Oats, Butter and Sugar: Flapjacks Don’t Suck

Great minds think alike and fools never differ. So they say. I’m certainly not a great mind, and our good friend Pixie at You Say Tomato is no fool, but we happened to make flapjacks around the same time a few weeks back. Pixie got her recipe and pics up smartly while we dallied, and because of that I’m only posting this now as Memorial Day / May Bank Holiday approaches and flapjacks are no longer even remotely seasonal. Ho-hum.

Cranberry Flapjacks

In my mind though, any sweet recipe that goes up on this blog – no matter how easy – represents a victory since both my wife and I are poor bakers, so I’m posting this recipe for cranberry flapjacks anyway and to hell with the seasons!

Flapjacks remind me of my late mother as they were an old favorite of hers that she often made for when we came home from college or weekends, and we’d sit with her and catch up over flapjacks and a cup of tea. These turned out really well (they are dead easy to make) and I’m sure my mum would be proud of me.

UPDATE BY THE AMERICAN:  Just like I scratched my head in curious wonder when I first noticed that the English term for flapjack was very different from what I knew of flapjack,  so were many of our readers.  So, I realized we need to add a bit of history here.  According to research, in the US, the term flapjack dates back to the early 1600’s.  This is the second oldest term to describe what we also know as pancakes here in the US (which is the earliest term, coined around the 14th century).  We also have the good ‘ole American term johnnycake (Soprano’s fans?  Remember that hot scene between a sweaty, hairy fat Vito and his sweet Johnnycake near the motorcycle? Sexy!) or hoecake (love this one).  In the UK, a flapjack is a tray bake made of oats, fat and sugar and often syrup or honey.  They range from being soft and moist to dry and crisp (like this recipe) and are eaten as an alternative to a biscuit (cookie).  Also, a pancake in the UK is kind of different from our pancakes here (they are much thinner and lighter).  Check out our post on Pancake Day for some delicious UK pancake recipes.  To the English, a flapjack and a pancake are two completely different things.  To Americans, they are interchangeable.

Wikipedia does a good job of explaining the bottom line:  The word flap meaning a tossed mixture and jack, an uncertain word suggesting a variety, imply any ingredients could be called a flapjack.  To me, this explains why the word flapjack can basically be anything that is both tossed and with a variety of ingredients.  Salad = Flapjacks?  I’m still confused.

Tea and Cranberry Flapjack

Cranberry (Craisin) Flapjacks


  • 3½ oz (100g) butter, plus a bit extra to grease your brownie pan
  • 2½ oz (75g) light brown sugar (muscovado)
  • 3 good tbsp runny honey
  • 12oz (350g) porridge (Quaker) oats
  • pinch of salt
  • 3½ oz (100g) dried cranberries (craisins)
  • 1 banana, mashed (optional)
Cranberry Flapjacks


  • Preheat oven to 350F (180C) and lightly butter a 10 x 10 or 10 x 12 inch brownie pan
  • Melt butter gently in a saucepan and mix in sugar and honey.
  • Then add oats and salt. Stir well.
  • Add cranberries (and banana) and stir well again.
  • Turn mixture into brownie pan and press down so surface is smooth and mixture is evenly spread.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until oats are golden brown and crispy.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes, but cut into squares while still warm.
  • Store in an airtight jar or tin. They keep very nicely and continue to develop their chewiness for a while.

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16 thoughts on “Oats, Butter and Sugar: Flapjacks Don’t Suck

  1. Again with the ever-confusing flapjacks. These look like a really healthy hiking snack. Can they have chocolate in them? Or is that against the rules?

    What about ice cream on top?

  2. Love you guys xox…May has been the shittiest month for me…between online bs, M getting stitches and then a car accident yesterday…..it’s been an alright fucken disaster. But, your flapjacks- look wonderful and your photos of them turned out brilliant. Well done and I’m sure your mum would have been very proud too.

  3. These treats look great Jonny!!! If they are so easy to make, I should start baking them myself… I can’t just start baking :(.

    Have a happy weekend♥

  4. Claudia and Heather and Marc – check my update in the post. I added a bit of history to help us Americans understand this confusing word.

    Bottom Line: The brits call these flapjacks and pancakes are a different thing. here in america we pancakes and flapjacks are kind of the same thing.

    And yes, heather, you can TOTALLY add chocolate! I think you’re totally right – they are kind of like a delicious granola bar. I think chocolate chips would be perfect and delicious.

    PIXIE:!!! !!!!! WTF!?!? You need the sun to come out and the month to change. I’m so sorry for all the crap you’ve been going through. Not cool. I really hope things look up for you soon. you’re too sweet to have all the shit happen! Chin up, girl.

    To everyone else: THANK YOU and have a WONDERFUL long weekend. even your brits – it’s may bank holiday, right? ENJOY.

  5. hehe thanks for the info, cause I was all looking at the picture at the top of the post going “um, interesting. that doesn’t look very flapjacky to me, but what do i know?”

  6. Thanks for the history lesson – it feels more clear now – although flapjacks will always been pancakes and U.K. flapjacks will always be granola type bars. At the end of the day, who cares – I’ll make them and call them flapola bars.

  7. One of the best blog about food we have ever seen in the last few months! We love your long fusilli with salsa di noci and funghi, definetely we are going to try it as soon as possible, this recipe makes us very hungry! Come and take a minute to visit our blog, we would like to receive your and your friends comments and critics, it’s just a way to improve ourselves.

  8. Those Flap Jacks look great. I’m totally with you when you talk about the confusing wordage with pancakes and flap jacks and whatever. In your photos they kind of remind me of a square ANZAC cookie. Very interesting. And oatmeal makes them even a bit healthy for you. Good idea.

    And thanks for the support for my new site. I’ll keep your advice in mind and just keep having fun. Good talk see ya out there 🙂

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