Flapjacks with a wonderfully unusual savoury twist
Aoife Noonan: These green olive and walnut flapjacks are a bit of a wild card, but I urge you to try them
Green olive and walnut flapjacks. Photograph: Harry Weir Photography
Flapjacks are a lovely quick-fix snack or alternative to the old reliables for breakfast, or your mid-morning cup of tea. I adore portable bars and snacks, and flapjacks are the perfect addition to fit in to your meal preparation on a Saturday or Sunday, for the busy week ahead. There is satisfaction in having snacks prepared in advance, cut into bars and stored in a container within easy reach for during the week.
Flapjacks have acquired a bit of an unfavourable reputation, as most recipes for them contain colossal amounts of butter and golden syrup, the end result being sickly sweet rather than filling and hearty. However, I always think of these oaty treats as a vessel for so many interesting flavours and textures, without the need to overload them with sugar.
I love a savoury bake. This week’s recipe has some of the usual ingredients found in a flapjack – oats, nuts and seeds – but I have turned the traditional sweet, fruity flapjack on its head, and added a deep savoury note in the form of green olives. It’s a bit of a wild card, but I urge you to try it. These green olive and walnut flapjacks are every bit as addictive as their sugary counterparts as they are balanced in flavour and texture.
I had a jar of beautiful green olives in my kitchen cupboard for a while, untouched. They were huge beauties with their stone in, thick and shiny-fleshed and steeped in salty brine. They were wonderfully savoury, and paired so well with the sweetness of the maple syrup and the crunch of the walnuts in this recipe.
A savoury flapjack can be very tasty and an unusual twist on the familiar. I have eaten them in bar form, or broken up into clusters for a savoury kind of granola on yoghurt.
While there is no butter in this recipe, I have used coconut oil to bind the flapjacks and add flavour. If this is something you don’t have or don’t want to use, there really is no other oil substitute; use butter instead. I have also used buckwheat groats and mixed seeds, which give a gorgeous texture and crunch, but these can be swapped out with more oats if you prefer, as long as you have an equal total weight in dry ingredients.
You could also use honey instead of the maple syrup here, they just won’t set quite as firm. I cut these flapjacks into 12 bars and store them in an airtight container in the fridge, where they’ll keep for up to a week.