These flapjacks are great for many reasons and not just because they're vegan. These flapjacks improve over time and will be just as good a week or so after making. As well as making a great accompaniment to a morning coffee or mid-afternoon slump, these are ideal for an aldesko breakfast if you're working from home or to enjoy on the morning commute.
As a woman in her late 40's (how did that happen?), I'm more conscious than ever as to what I eat. So, rather than make a plain flapjack, I wanted to sneak in extra vitamins, minerals and mood-boosting ingredients making it the perfect recipe for midlife and beyond.
Oats: Obviously, the main ingredient in the recipe is oats and I opted for a gluten free option. Oats are known as the 'grain for the brain' as well as being heart-healthy, will boost immunity as well as being a low GI energy source.
Nuts: This recipe takes 100g of mixed nuts which include vitamins, minerals, protein, fibre and good fats. They are a simple way to sustain energy and optimum nutrition. In this recipe, I used:
Brazil Nuts: these gloriously buttery nuts promote heart health by lowering cholesterol levels. They also boost the immune system, enhance mood and improve memory. They are particularly good for hair, joints, skin and nails.
Walnuts: with a history of heart disease in my family, I try to consciously include ingredients to help protect against this and also age-related cognitive decline. Walnuts also benefit the skin, lift mood as well as anti-inflammatory properties.
Almonds: provide fibre and protein and importantly offer a great non-dairy source of calcium to help maintain bone density.
Hazelnuts: contain decent amounts of vitamin B6, folate, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. A one-ounce serving provides around 2.7g of dietary fibre which accounts for about 11%of our daily intake.
Dates: have a low GI and are high in insoluble fibre and magnesium.
Cranberries: considered by many to be a superfood due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content.
Raisins: can aid digestion, boost iron levels, and keep your bones strong.
Golden Sultanas: help to correct any iron deficiency.
Seeds: This recipe uses 50g of mixed seeds which may seem a small amount but seeds are a potent addition to a diet thanks to the vitamins, minerals, fibre and mood-soothing properties. I'd used up most of my seeds in my homemade granola, so I just used:
Pumpkin Seeds: supposedly with an antidiabetic effect, pumpkin seeds also support immunity, heart health and promote relaxation and restful sleep.
Sunflower Seeds: are known to help protect against heart disease as well as lowering 'bad' or LDL cholesterol as well as stabilising blood-sugar levels.
How did we make the flapjack vegan?
By swapping out the traditional dairy-rich butter for an organic coconut oil is a simple way to make this an easy vegan flapjack recipe. It also delivers a subtle nutty flavour and smells delicious when you're adding in all of the ingredients.
How else can you boost a flapjack?
The lovely folks at Bioglan Superfoods recently sent me a sample of their 'Super Protein' powder which is enlivened with vitamin C and B6 to help with hormonal balance and energy.
I included a couple of teaspoons into the recipe. You could also use the powder in things like homemade granola, pancakes or to top yogurt, porridge or a smoothie.
Bioglan make a whole range of well-balanced protein blends including: Superberries, Beauty Protein, Digestive Boost, Supergreens, Cacao Boost and Green Boost. You can buy from Boots, Holland & Barrett and Tesco as well as many online retailers. Click here for a full list of stockists.
Why do you add flour to a flapjack recipe?
Flour helps to bind the ingredients together and provide a soft, gooey finish. You will only need a small amount. If you prefer a crisper flapjack, then I'd leave the flour out.
Vegan Flapjack Recipe
What you will need: a greased and lined deep baking tin approx. 23cm square
Preparation time: around 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes: 20 generous pieces
350g Oats - I used gluten free oats
80g Plain Flour
100g Roughly Chopped Mixed Nuts - I used Brazil Nuts, Walnuts, Almonds and Hazelnuts
200g Dried Fruit - I used Cranberries, Raisins, Golden Sultanas and chopped Dates.
50g Mixed Seeds - I used Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds but you could also try hemp, sesame, chia etc.
200g Coconut Oil
175g Golden Syrup
200g Light Brown Sugar
2 tsp Ground Ginger
2 tsp Biogland Super Protein Powder
Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease a 23cm square cake tin and line with baking parchment.
Chop the nuts and dice the fruit - I like them quite chunky and chopped them by hand, which admittedly is more time consuming.
If I do jobs like this in a blender then I have a tendency to have a mind-wander meaning that in the case the nuts end up more reminiscent of dust or at best, coarse sand.
Chopping by hand means you can have as coarse or fine consistency as you'd like.
Mix together the oats, flour, nuts, fruit, seeds, ginger and protein powder (if using) in a large bowl.
Place the coconut oil, golden syrup and brown sugar in a deep bottomed pan over a low heat. Stir occasionally until the oil has melted and a smooth consistency is achieved.
Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and stir well until thoroughly combined and no dry patches at all. Tip the mix into the prepared tin and spread it out until level. Press down firmly.
Bake for 25-35 minutes until set and golden. They may look and feel soft to touch but they will firm up a lot as they are left to cool.
Leave the flapjack to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Then, whilst still in the tin cut into slices with a sharp knife. Leave to cool completely before turning out and re-slice. Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days.