Chocolate Coated Peanut Butter Flapjacks with Crystallized Peanuts

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homemade_flapjacks

Silky milk chocolate coated peanut butter flapjacks

How many recipes have you made in your lifetime? How many more do you think you might still? And just how many are left languishing inside eagerly acquired cookbooks, on pages torn from magazines, on bookmark bars and Pinterest boards, never to see the light of day as you return to tried, tested and trusted recipes you’ve always enjoyed?

According to a poll commissioned by the Good Food Channel last year, the average British woman can cook just seven meals from scratch, with eighty percent admitting to churning out the same thing over and again, and only two percent turning to cookbooks or online for a source of inspiration. I don’t know about you, but as a member of that minority percentage, my problem is less how to get out of a cooking rut and more deciding what to make next from the ever-growing reams of recipe ideas accumulating in print, online and in my head.

chocolate_coated_flapjacks

Dip the flapjacks lengthways or vertically . . .

Cooking the same recipes day in and day out is a little like putting on a pair of pajama trousers: easy, familiar and an almost ritual guilty pleasure. If we were to continue with the clothes analogy, I suppose having a blog is not dissimilar to attending a public premiere: everything should look amazing, all eyes are on you and heaven forbid you be seen wearing (posting) the same thing more than once.

Blogging has really opened my eyes to all the exciting recipes out there, whether reading other peoples’ posts or coming up with ideas of my own. However much as I enjoy looking things up online, it’s hard to beat the look and feel of a proper printed cookbook. Whether it’s brand new, pristine from its packaging and screaming for the gorgeous glossy photos within to be brought to life, or a dog-eared tome, pages turned down on family favourites or smeared with buttery fingerprints, there’s something about cookbooks that completely captivates me.

peanuts

Crystallized peanuts are sweet, crisp and crunchy

But there are only so many hours in the day, and try as I might to use all my cookbooks in regular rotation, there are some I turn to time and again, and others (whispers) that I’ve never managed to cook from at all. One such book is – or I should say was – Heston at Home, a present from my brother this Christmas just gone. Having asked for it specifically, when presented with the pages of fancy foams, sponge-filled cheese toasties (!) and other weird and wonderful tips and techniques, my brain simply refused to engage. The photography wasn’t quite as enticing as I’d hoped, the recipes required various odd pieces of equipment I didn’t have and somehow poor old Heston ended up at the back of my bookshelf.

On Monday we arrived back in London after a blissful family weekend away in Yorkshire. With rain lashing at the windows, thick grey clouds slung low in the sky and my body only just beginning to come out of a chocolate Easter-egg induced coma, it felt like some lazy baking should be firmly on the agenda. Trawling the cupboards I laid out oats, flour, sugar, honey, an open jar of natural peanut butter and a bag of dry roasted peanuts. With butter and a squeezy bottle of condensed milk from the fridge, I was set to make one of the easiest recipes ever, so to spend a little more time in the kitchen I decided to tackle something from Heston’s book.

chocolate_flapjacks

Creamy chocolate, chewy oats & crispy peanuts – what more could you want?

The recipe below involves crystallized peanuts. In Heston at Home, the photograph shows pistachios, the green, jewel-like nuggets coated in a lacy white layer. My peanuts are a little less pretty, looking more like the salty crust of a slightly underbaked potato, but ignore the slightly anaemic appearance and they taste absolutely delicious: nutty, crisp and crunchy with a salty-sweet kick. The crunch of the nuts against the smooth milk chocolate and sweet, fudgy flapjack works wonders and elevates these from a basic after-school snack into something much more exciting.

If you’re looking for a healthy flapjack recipe, look away now. Or better still, have a look at the sesame and tahini flapjacks I posted at some point last year. But if you’re looking for something rich, mellow and seriously satisfying, packed with toasty oats and crispy, crunchy nuts, then this is the recipe for you. The chocolate coating is entirely optional, but is a great way to use up any bits of leftover Easter chocolate (really? No, me neither), and the crystallized peanuts are (hopefully) something new to try. After all, you wouldn’t want to get stuck in a recipe rut, would you?

peanut_flapjacks

These nutty, chewy, chocolaty flapjacks melt in the mouth . . .

Chocolate Coated Peanut Butter Flapjacks with Caramelized Peanuts

Ingredients:

For the flapjacks

175g smooth natural peanut butter
100g unsalted butter
100g condensed milk
50g light brown sugar
50g honey
200g rolled oats
25g unsalted peanuts, chopped

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line a 20cm square tin.

Melt all the ingredients except the oats and peanuts in a medium saucepan over a low heat until combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the oats and peanuts. Transfer to your prepared tin, smooth the mixture flat and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into 10 bars.

