A plant-based version of a classic cookie: Vegan British Oat Flapjacks. They are gluten-free & easy to make with minimal ingredients.
The Brits are responsible for copious inventions that have transformed modern life, including the reflecting telescope, television, stainless steel, hip replacements, military tanks, and the telephone.
Add granola bars to that list.
British Oat Flapjacks: The Original Granola Bars
Long before Nature Valley and the Quaker oats man were selling their packaged snacks to the world, British home cooks were making the world’s first granola bars to pack into lunches and accompany afternoon tea.
They call them flapjacks.
In their simplest form, they comprise oats, butter, and golden syrup. It is the kind of minimalism that granola bar manufacturers are longing to achieve with their new artisan- organic- natural -bars (for big $ per bar).
But alas, even in the UK, the original version of the flapjack has been maligned by mass manufacturers who pump ready-to-eat versions full of additives, refined white flour and cheap choco bits.
My version is a back to basics version, with a plant-based twist: a combination of maple syrup and brown sugar in place of the golden syrup and vegan butter in place of dairy butter.
- Vegan (egg-free, dairy-free)
- Easy to prepare
- High in fiber
Ingredients for Vegan British Oat Flapjacks
The exact amounts of each ingredient are indicated in the recipe card at the end of the post.
- rolled oats (certified gluten-free, as needed)
- coconut sugar (you can sub brown sugar)
- maple syrup (you can sub brown rice syrup or golden syrup)
- vegan (plant-based) stick butter (not tub-style spreads)
- vanilla extract
Golden syrup is the traditional binder in flapjack recipes. However, most of us do not have a British import store at our disposal. Moreover, the point of flapjacks is simple, wholesome eating with a handful of everyday ingredients.
Simply substituting maple syrup for golden syrup, without the addition of sugar, does not work (unless maple granola is your desired outcome). Combining sugar and maple syrup (or brown rice syrup) into a thick syrup, however, works like a charm.
How to Make Vegan British Oat Flapjacks
Note that the complete directions are also in the recipe card below.
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line a 9-inch (22.5 cm) square baking pan with foil or parchment, leaving an overhang to remove the bars; lightly spray or grease the foil/paper.
- Pulse 3/4 cup (75 g) of the oats in a food processor until finely chopped but not powdery/flour.
- In a medium , heavy saucepan, combine the sugar and syrup. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and and sugar is melted. Add the vegan butter; cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes longer until mixture is bubbling and begins to thicken slightly.
- Remove pan from heat and immediately stir in the salt, vanilla, ground oats and remaining oats until blended. Spoon and spread into prepared pan, tamping down firmly with back of spoon or spatula to compact the bars.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 24 minutes for more chewy flapjacks, 25 to 30 minutes for crispier flapjacks. Set on a wire rack and cool completely in pan set (the bars will firm up as they cool).
- Use paper/foil overhang to remove bars to a cutting surface. Cut into 16 bars, squares or triangles.
FAQ & Tips
How Should I Store the Flapjacks?
I Do Not Follow a Vegan Diet. Can I Use Regular Butter in the Recipe?
Yes. If you are not following a vegan diet, feel free to use regular dairy butter. You can also use honey as one of the syrup options.
What Kind of Vegan Butter Should I Use?
Use a stick-style vegan butter (it might also be labeled plant based butter or margarine) that has a high fat (not water) content. Tub style vegan spreads will not work. The reason is that they contin a high percentage of water.
What is a Good Substitute for Coconut Sugar?
An equal amount of lightly packed light brown or dark brown sugar can be used in place of the coconut sugar.
Are All Oats Gluten-Free?
No. Oats themselves are free of gluten, but most packaged oats contain traces of gluten due to the way oats are grown (alongside glutinous grains) or processed for packaging. If you need th oats to be 100% gluten-free, use certified gluten-free oats.
Finally, a word for those of us with British heritage: the next time someone maligns British cooking, feel free to insert (degree of force is an individual choice) a flapjack into the offender’s mouth (Note: a buttered scone will also suffice).
Here’s to British cooking, granola bars, and pack-able, portable eats!