after 4-10 second intervals). After the chips have melted completely, mix in 1 tsp of matcha powder. Drizzle this green tea chocolate over the top chocolate layer of the flapjacks using either a small spoon, fork, or sandwich bag (with an edge snipped off).
5.) Wait for the flapjacks to completely cool before cutting with a large, sharp knife. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!