For the crystallized nuts (adapted from Heston at Home)

Ingredients:

100g white caster sugar
75ml water
100g dry roasted peanuts
Sprinkle of sea salt

Method: 

Line a tray with non stick baking parchment.

Combine the caster sugar and water in a medium pan and bring to the boil over a medium to high heat. Continue to boil until the syrup at the edges of the pan begins to colour, then remove from the heat and add the peanuts, whisking until the syrup has completely crystallized and coated the nuts.

Pour the nuts over your prepared tray, sprinkle with a small amount of salt and leave to cool. This recipe will make more nuts than you need, but they can be stored in an airtight container for several months (if you can keep them away from hungry hands…)

For the coating

Ingredients:

90g milk chocolate, chopped
35g smooth natural peanut butter
A few drops of flavourless oil (I used sunflower)

Method:

Line a tray with non stick baking parchment.

Melt the chocolate and peanut butter together in a small pan over a low heat, stirring constantly. Add a little oil until you have a thick, glossy spread (this final addition isn’t entirely necessary but gives the chocolate a lovely sheen).

Dip your flapjack bars into the chocolate mixture one at a time, then lay them out on your prepared tray, a few centimetres apart. Top each one with a few crystallized peanuts. Once the tray is full, pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the chocolate to firm up.

Serve at room temperature, and store in an airtight container.

34 RESPONSES TO Chocolate Coated Peanut Butter Flapjacks with Crystallized Peanuts

  1. Oh YUM!!!!!!!!! These look amazing and I could really go one right now for afternoon tea with a huge mug of tea….mmmmmmmmm!!!! You are so inventive and clever!

  2. This looks delicious! Perfect after a weekend walking in the rain in Yorkshire! I have loads of cookbooks but hardly ever cook from them, when I cook I make it up at the spot ;) I wish I could bake sweets like you do though!!! :)

  3. missnorthsouthfood -

    You’ve definitely made flapjacks look very stylish. They are usually so delicious, but plain. Nice to see them get some love.

    I’m tempted to try making these. They look easy. I have a terrible history with flapjacks having made some that were so bad the local birds wouldn’t eat them. I need my hand held apparently.

  4. wow,
    just the antidote to a busy dayyesterday that I was looking for, am going to try these this afternoon ….. Thank You!

  5. mykitchenstories -

    These look absolutely beautiful. how neat and perfect are they? Sometimes it is a bit like that with some books. You think you are going to get all inventive and then you hear those crickets!
    http;//www.mykitchenstories.com.au

  6. I love a good flapjack, especially one that involves chocolate in some form!

    • Amy – haha thank you! I think Heston should take most of the credit for invention here :-)

      Reulga – aw, thanks!

      Miss South – flapjacks are so simple, do try them again! That Dan Lepard adaptation I’ve linked to is awesome if you want something a bit healthier – they’re my go-to flapjack in times of need :-)

      Helen – enjoy!

      My Kitchen Stories – thank you.

      Kathryn – most things are made better by a little bit of chocolate . . . :-)

  7. Breakfast has just become very very posh :D
    I love your creation :D
    Looks delicious!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  8. I totally agree. Although I’m still an amateur and tackling all the classics are my first go to list, I would want to amaze myself and the family with more crazy recipes. It’s true that the familiarity, the comfort zone is enticing, but I love new, I love untried, untested!

  9. It’s amazing to think that the average British woman can cook just seven meals from scratch. It’s also a little sad. My move into food blogging certainly opened my eyes and increased my repertoire, and I just love trying new recipes. I think with the ever increasing popularity of cooking shows on tv that the number of meals people can cook from scratch is increasing.

    I’m also guilty of having cookbooks in my collection that I’ve never cooked from either. I’ve never had flapjacks, but these look amazingly delicious.

  10. Lisa -

    OMG, you know me and peanut butter. Why do you have to live in the UK?? I can’t even begin to tell you how these are dream bars to me with the PB, pretzels, peanuts and chocolate (when I saw Flapjacks, I initially thought pancakes lol – not that that’s a bad thing!). In any event, your creations are always amazing. Thank you so much for your kibd thoughts regarding my Dad xo

  11. Good for you for doing one of the recipes at Heston at Home. I thought the photos were fun-especially the one of the cheese toastie (always a favourite item here :P). These flapjacks look fantastic and I like the idea of super crunchy crystallised peanuts :)

  12. Wow, those statistics are pretty horrifying. I’m so glad I can cook! I can’t imagine eating the same meals over and over, and not having the skills to do otherwise. Sad.

