Dark Chocolate and Cherry Flapjacks

I’ve realised recently that I take baking for granted. Baking is such a normal occurrence in my house and I’ve been baking it since I was little (under strict supervision of course in the earlier years!). I never really thought anything of this until I talked to my flatmate, who is relatively new to baking. It seems perfectly normal to me to not have to look up how to bake a Victoria sponge cake and to know what it means when a recipe says something like ‘whisk to soft peaks’, but not everyone has this experience. This can make it difficult to know where to start with recipes, especially if you’re starting with no-one to guide you along the way, as my family have done. I’m really glad that my flatmate joins me when I’m baking, even if it turns out that it’s all been a scheme to get free food! I hope that, if he can overlook me being a bit bossy occasionally, he might learn some things about baking in order to be able to enjoy baking by himself. But for people who do want to try baking by themselves, and who don’t have a friend to guide them, it occurred to me that some recipes aren’t all that suited to beginners and that maybe more recipes about the simple stuff need to be out there. And so came the idea for this post.

I was talking about what to bake next for my blog with the aforementioned flatmate, and he asked me ‘what’s a really easy thing to bake for a beginner?’ My immediate thoughts were all things that I’ve written up recipes for at some point or other on this blog: brownies, cookies, cupcakes; but one thing in particular came to mind- flapjacks.

Flapjacks used to be something of a signature bake of mine and I’ve been baking them for a long time. They’re a nice easy bake that I used to make on my own before I built up the courage to bake things that were a little more complicated. Once you’ve got the hang of the simple base recipe, you can be creative in adding whatever extra flavours you like! This recipe adds two of my favourites: cherry and dark chocolate. If those flavours aren’t your cup of tea, simply swap them for something else (more advice on this in the Handy Hints section).

Dark Chocolate and Cherry Flapjacks

Baking time: 45 mins- 1 hour (Oven time 30-35 mins)

Ingredients
170g Butter
70g Soft Brown Sugar
2 tbsp Golden Syrup
340g Porridge Oats
100g Dark Chocolate
150g Glacé cherries

Bakes in a greaseproof paper-lined brownie tray

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Melt the butter in a pan, over a low heat. Stir in the sugar and golden syrup until combined. Take off the heat.
2. Add the oats and stir until the butter mixture coats the oats.
3. Chop up the chocolate and cherries into small chunks (I’d recommend cutting the cherries in half)
4. Stir in the chocolate and cherry chunks until evenly distributed.
5. Place in the lined baking tray and cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the oats are golden coloured.
6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. The flapjacks will continue to bind together a bit after they’ve been removed from the oven, so don’t panic if they look really crumbly.
7. Cut into squares and serve!

Handy Hints
Ingredients Swap- If you don’t want to add chocolate to this mixture (why not?!) then use 225g of Butter instead. If you’re swapping dry ingredients, use the same quantity as the cherries. If the ingredient you’re adding isn’t as sweet, add a little more sugar to the mix.
Other flavours- the classic dry ingredient to add would be raisins, but I would recommend maybe white chocolate and cranberry or topping normal flapjacks with toffee, chocolate or caramel.
Baking- Make sure to press the mixture into the tin when you transfer it from the pan. This will help it to come together a bit better.

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