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Now a very thick lightly-baked soft biscuit (or 'cookie') of rolled oats with a rich form of sugar (treacle, golden syrup, raw cane sugar) and fat, often with fruit or chocolate, baked as a slab and cut into substantial sections. Typically 2ins x 4ins x½ins thick.

For an ancient version, see Thorcake

Modern Flapjacks in a baking tray.
Photo: "sk8geek"

Over the centuries the word 'flapjack' has been applied to all sorts of flattish, sweetish cakes, pancakes and pastries (see; Flap Jack), and remains in use in some parts of North America as type of pancake. For example;

Original Receipt from 'Nottingham Evening Post' - Thursday 7 December 1933

A recipe for flapjacks: Mix 2oz. flour and half-teaspoonful baking powder with half-gill cold water into a batter, add ½ oz. currants, and fry in hot fat on both sides. Serve hot with sifted sugar. Enough for four people.

The name seems to have settled down to its present sweet, oaty meaning somewhere in the North in the 1930's, though the OED was able to say as late as 1989 that the name was still "Not known to some correspondents in S. England."

Original Receipt from 'Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser' - Saturday 23 February 1957

Four ounces each of margarine, sugar and porridge oats, place the margarine and sugar in saucepan, stir until the sugar is dissolved, then stir the oats. Mix all well in the saucepan, press into a greased tin. and bake in a moderate oven for 25 minutes. Cut into triangles and leave until cold

The name appears in the play 'Pericles, Prince of Tyre', possibly by William Shakespeare: "Come, thou shalt go home, and we'll have flesh for holidays, fish for fasting-days, and moreo'er puddings and flap-jacks, and thou shalt be welcome."


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