Safari Inspired Eats Part II: Fresh Air Flapjacks

 

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A view from the vehicle during a game drive.

Panoramic views, interesting conversations, and fresh air all helped make the food taste special on safari. I have memories of a simple flapjack during a morning game drive that tasted amazing, and I immediately knew I had to experiment with the recipe at home. This was not the pancake flapjack I grew up with in the states, but rather a sugary, cake-like oat bar.

Admittedly, it wasn’t the healthiest way to start the day, but there is a time and a place for all treats, and on a morning game drive was definitely one of them. The sweet, salty, buttery confection was addictive with the smooth bitterness of my coffee. A heavenly combination.

I began my research into this tempting treat by looking at the citations on the “flapjack (oat bar)” wikipedia page, leading me to an interesting link about the basic history of the flapjack. I then found an informative article via google, published by the Guardian’s Felicity Cloake in 2011; from the treats reputation with the public, to some insight as to formulations for different flapjack recipes, it covered the basics on how to make a great flapjack.

Consisting of a simple base of butter; syrup (such as golden syrup, molasses, honey, corn syrup, or agave syrup); brown sugar; and oats, the flapjack seems the ideal recipe for variations. From soft and crunchy; devilishly rich and decadent to healthy and diet friendly; recipes for the British flapjack have emerged in many forms over the years. This is evident from the plethora of recipes on the internet; if you google “British flapjack recipes” you will come up with around 364,000 results.

Before tinkering with this treat I wanted to bake it in its most basic form. I tested one of the most straight forward recipes posted by Molly Wizenberg on Epicurious; this was the first recipe to pop up when I googled British flapjack recipes, and it looked very classic in terms of its ingredients and assembly.

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Step 1: I melted butter, brown sugar and golden syrup together over low heat; this is how the Epicurious recipe starts.
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Step 2: I  took the pan off the heat and added oats and salt to the mixture.
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Step 3: I spread the mixture into a greased square dish. Then I baked the flapjacks! It was that easy! Note: I would suggest lining the pan with parchment or foil before greasing it; it will make releasing the bars from the pan much easier.
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I created the flapjacks above using the recipe for “British Flapjacks” provided on the Epicurious site. They were delicious, though a bit crunchier than the ones I enjoyed during safari!

I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen with my own take on this treat, and i’ll post the recipe for my variation of the flapjack, Fresh Air Flapjacks, shortly. Below is a sneak peak at a recent flapjack baking session in my kitchen, where I was testing out my first variation.

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My flapjack variation attempt #1. Recipes for my Fresh Air Flapjacks will be revealed shortly!

Additional Notes: The River Cottage site also offers a good basic recipe for flapjacks, as well as ideas for variations. And the Lyle’s Golden Syrup site was one of the first places I looked when searching for a recipe; they offer a great option as well. As I mentioned, there are so many flapjack recipes out there! Let me know your favorite!

 

 

 

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