Growing up, I didn’t really like flapjacks. There was something about a compressed block of oats that didn’t appeal to me. Perhaps it was the soft texture, or the feel of the oats in my mouth. Whatever it was, it caused me to spend most of my life avoiding them. As a child I’d made a few earnest attempts to become properly acquainted with the oat bar, more out of a feeling of duty than anything else. They had been offered to me and I had tried them, but I don’t honestly think I ever finished a whole piece because, no matter how many times I gave it a go the end result was the same: stodgy and somewhat unpleasant. The reason I came up with this vegan chocolate chip and walnut flapjacks recipe in the first place, I suspect, was an attempt to combat my prejudice. I think I wanted to like them, the way you want to like a person who’s intrinsically good natured, but just a little bit tiresome.
I knew it couldn’t be a plain flapjack. That was a no from the start. It had to have something to it, some substance, a little texture to combat the tedium. Chocolate was an obvious choice, but didn’t quite give the crunch I was looking for. An open pack of walnuts sitting on my cupboard shelf provided the answer. These, in combination with the chopped, dark chocolate pieces, transformed something I’d always considered rather bland into a sweet I couldn’t get enough of.
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As recipes go, flapjacks have to be one of the easiest to make (add ingredients, stir, place in oven). These vegan chocolate chip and walnut flapjacks are no exception. You can have everything ready to bake in about 5 minutes flat. The lengthy part is the cooking and cooling. They need to cool in the tray before you can move them, or you’ll end up with soft, oaty goo piled up at your feet. My advice is to leave them in the tray for a good half an hour after they come out of the oven and test them with your finger. Once they are firm to the touch, you can tip the tray out onto a large chopping board to cool fully. To make this easy, grease a lipped tray with vegan butter and then line it with a sheet of greaseproof paper.
Vegan Chocolate and Walnut Flapjacks
Prep time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 25-30 minutes. Cooling time: about 2 hours.
Makes about 15 large or 30-36 small, depending on how you cut them.
Use gluten-free oats to make gluten free.
250g vegan butter, melted (plus extra for greasing)
450g rolled oats (I used the Quaker ones)
330g golden syrup
170g maple syrup
150g dark chocolate (make sure it’s vegan), chopped into small pieces
100g walnut halves, chopped into small pieces
A generous pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to gas 4/180C/350F.
Put all of the ingredients, in order, into a large mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until fully combined.
Grease a lipped baking tray (approximately 25cm x 35cm) with a little of the vegan butter and then line it with grease proof paper. Spoon the mixture into the tray and spread out with the back of a spoon, until you have an even surface that comes to the top of the tray.
Cook in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until it has just started to brown on top (you will notice the smell of doneness when it is ready. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 30 minutes. Test by pushing it slightly with you finger and, if it is firm to the touch, you can turn it out onto a large chopping board or wire rack.
Allow to completely cool before cutting.