Thankful for Flapjacks.
I recently discovered that flapjacks don’t exist in USA in the way I know them, here a flapjack is the word for some form of pancake (most odd). I’m here to put things right, because to me flapjacks are a gooey mess of rolled oats, butter, golden syrup and caster sugar – a childhood Sunday afternoon in the kitchen learn how to bake with Mum kind of affair. Adults love them too – and flapjacks are often consumed by runners as a carbing up food, or packed in rucksacks for long country walks and rambles. I”m not sure that all that processed sugar is the best plan though mind, which is why I have tried to make them a little healthier.
As I mentioned in my quinoa post I have recently been introduced to a variety of pseudo-grains, one of which being amaranth. Little known amaranth actually contains more protein than protein-famed quinoa, is a good source of the amino acids lysine and methioline, and also calcium. It has an almost sweetness to it when cooked, and a sticky texture both attributes making it perfect for my sticky flapjack recipe. Amaranth is usually found in its whole seed form, but when I stumbled across it in its flaked form the idea of making flapjacks instantly sprung to mind. I’m sure this recipe would also work with quinoa or millet flakes too – which are all similar sized and much finer than oats. The end product is less like a British flapjack than I had anticipated, but absolutely delicious in its own right. Buttery, chewy from the amaranth and sweetened by the dates. Unlike the original British recipe there is no golden syrup or caster sugar element. The dates and banana along with the ghee manage the gooey rich sweetness all on their own.
Since making up the simple banana version a few weeks ago based on a banana/date recipe from here (only natural sugars from fruit involved – hooray!), I decided to tie in with the November Thanksgiving activities and incorporate pumpkin puree and spice into one version. Both recipes have a similar method, but both are listed separately below. Finally, just a teeny apology for not having had the opportunity to convert the cup measurements into g. I know how annoying cup recipes are when you don’t have cups but I don’t have weighing scales at the moment, please forgive me.
I’m looking forward to experiencing my first Thanksgiving later this week. I’m sure it will be a truly unique experience for a Brit.
- 2 Tbs ghee (or coconut oil)
- 6 medjool dates, pitted and diced
- ½ banana
- ½ a 450g can (approx 225g) pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix (see notes)
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 1 cup amaranth flakes
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F (175 C)
- Melt the ghee in a sauce-pan and add the diced dates. Cook on a medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until the dates have soften a little. You don’t want a date paste, as its preferable to have some texture in the flapjacks.
- Meanwhile mash the banana with a fork, keep it quite chunky, you don’t want a puree
- Add it to a bowl along with the pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice and a pinch of salt. Next stir in the amaranth flakes, and the ghee&date goo.
- Press the mixture into a parchment lined baking tin (whatever shape you have to hand, square or oblong approx 32 inch squared). The flapjacks should be ¾ inch deep.
- Bake in the oven for 30-40 mins or until the top is browned, and the flapjacks are firm to touch (springing back a little to touch, rather than being mushy)
- Transfer to a cooling rack and wait patiently for 10 minutes, while the flapjacks cool. They will firm up further as they cool.
- Slice into 12 pieces.
- Will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for a few days. Can also be frozen.
Variation: For a plain banana version without the pumpkin puree and spice mix, replace the ½ banana and pumpkin puree with 1 whole banana. You can substitute the spice for whatever you like. I tried a version with 1tsp ground ginger. You will need to reduce the cooking time to 25-30 minutes.