Sunday, 8 April 2018

Cherry Bakewell Flapjack Bars - Gluten Free

Delicious, moist, flapjacks with the flavours of a cherry bakewell tart!

Since my daughter had to go on a gluten free diet, we've tried a fair few sweet and savoury snacks - some quite tasty, some... well... let's just say we didn't try them more than once!

If you're gluten free, you're probably aware of how horrendously expensive gluten free products are, with even just the basics often costing in excess of four times their gluten-y equivalent! So, it makes sense to make your own food from scratch, where you can, as it makes the cost a lot more manageable. Even when buying gluten free oats from the supermarket costs four times more than normal oats, you're still making a huge saving on baking your own treats with them - just imagine how much more it costs to buy the finished baked goods gluten free!

Anyway, I digress. There was a nice Bakewell-style slice that my children both liked, and so I came up with a home-made alternative - which I have made using predominantly oats, with plenty of almonds so it's more filling, and a bit healthier than just a cakey slice on top of pastry - plus who wants to make pastry, right?!

Makes 40 bars at 169 calories each (or cut these in half to make mini squares for lunchboxes / treats at 84 calories each, so they're under the 100 calorie mark!) - although if you want to cook fewer / use a smaller tin, you can easily halve this quantity, and just cook for about ten minutes or so less.

[Calories in square brackets]

  • 280g butter, cubed, plus a little extra for greasing (or dairy free alternative) [2,064]
  • 350g oats (ensure gluten free, if cooking gluten free) [1,365]
  • 200g GF self raising flour (I use Dove's Farm) [696]
  • 150g golden caster sugar [600]
  • 150g flaked / slivered almonds [944]
  • 300g glace cherries, halved (preferably natural colour, e.g. Billingtons) [909]
  • 2 large eggs (preferably organic) [170]
  • 2 tsp almond extract (check gluten free, e.g. Nielsen-Massey) [24]

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 and lightly grease a large baking tray (about 28cm x 32cm - or use two smaller trays) with sides at least 2cm deep, then line with greaseproof baking paper (this stops the paper sliding around when you're trying to spread out the mix).

2. Gently melt the butter and set aside as soon as the cubes are almost melted (they will continue to melt). Weigh the oats, flour, sugar and almonds into a large bowl, and stir together.

3. Add the glace cherries to the mix, and ensure they are all separated from each other and coated / buried within the mixture. Make a well in the centre.

4. Beat the eggs together with the almond extract. Add the melted butter and beaten eggs to the well in the flour and oat mix, and combine thoroughly, working it in from the edges.

5. Tip the mix into the tray, and use a fork to spread the mixture out evenly in the tray. Place in the centre of the oven, and cook for approximately 30-35 minutes until cooked through and a light golden colour on top. If your oven cooks unevenly then turn around after about 20 minutes. If cooking a half quantity, reduce cooking time to about 20-25 minutes. leave in the tray for 10-15 minutes, then turn upside down onto a board, remove the baking paper, then turn onto a wire tray to finish cooling. 

6. Cut into slices on a large chopping board using a long, sharp serrated knife. (If you cut into four slices lengthways, then halve this and cut each half into five, you'll end up with 40 bars).

For extra decadence, drizzle with some melted white chocolate (check gluten free), or icing sugar if making dairy free!

For cherry coconut omit the almond essence, and substitute the flaked almonds with dessicated coconut or coconut flakes, and drizzle with dark chocolate. 

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