I set myself a challenge to try baking different recipes to send to Kyle in his care packages. His days are incredibly monotonous, and I want the packages to have a variety of new and different treats.
Of course, the biggest difficulty is trying to decide what sorts of recipes will keep well, because there’s no way to predict how long the package will spend in the mail. The first package I sent to him was FIFTY (yes, 50!) days in the mail, but today he received the latest one after only eight days in the mail. As I was planning out a care package, I came across a recipe for Flapjacks in Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. In the U.S., if anyone said, “Would you like some flapjacks?” I would assume they were making pancakes. But British flapjacks are these oatmeal bars made with butter and golden syrup and sugar and they are unlike anything I had ever had before.
They mailed extremely well, and they were an absolute HIT. Everyone in Kyle’s squadron, including his Commanding Officer, LOVED them. To prepare them for mailing, I waited for them to cool completely, cut them up, wrapped them individually in plastic wrap, and then froze them in a disposable tupperware container. Of all the baked goods I have sent him so far, these are his second favorite item. I sent these twice, because I had leftovers after the first batch I mailed, and they spent 13 and 8 days in the mail.
The key to flapjacks is the golden syrup, which is cane sugar syrup. I was able to find golden syrup in the “British section” of my regular grocery store. At another grocery store, I saw it in the baking aisle near the molasses. Before I went shopping, I wasn’t sure if I would find it, so I tried to Google alternatives. Basically, the answer I found was that there is no alternative. It’s not Karo (corn) syrup and it’s not molasses. I’m sure using those ingredients would give you a different taste, which might be delicious depending on what you’re going for, but real flapjacks require golden syrup! You can also put in all sorts of different flavors and toppings. Do a Google search and the options are endless. I chose to do chocolate chips.
I asked Kyle to rate these on a scale of 1-10 with two scores: first, how well they survived mailing and second, how well he liked them. The verdict?
10 for mailing
9 for deliciousness
Chocolate Chip Flapjacks (Adapted from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible)
225 g (8 oz) butter
225 g (8 oz) demerara sugar
75 g (3 oz) golden syrup
275 g (10 oz) porridge oats [Note: I used old-fashioned rolled oats]
100 g (4 oz) chocolate chips
1. Pre-heat the oven to 320 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 12×9 inch baking pan.
2. Melt the butter in a large pan along with the sugar and syrup, and then stir in the oats. Allow the mixture to cool.
3. Stir in the chocolate chips and mix well. Turn into the prepared baking pan and press flat with a flat spatula or the back of a spoon.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for about 35 minutes or until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Mark into 24 squares and leave to finish cooling in the tin.