    Flapjacks are obviously something quite different in the US–they’re breakfast pancakes–but that just made all the chocolate a welcome surprise!

  13. Wow, good on ya for crystallizing peanuts!! And I still can’t believe those stats you posted… :( Wonderful flapjack recipe, might have to add to the pile of ‘must try’ ;) x

    • Choc Chip Uru – I’m not sure I’d recommend these for breakfast! I didn’t realise in America a flapjack is more like a pancake…very different in the UK!

      Pencil Kitchen – I love experimenting too – you just have to be prepared for the odd disaster along the way :-)

      Jennifer – you’ve never had flapjacks?! That you have to remedy :-) As for the statistic, I know, it’s so incredibly sad. Although, as you say, with the growing popularity of food on TV, in magazines and online, the situation does seem to be improving.

      Lisa – until I wrote this post I never knew that flapjacks in America were pancakes! In the UK it’s our standard name for a baked oat bar.

      Lorraine – the book is great, I just need to get my head around it. Thinking of trying his chilli next weekend…

      Eileen – as I said above, I had no idea flapjacks were pancakes in the States! But hopefully this was a good surprise, and has introduced you to a tasty new treat :-)

      Elaina – do try them, they’re very delicious :-)

  14. I’m super-duperly (probably not a word I know) impressed with your Heston recipe! And they look super-duperly (here we go again) great! And as for the fact that ‘the average British woman can cook just seven meals from scratch’- fact of the day that is!!

  15. Ooh Peanut butter-y stuff!! mmmm! I guess I have just found the recipe for my weekend baking session. Thanks!

  16. Seriously, I live my life in a constant state of stress as recipes accumulate in my ‘bookmarks’ section and in my recipe journals, cut out from magazines. I genuinely worry that I will never be able to make them all in my lifetime. It’s a big concern. I’m surprised I don’t have high blood pressure.

    On another note, these look like the most unhealthy thing ever. I bet they taste amazing.

  17. wow o wow all my favourite ingredients!! I do tend to cook the same few recipes over and over again but since I’ve started blogging I tend to bake something new each time. Totally loving the crystallized peanuts – yum!

  18. Oh Pinterest has ruined my social life ;) lol I love it!! These souns ah-maz-ing!

  19. Amy -

    Wow, these look delicious. Love the dipped milk chocolate coating… what a perfect combination. I could use one right now (that is also the exact reason they are so dangerous…)!

    • Kate – I think superly duperly can be an expression if you want it to… :-)

      Oi You Food – enjoy!

      Elly – I don’t think they’re that unhealthy… ;-) I know what you mean about recipe overload though – if I stopped saving them right now I’d probably still have enough new recipes to last me several years!

      Baking Addict – do try the peanuts – or you can use this technique with any nuts, so yummy!

      Nic – haha, I know, Pinterest is so addictive.

      Amy – dangerous but delicious :-)

  20. I have accumulated such a collection of recipes over the years that there is no way I could possibly ever cook my way through the pile! I do think that the process of collecting them has it’s purpose however even if never made as they serve as a source of inspiration.

  21. laythetable -

    I want these now! I do have some recipes that I make again and again, but if you like them then you shouldn’t not make them again! I have a tonne of recipes books I haven’t made anything from though

  22. kaleighaubry -

    I’m an old fashioned girl at heart, so I know what you mean about the charm of a cookbook. There’s nothing quite like it.

  23. gosh! This looks so mouthwatering! Better than any bars you could purchase outside!! :)

    • Sylvie – totally agree, every day I find inspiration in new recipes.

      Georgia – thank you.

      Lay The Table – I think everyone has a guilty stash of recipe books they’ve never used, however big or small.

      Kaliegh – I can’t get enough of them, even though I could probably find all the recipes and more online!

      Sam – thank you and I agree, a million times better than shop bought.

  24. This is my first time to this blog. Those look delicious. Yummy and I will be back.

  25. I do a lot of creative baking, but when it comes to dinner, there’s definitely a rotation of meals I work through. This is inspiring me to pull out my cookbooks and break out of the rut!

    • Connie – ah, thank you!

      Baking Serendipity – it’s so easy to get stuck in a weeknight dinner rut, but trying new recipes is so rewarding :-)

  26. Flapjacks! I forgot how lovely and tasty flapjacks are! And these look nothing short of incredible. Hope you are having a nice start to your week :)

  27. My girls love peanut butter. This would be a very special treat for them one time. They look amazing.

    • Lemon Fire Brigade – ah, thank you. Glad to have revived your love of flapjacks!

      Fleur – I think all kids love peanut butter (and big kids too!) :-)

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