flapjacks for lunchboxes, teatime and road trips


I love a good flapjack. We never left home for a holiday when I was little without a tin of flapjacks and shortbread.  Long before granola bars had ever been thought of, these were what my Mum packed for us. Like granola bars, they are a real treat but give you a bit of a (false) sense that they are really healthy and you can eat loads of them because they have oats and seeds in them.

They sit around in a biscuit tin quite happily for a week, if they last that long. Wrap a couple up with a Thermos of tea and head off for a walk in the drizzle if you are that way inclined, or brew up and enjoy on your sofa. I won’t judge. They are a yummy after-school treat too.

I came across this recipe in the lovely Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall‘s book River Cottage Every Day.  A fabulous book full of things you really want to cook and eat. I think I’ve marked at least 60% of the recipes to try and all the ones I’ve tried so far have been delicious. Living far from home, I love having books like this that allow me to recreate English grub and give me a taste of home. His recipes are non-fussy and this book follows his usual thread of being thrifty but not cheap – using the best quality food but using it sparingly and seasonally.

These flapjacks are adapted from his recipe for honey and peanut butter booster bars in the breakfast section of the book. I have a peanut allergy so I used almond butter, you could use sunflower butter instead. Most schools now ban any nuts so using sunflower butter will make them a relatively healthy lunchbox treat.

Flapjack Ingredients to make 16 squares

125g (or half a cup) butter – or coconut oil to be dairy-free

110g (or half a cup) brown sugar

125g (or half a cup) of no-sugar added almond, peanut or sunflower butter

80g (or a quarter cup) honey or maple syrup

Zest of 2 oranges

200g (or one and a half cups) jumbo rolled (old fashioned) oats

150g (or a cup) sunflower seeds – you can use pumpkin, sunflower, flaxseed or a mixture of all three (I prefer just sunflower)

To make:

1.  Preheat the oven to 160c (325f) and grease and line, with parchment paper, a 20cm (or 8 inch) square baking tin.

2.  Put the butter, honey, orange zest, nut butter and sugar in a large saucepan over a low heat and stir regularly until the butter has melted and the ingredients are combined.

3.  Stir the oats and seeds into the melted mixture and stir well then dollop into the baking tin and spread evenly.  The mixture will bubble up slightly as it cooks so be sure that your tin has around an inch of space at the top. Pop it on a baking sheet before it goes in the oven to save the bottom of your oven being covered in lava like oats

4.  Bake for around 30 minutes until golden in the center and golden brown on the edges.

5.  When it first comes out of the oven you will think it needs to cook more as it is pretty wet. Be patient though and wait half an hour then come back to it. As it cools, the butter will firm up and the flapjack will set. After 30 minutes, cut it into 16 pieces and pop it in a biscuit tin or airtight container.


You can now buy the equipment I use in this recipe through my shop. I’ve spent years testing my favourite bits of equipment so rest-assured that whatever I recommend is the best tool for the job and will give you great results without cluttering your kitchen with unused tools.

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