Wednesday, January 16

Fruity Flapjacks

Lacking energy?....Little sleep?....Big rugby, hockey, lacrosse (or even....fives?!), match ahead??

Well I have a little gem to give you an oaty, crunchy and fruity burst of natural, wholesome energy!!

Throughout this week my flat mates and I have had the torturous and depressive routine of early starts, library cramming and serious caffeine overdoses in order to pass these uni exams.


Pub nights and social lives seem like a life time ago... bed before 8pm with a hot water bottle is heaven... and not even the sprinkling of snow chirps you up...
So when you finally get back to your flat after an infinitely long stint at the library, you pop the kettle on....and these beauties appear as your new best friend.

Fruity, gooey squares for that little extra cheeky boost of energy.

 They're squidgy, sugary and irresistible if warmed up a smidge first. The raspberries give a sweet tang against the crunchy granola and help lighten the flapjacks, which can usually be quite a stodgy bake.

Whether you need a pick me up after a hard days work, a light boost before that big varsity game or a simple and sweet snack that doesn't leave your sweet tooth rotting, these little buggars won't disappoint!!


I made mine with my favourite fruit, raspberries. Yet they can be easily adapted with blueberries, blackberries, or my other favourite, bananas. Be adventurous!

Have a go, have a play around and find your favourite combination to create your exam busting buddies!!

For my little raspberry crunchers you will need:
- 1 punnet of fresh raspberries
- 450g demerara sugar
- 450g butter, softened (I used Stork)
- 4-5 tbsp of golden syrup
- 350g rolled oats
- 200g granola (whatever floats your boat- you could even try one with fruity/tropical dried fruits?)

(This recipe is for double the regular quantity of normal flapjacks as you need to be able to easily sandwich your fruity goo inside. For plain flapjacks, half all quantities and follow the same recipe-but obviously minus the mooshing, spreading and sandwiching of the fruity mix.)

Good quality ingredients are 'usually' worth investing in... but if you are like me and living off the beauty of a student budget- supermarket's own sometimes aren't too shoddy for the basics!

Now this recipe is so simple that it could be done blind....*ahem*

Preheat your oven to 160°C (fan), and line a square/ rectangular baking tray with baking parchment.
Make sure that the paper covers high enough of the sides as the flapjacks are quite tall, (the last thing that you want to end up doing is to have to try to splice a knife around the sides to un-glue the molten sugar... Not pretty!)


Pop a large saucepan onto the hob on a low heat. Measure out your butter, demerara and golden syrup and spoon it all into the pan. Keep on stirring gently with a wooden spoon while it melts, and use it to break up those lumpy ice bergs of yellowy butter.

If you sense your sugar sticking to the bottom of the pan- turn the heat down a tad to stop it burning.

Meanwhile...while this little form of melting magic is happening....

In a bowl, gather your raspberries and moosh them up with a fork. You're not looking for a homemade WI jam- try to keep a couple of big, juicy lumps- it just needs to be spreadable.


As the buttery, sugary syrup is melting; weigh out both the oats and the granola so that you're primed and ready.



Once your sugar, syrup and butter are all molten, take your pan off the heat and fold in your oats, followed by the granola with a wooden spoon. (if you want to add mashed bananas, raisins, nuts, cherries etc. then the time has come!) Mix it all up until fully covered with the sryupy blend.



If the oats aren't soaking up enough of the liquid, add some more or some granola until it's a tad more substantial. Try to avoid having a very wet mix as once baked the squares will just dissolve and collapse into a golden heap.. yum.

Spoon out half of flap jack mix and spread to the far corners of your dish. Using the back of the wooden spoon, evenly press down and compact the oats to try to create a firm base to build your fruity towers upon.


Spread the raspberry moosh until it blankets every crevice of the flap jack base in an even layer.

Might be nice to sprinkle some nuts of even white chocolate chips on top of the raspberries before sandwiching them in?

Scrape the remaining oaty mix on top of your crushed raspberries, and once again spread it far and wide.


As before compact the flapjack down with the reverse of the wooden spoon to try to remove any air pockets and to help the oats bind once in the oven.


Lush.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes. Try not to take it out of the oven before it's fully cooked as it won't stick together enough to hold its shape.



Your flapjack should be ready once the top is a golden, honey coloured crunch. It might start bubbling around the edges too if some of the raspberries rise.

After 5- 10 minutes, make firm, clear cuts with a sharp knife into grid like squares- it's much easier to do this now whilst they are soft and malleable. Once done, leave to cool completely. If you try to take the flapjacks out of the dish too early, they will more than likely collapse as the oats haven't yet set and firmed up.

I left mine to cool next to an open window to help speed up the process a tad...yes I'm impatient and wanted to have a munch on them ASAP!
 After about 20 minutes, using the edges of the baking parchment, lift your flapjacks very, very carefully out of dish and peal off the baking parchment.

Pop each square onto a chopping board so that they can cool for a further 5 minutes to set in their square shapes. (If your will power can resist eating them this long- WELL DONE!!)


Grab your friends over. Have a couple of bites... Have another... Have five like me if you really fancy!! Whack out a huge tea pot, pop them on a plate and have a gossip/laugh while forgetting all that exam stress!


Every one deserves a well earned break... (and if your revising... two, or three...whilst on facebook..)
Oh well... its the effort that counts in dragging yourself to the library in the first place... Right???

xxx
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