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Spiced apple sugar-free flapjacks

My most popular recipe on the blog is my sugar-free flapjacks. Obviously lots of people want a healthier version of this popular treat.

I make my sugar-free version fairly regularly and even serve them up to unsuspecting adult guests, even though I initially invented them for littlies.

I’ve also experimented with other flavour combinations but usually forget to write them down. This variation is one I like a lot and can be made more spiced if serving it to big people. More importantly, I’ve managed to write it down!

spiced apple sugar-free flapjacks

Once again it’s sugar-free, using a little honey and mashed banana instead for sweetness. This time though, extra sweetness comes from soft dried apple and raisins rather than the original recipe’s dates. There’s also the addition of orange zest.

If you’re making this for toddlers, I would first try making the flapjacks with the smaller amounts of spice (1/2 tsp of cinnamon and 1/4 tsp of cloves) while adults will like more warming spice (1 tsp of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of cloves).

There are lots of ingredients to mix so this is a great recipe to get your children involved.

SPICED APPLE SUGAR-FREE FLAPJACKS

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15-20 mins
Makes 16 squares

100g butter
3 tbsp honey
200g porridge oats
100g soft dried apple, chopped into pieces no bigger than 1cm
30g desiccated coconut
50g raisins
30g golden linseeds (or flaxseeds), plus extra for sprinkling on the top
1/2 – 1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground cloves
zest of an orange, grated (or 1/2 tsp orange extract)
2 ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 175C and grease a 20cm square baking tin.

Gently melt the butter and honey either in a saucepan or in the microwave. Leave to cool.

In a large bowl, mix the oats, chopped dried apple, coconut, raisins, golden linseeds, cinnamon, cloves and orange zest together.

Add the mashed bananas to the melted butter and honey, stir to combine and then pour into the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

Press the mixture firmly into your tin and sprinkle over the extra seeds.

Bake for 15-20 mins until golden on top and it’s coming away from the sides of the tin.

Take out of the oven and, while it’s still warm, use a knife to score where you will cut. Leave in the tin to cool before cutting.

spiced apple sugar-free flapjacks

Variations:

  • Make dairy-free flapjacks by replacing the butter with a dairy-free margarine

Tip: if you have fussy little ones, to avoid them pulling out pieces of dried fruit, chop the apple (maybe also the raisins) into very small pieces for a smoother and more homogeneous mix.

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The original sugar-free flapjacks (oat bars)

The original sugar-free flapjacks (oat bars)

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Chewy oaty biscuits

So Nicholas’ first go at cooking went really well. He particularly enjoyed spooning the ingredients into the various bowls. I had laid out a number of different sized spoons and he tried all of them, preferring the smaller ones (it makes sense when his chubby hands are so small).

I found Michelle’s advice over at What’s Cooking With Kids really useful. She suggests using a large bowl with a non-skid bottom, putting the mixing bowl inside a larger bowl to avoid spills, and setting up everything ahead of time so your little one doesn’t get bored waiting for you to prepare. One of her readers also recommends using a funnel which I think would work really well. Nicholas definitely enjoyed using a jug, especially while we were waiting for the biscuits to cook.

It’s important to choose something that’s easy to cook. A recipe that involves mainly pouring ingredients into a bowl and mixing them is perfect. Biscuits or slices that have melted butter are great; you can melt the butter beforehand and let it cool so little hands are safe when mixing. Also try to make something that doesn’t take very long to cook so you can both sample your munchkin’s efforts as soon as possible.

These chewy oaty biscuits are a simple recipe you can find all over the place with the same basic ingredients. They’re simple, perfect for kids to make and easy to vary. I used this recipe from NetMums and added some raisins, but the possible variations are almost limitless.

The texture is similar to flapjacks (firm on the outside with a chewy centre), in fact you could press the mixture into a square tin and then cut into pieces rather than rolling it into biscuits.

We didn’t get any where near the 24 biscuits the original recipe says and our biscuits were small. Even with some mixture going on the floor and into a little mouth, it was closer to 18 small biscuits

CHEWY OATY BISCUITS

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10-15 mins
Makes about 18 small biscuits or 12 medium-sized biscuits
They keep well for several days in an airtight container

75g butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
75g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
75g demerara sugar
75g porridge oats
25g raisins

Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease or line an oven tray with baking paper.

Gently melt the butter and golden syrup either in the microwave or in a small saucepan. Leave to cool.

Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl.

Add the sugar, oats and raisins and stir together.

Pour in the cooled melted butter and golden syrup and mix until combined.

Roll the mixture into small balls and place well apart on the prepared tray. Press down with the back of an oiled spoon to make flatter biscuits or leave for more rounded biscuits.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Variations:

  • Use a dairy-free margarine instead of the butter to make dairy-free biscuits
  • Use honey instead of golden syrup
  • Add other dried fruit such as chopped dried apricot, dried apple or dried strawberries
  • Add chocolate chips
  • Drizzle with melted chocolate or dip half of each biscuit into melted chocolate
  • Add some spice such as cinnamon or ground ginger
  • Add flaked almonds
  • Add desiccated coconut

Have you tried cooking with your kids? What advice would you give to make it as stress free as possible?