Ah, the best laid plans...
I woke today, fully intending to blog. I had given lots of thoughts to what I might be blogging about. It was most likely going to be about the sumptuous gift of delectable home grown sausage that Kenan gave me a couple of weeks ago. It was just conceivable it was going to be about a killer batch of red beans and rice I made this week, and not beyond the realm of possibility that it would be about a nifty little brunch dish I created over the weekend, featuring crumpets and poached eggs.
What it was definitely NOT going to be about was flapjacks. You see, not to make a big production about it, but since Christmas, I've intentionally baked not a single cookie. Nada. Not one. In fact, in our entire almost quarter century of married life, I've never, ever gone so long without baking cookies.
I guess it was a variety of things. Felix left in early January to go on a momentous around-the-world voyage, which meant there wasn't even the merest chance he'd be dropping by, catching me being not the kind of mother I aspire to be--the kind who has homemade cookies available whenever one should happen by. Plus, I realized it wouldn't kill Jeff and me to loose a couple of pounds, so ridding the house of the usual cookie stash didn't seem a bad place to start.
Anyway, fast forward to this week, where I've had a happy, busy time shooting a video for TimesDispatch.com, polishing next week's column and rereading Darina Allen's most wonderful cookbook, Irish Traditional Cooking, just for the sheer joy of it.
While I was reading it yesterday, I stumbled over a recipe for flapjacks, a simple treat that had completely slipped my mind. The best way to describe them is that Flapjacks are England and Ireland's answer to rice krispie treats--completely easy and filling that all important niche of giving Mums a quick way to pack a sweet something-or-other in a lunch box. I noticed them yesterday and thought fondly of flapjacks gone by, and turned the page.
That was, until this morning when Felix rang from South Africa to report on his shark cage adventure. It seems that, unbeknownst to me, last week there were a couple of hideous shark cage snafus in Cape Town. One, in which a great white shark broke into a cage and injured someone seriously, and one which was caught on video in which no one was hurt. It turns out that Felix's "official" and long-planned shark cage adventure was cancelled because of it. Undeterred, (and without telling me), he signed up for another one and went this morning to the very spot where last week's horrors occurred. This morning, he recounted (safely from shore) that a 15-foot great white attacked his cage but was unsuccessful in breaking in. His adventure was, shall I say, very exciting and he couldn't have been more pleased.
Perhaps you are the mother of an only child as am I, and perhaps your child also informed you after-the-fact that he'd had a close encounter with a great white shark. If so, it will come as absolutely no surprise to you that immediately, upon hearing the news, you can think of nothing else but racing into the kitchen and, as fast as lightening, setting about making some flapjacks which you haven't even thought about for 30 years, as though your life depended upon it. At least, that's what I did.
So, here is a delicious, easy recipe for flapjacks. So easy, they shouldn't really even rise to the level of being blogged about here, however, they get to be featured today, for the very good reason that they just maybe saved me from loosing my mind.
So, the cookie hiatus is over. Jeff will be happy, and, fingers crossed, it won't be long until Felix is back home, trolling about to see what delicious cookies are lurking in the familiar green tin. In the meantime, I'm so glad to have become reacquainted with flapjacks--I just wish it hadn't taken Felix's up close and personal encounter with a great white to propel me into the kitchen. Flapjacks, it turns out, are what jaws are for.
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Sugar in the Raw
2 1/2 cups Old Fashioned Oats (not instant)
a pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix the sugar, oats and salt together, then add the melted butter to the dry ingredients. Turn the mixture into a 7 x 11-inch baking dish, and smooth the surface. Stand the dish on a 8 x 12-inch baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
When cooked, let stand for a few minutes, then cut into 16 bars. Leave in the pan until quite cold, and then store in an air-tight container.
--Adapted from Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen, Kyle booksB