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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Soot's Flapjacks (Granola Bars)

    I tried to make Soot's Flapjacks from How to be a Domestic Goddess (p232), and I followed the recipe to a T. They baked till they were golden brown but they didn't set and now I have granola instead of flapjack bars. Any idea what could have gone wrong? Thanks!  

    Why is it I am able to make all sorts of cakes perfectly, but my flapjacks always crumble? I have tried adding extra syrup or extra butter, but they still refuse to stick together! Please help! MelGood

    From the nigella team:

    There are two styles of flapjacks, chewy and crispy, and each style has their own fans. The thing most likely to determine the texture of the flapjacks is the baking - slightly underbaked flapjacks will come out on the chewy side and those baked for longer will be crisper. When baking the flapjacks, only bake them until the edges have turned golden and the centre is still a little soft - so for Soot's Flapjacks we would suggest checking them after 20 minutes in the oven. We would also suggest rotating the baking tin halfway through the baking time to give more even cooking. Once the flapjacks have come out of the oven mark them into bars but then leave them to cool fully before removing them from the tin. It is also useful to line the tin with baking parchment (parchment paper), with paper coming up the sides of the tin. This make is easier to lift the flapjacks out of the tin once they are cold. 

    The type of oats used can also effect the texture. Nigella's recipe uses standard rolled oats (quick-coking oats), which are fairly fine but not powdery so shouldn't be confused with instant oat cereal. The larger "jumbo" (old fashioned) oats tend to give a crumblier flapjack as they don't seem to bind so well. If the mixture continues to be crumbly then you may like to increase slightly the amount of golden syrup in the mixture. There is also a fairly easily recipe based on the ratio of oats to other ingredients for flapjacks which may be worth trying if Soot's Flapjacks are not quite to your taste. The ratio is for oats:butter:soft light brown sugar:syrup and it is 4:3:2:1. So measure the thickness of oats that are needed for your baking tin, weigh the oats then use 3/4 of the weight in butter, 1/2 weight in brown sugar and 1/4 weight in golden syrup. Melt butter, sugar and syrup together then stir in oats. Put in a lined tin and bake at 180c/355F until just golden on top (usually 20-25 minutes). Mark into bars and let cool completely. For chewier bars make a thicker layer of oats and for crisper ones use a thinner layer of oats.

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