Fudgy Flapjacks

Friday, 18 January 2019

I must apologise upfront if you came here looking for pancakes!  I'm not talking about that kind of flapjack!  Here in the UK, on the Isle of Mann, in Ireland and yes, surprisingly, in Newfoundland, a flapjack is a oaty bar, baked in a flat tin in the oven and then cut into squares or rectangles.  

In Costco here in the UK you can buy beautiful flapjacks.  They are huge and half dipped in chocolate. If you can eat a whole one of those you are a better man than I Gunga Din!

Typically a flap jack is made from four basic ingredients.  Oats, butter, golden syrup and sugar.  This results in a dryer version of a flapjack.  

Today's version has the inclusion of sweetened condensed milk, which will give you a fudgier, less crumbly version.  The sweetened condensed milk also gives a sweeter result.

Both are delicious.  Both are quite easy and very simple to make.  If you can stir things together in a bowl and press them into a pan, you are quite capable of making flapjacks! 

Flapjacks have an old and varied history, dating back to the 17th century when they were first shaped like a cake or a tart and baked in a flat tin. King James IV of Scotland was on the throne and Guy Fawkes unsuccessfully tried to blow of the houses of parliament!

Of course they are something quite different these days than those original historical ones from way back when.  Today's perfect flapjacks are quite sweet . . . but gloriously so.  

They should never be hard or dry. They should be sweet and slightly chewy. Somewhat moist and never dry. They are meant to be enjoyed with a hot cup of tea or a cold glass of milk. 

Children absolutely love them! No surprise there!Children always love sweet things.  The sweeter the better.

The addition of sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk) results in a chewier flapjack, not quite so dry as some you find out there.  This chewiness is an attribute which I quite enjoy. 

I can remember the first time I saw a flapjack here in the UK.  I wasn't quite sure what to make of them.  I wasn't sure that I was actually going to like them.

Shakespeare is said to have loved flapjacks. Enough so that he wrote about them in Act I, Scene II of Pericles.

“Come, thou shant go home, and we’ll have flesh for holidays, fish for fasting-days, and moreo’er puddings and flap-jacks, and thou shalt be welcome” 

If they are good enough for Shakespeare to mention then they are good enough for me.  I  was actually quite, quite surprised when I tasted my first on.  I have to say that it was love at first bite! 

Lets face it.  They really are not all that attractive when it comes right down to it.  But the British are great lovers of simplicity when it comes to things like this, and of tradition.

This is the kind of treat I dreamt about all those years ago when I was devouring Enid Blyton books and wondering about Tuck Boxes, filled with goodies and midnight feasts! 

Midnight feasts enjoyed amongst your closest of school friends, sitting on dormatory windowsils sharing titillating tales of adventure and mystery. 

These are great keepers, which makes them perfect for the Tuck Box! And for sharing. And tucking into picnic baskets and lunch boxes. 

Perfect for dropping onto cake plates for the teatable. And for enjoying as a sneaky mid morning or mid afternoon snack with a nice hot cuppa!

They also freeze very well. Sometimes people like to dress them up a bit by dipping them into melted chocolate, dark or white, or even milk. This is a nice treatment I have to say.

Others like to dribble chocolate all over the top of them, decoratively of course.  Also nice.  Still others favour adding spice and dried fruit to them. 

I prefer them just as is at their very basic, without any spice or other adulteration. If something isn't broken why fix it.

At their very simplest, these are pretty perfect no matter how you wish to enjoy them, and that is one thing which I will guarantee.  You WILL enjoy them.  No matter how plain or simple you think they look.  This is definately a case where less is more.  

These were baked to enjoy with some yogurt for a teatime dessert.  I think you need to give them a go.  I think you will find that they are incredibly tasty and invariably moreish!  How's that for a tasty mouthful!  Todd just loves these. 

Yield: 25

Fudgy Flapjacks

prep time: 10 minscook time: 30 minstotal time: 40 mins
Using condensed milk helps to create a dense fudgy flapjack.  Flapjacks are oaty bars here in the UK.  Perfect for enjoying with a hot cuppa or a cold glass of milk.


  • 125g butter (1/2 cup)
  • 100g golden syrup (generous 1/4 cup,  3.5 oz)
  • 90g  caster sugar (1/2 cup fine granulated sugar)
  • 280g porridge oats (3 1/2 cups)
  • half to a full tin  (397g) sweetened condensed milk (14 oz tin)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F gas mark 4.  Line an 8 inch square baking tin with greaseproof paper.  Set side
  2. Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring often.  Do not allow to boil.  Add the condensed milk and vanilla (1/2 of the tin).  Cook, stirring for a further 5 minutes until the mixture turns a shade darker.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually stir in the porridge oats.  You may need some extra oats, depending on whether your oats are  jumbo oats or not. You want a mixture which is well filled with oats, but not stiff.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin, smooth out and flatten in the tin.
  5. Bake for between 12 and 30  minutes, turning the pan around halfway through the bake time to help them bake evenly.  If they are browning too quickly or you are afraid they might burn, turn the oven temperature down  slightly. They are done when the edges are browning slightly, whilst the centre is just turning golden.
  6. Leave to cool in the tin for 25 to 30 minutes before lifting out and cutting into squares.
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  1. Oh my goodness Marie..you must try these with chopped up pieces of ready to eat dried Apricots .....heavenly ! Now I,m going to have to make a batch ! lol ! :) x

    1. Sounds great Debs! I have made them before with toasted pecans and dried cranberries. So yummy! xoxo

  2. I have never had one:) Love your Flower Fairy tin:) I have one ..but different..how we like these things:)!

    1. I love how we love the same things Monique! No surprise there! xoxo

  3. My very favorite thing I bought in England wasn't tea from Buckingham Palace or the Victoria ornament or a book from the British library series. It was a box of Thomas Fudge's flapjacks, which you told us about here. Oh, if these are close to as good, I won't have to keep searching them out online. Consider this one printed and ready to go!

    1. I hope these meet your expectations Jeanie! Oh the Thomas Fudges Flapjacks are soooo decadent. You could also dip a corner of these in milk or dark chocolate if you dared! xoxo

  4. Plan on making these very soon, but I have a query on the baking time. "Bake for between 12 and 30 minutes" That's a big jump between 12 and 30, so roughly 20 mins ?

    1. I guess what I am saying is start checking them at 12 minutes. They are done when the edges are turning brown and the centre golden. Some days it takes longer than 12 minutes for this to happen. I don't know why. :-(

  5. Hi, I'm a little confused by the amount of condensed milk stated in the recipe - how do I tell whether to put in half a tin or the whole tin please?

    1. It all depends on you. You can add half to a full tin. It all depends on how dense you want them. I usually add about 3/4 of the tin.


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