Thursday 17 August 2017

Back to school: Homemade flapjacks

Homemade flapjacks are wholesome and quite delicious, says Susan Jane Murray, and teachers will love them

Susan Jane Murray

Bought flapjacks can be laden with offensive quantities of corn syrup, sugar, cheap hydrogenated fat and refined salt. None of which your child's brain cells or mood-o-meter will thank you for. And, with increasing financial pressure on companies to lower their production costs, it's hard to trust anything with a wrapper and a marketing department nowadays.

So, here's a healthier version gifted to me by a groovy mama and her bouncy, bionic son. Try putting these flapjacks in your child's lunch box, and watch your little one glow with goodness.

They are cleverly made to drip-feed your kiddie's battery consistently throughout the day, instead of giving it one big sugar surge. Bye-bye, temper tantrums and schoolyard conniptions. Hello, happy teacher.

The smell of these oatie slices is a sure-fire way to draw children away, Pied Piper-like, from their Nintendo , and straight into an apron. Who knows, maybe you'll have the next MasterChef hatching in your kitchen?

High-octane flapjacks

These flapjacks are pure, wholesome, unadulterated yum, whether you choose coconut oil, butter or sunflower margarine. I stick with cold-pressed, extra virgin coconut oil for its anti-microbial and anti-viral compounds. Don't be put off by coconut oil's saturated fat content. These fats are in the form of medium-chain triglycerides. MCTs readily convert to energy, in contrast to the longer chains of, say, sunflower oil. No wonder sports stars choose this oil over any other.

I'm also wary of man-made spreads, and how some manufacturers can chemically alter fats to change their consistency. Despite being touted as a smarter option to butter, you'll find that many vegetable spreads are bulked up with cheaper oils that have been bleached, deodorised and hydrogenated to achieve spreadable results. Buyer beware.

Dry ingredients:

2 cups jumbo oats

1 cup ground almonds

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Handful sunflower seeds, chopped

1 cup gooey dates, chopped

1/2 cup raisins or goji berries

3/4 cup broken banana chips

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Wet ingredients:

3/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, butter or unhydrogenated margarine

1/2 cup honey, maple or agave syrup

Preheat a conventional oven to 160°C, 325°F, Gas 3. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and merrily mix.

In a saucepan, gently melt the extra virgin coconut oil, or the butter, or the unhydrogenated margarine, whichever you are using, along with the honey, or the maple syrup, or the agave syrup, whichever you are using, for around three minutes, until they are nicely blended together. Create a hole in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet mixture. Stir energetically, preferably with a sashay of your hips and a bit of Bell X1. This helps your gooey mix to glisten. Put the contents in a lined and oiled tin that’s no bigger than a magazine page. Press down firmly with your fingers. Licking the utensils and the bowl is most definitely allowed.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the flapjacks are lightly browned. Any darker in colour, and the oats will turn bitter. Remove them from the oven and allow them to rest for 5-10 minutes before gently scoring the flapjacks. This does not mean devouring them — instead, using a sharp, unserrated knife, mark them in the desired flapjack shapes. Resist cutting them up until after they have chilled and become hard and chewy. Otherwise you will be left with a frustratingly messy affair, which no amount of Bell X1 could remedy. Wrap in some baking parchment, and store them in the fridge. A great hiding place.

Sunday Independent

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