A genuine Gluten Free, Grain Free, Oat Free Flapjack recipe… Made with Buckwheat Flakes. The ingredients are carefully balanced for the best no oat flapjack texture. Optional dairy free & Vegan.
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Introducing my Gluten Free, Oat Free Flapjack recipe
I cracked it! A Gluten Free, Oat Free Flapjack recipe. I’m so happy! Although it was actually more complicated to get here than I anticipated. Why? Because you can’t just follow a standard flapjack recipe and sub the oats with alternative flakes. It doesn’t work. I tried it. What you get is something that is either mushy in texture or so dry, that it falls apart as soon as it leaves the structure of the tin. Don’t try it… It’s a waste of ingredients and money.
But I was determined to achieve a recipe for an Oat Free Flapjack for one critical reason. There are many people with Coeliac disease (Celiac Disease) out there, who can’t eat oats! Why? Because they are sensitive to Avenin… A protein that is similar to gluten. Even ‘gluten free oats’ are off limits for these people. And that means no flapjack!
My Gluten Free, Oat Free Flapjacks are for you my lovely friends… Although to be honest, they are so yummy, they are worth trying even if you can eat oats!
Why you can’t just follow a standard flapjack recipe and sub the oats
I expect a few of you are a little bemused as to why making an Oat Free Flapjack means using a unique recipe. So… Why can’t you just follow a standard flapjack recipe, but sub the oats for a different ‘flake’?
Unsurprisingly, I asked myself the same question. And that’s where I started my experimentation. It was a disaster. The problem is simply this… The texture of oats (no doubt because of the avenin) is completely different to other crushed flakes (grain or seed). It holds together when moisture is added and has a slightly sticky, creamy texture, which helps create structure in a usual, standard flapjack.
When subbing the oats with other no oat gluten free porridge flakes, the composition becomes very different. The challenge is getting the balance between absorbing enough moisture to avoid utter grittiness, but not absorbing so much that the flakes become powdery mush. It’s been a step-by step development process.
Are there other Oat Free Flapjack recipes on the internet?
When I initially started this Oat Free Flapjack journey, I was a little confused that it hadn’t been done before. So, I did a Google Search. What I found was really interesting. Of the 3 recipes calling themselves ‘Oat Free Flapjacks’, none come close to being an actual flapjack… There’s what I would call a fruit and nut bar (that even states in the text is not actually a ‘flapjack’); There’s a ‘Bakewell’ cake that has a few rice flakes in it and is topped with icing and a cherry (about as far from a flapjack in both appearance and method as you can get); And one other that looks a little closer, but seems to be a cross between a flapjack and a cornflake crispie.
Even under the heading ‘Buckwheat Flapjack’, the results were lacking.
Are these Oat Free Flapjacks like ordinary flapjacks?
The challenge therefore, was to make something more like a flapjack… And thus, the next question is whether the recipe for these Oat Free Flapjacks any closer?
I think they are as close as you’ll get. Although they do and will always lack the fully characteristic ‘creaminess’ that only oats can bring, they have the same buttery, syrupy-sweet taste… They hold together as a flapjack should… And they still have a definable flake texture, which is soft enough to give the traditional flapjack feel. They are definitely not cake… or fruit and nut bar… and there is not a cornflake in sight! Flapjack? I think so…
Buckwheat Flapjacks and why I chose this as the best oat substitute
I tried a variety of alternatives to oats when testing my no-oat flapjacks. In addition to making Buckwheat Flapjacks, I tested millet, amaranth and quinoa flakes. Buckwheat flakes were simply the best for texture, taste (millet in particular, was decidedly vile!) and control over liquid absorption (they were less prone to turning to mush).
Of course, if you can’t eat buckwheat or oats, then feel free to try substituting with (probably) quinoa as the next best option. It won’t result in the same bake, but you may like it. The best test is to make a half batch (using a 2 pound loaf tin, instead of an 8 inch square tin) and give them a go.
The ingredients to make Oat Free Flapjack
As with many recipes at Gluten Free Alchemist, the ingredients used to make my Oat Free Flapjacks are important. They are carefully balanced to ensure
- optimum hydration of the buckwheat flakes
- appropriate ‘stickiness’ in the bake to help the flapjacks hold together
- the ideal syrupy, sweetness level for the best flapjack flavour
So, what’s in my No Oat Flapjack?
Standard flapjack ingredients…
The standard ingredients you would expect to see in most flapjack recipes…
- Soft brown sugar
- Golden Syrup
- Optional flavourings, such as vanilla and cinnamon
As explained above, my Oat Free Flapjack uses Buckwheat Flakes, which are also grain free.
Apple Puree and Sweetened Condensed Milk – why they are needed in my no oat flapjack
Apple puree and sweetened condensed milk are added for optimum hydration levels and balanced sweetness. The use of the sweetened condensed milk is absolutely necessary as a substitute for some of the normal portion of sugar/syrup. It is absorbed more effectively by the buckwheat, but still offers a creamy, stickiness for an authentic flapjack texture and structure. Syrup alone or just in combination with sugar resulted in a crumbly, dry and exceptionally gritty bake.
However, I also didn’t want to take the flapjack’s sweetness level too high. So, a little apple puree was added to support hydration, but to balance too much sugariness. The easiest and cheapest way to buy apple puree is to grab a pouch of pure apple baby food from the supermarket baby aisle.
And in case you were wondering… No. It is absolutely not a good thing to try ‘hydrating’ the buckwheat (or any other flake) before adding to the mix. It was a complete mush of a disaster.
Up front… I’m not 100% sure why adding nut butter made a difference. But it did! I can only assume that the natural oils and protein supported the structure and helped the Oat Free Flapjack hold together when baked. It’s best to use a pure 100% nut butter if possible.
I used my Homemade Hazelnut Butter, which is entirely pure nut.
We ate a LOT of Oat Free Flapjacks when developing this recipe. To be fair, I was testing in half batches before finally scaling up to an 8 inch tin. However, it didn’t matter what flakes I chose to test, there was always a slight ‘back-taste’ from the flakes, that I personally wasn’t over-keen on. And it was definitely the flakes. A number of alternative gluten free flours and flakes have their own distinct flavour.
It may be that you love the taste of full-on buckwheat, in which case feel free to leave out the apple. But for me, the apple brought a gentle fruitiness that took my no oat flapjack to a happier place and perfectly enhanced the flavour.
Can I use an alternative to apple?
Absolutely yes… Feel free to sub the apple (weight for weight) with an alternative dried fruit of your choice… Apricot cubes, chopped cranberries, sultanas etc should work well. If opting to use a dry ‘berry’-type fruit, it may be worth partially hydrating first to compensate for any moisture loss.
I would NOT advise using chocolate chips, unless you are aiming for a fully chocolate flapjack (which is actually quite nice). The chips get added to a hot mixture and just melt through the whole thing.
Can I make Oat Free Flapjack dairy free and Vegan as well as gluten free?
Yes. As well as being gluten free, grain free and oat free, my No Oat Flapjack can also be made dairy free and Vegan.
Additionally, you will need to use a dairy free, oat free condensed milk alternative… My favourite brand (and the one I use) is Nature’s Charm Condensed Coconut Milk. But there is also a similar coconut version made by Biona.
Ready to make my Gluten Free Oat Free Flapjack?
I really hope that my oat free flapjacks bring some happiness to the gluten free, oat-intolerant community. And hopefully to the rest of you too. At GFHQ, we will definitely be making them again, as they were very yummy. If you do make them, please let me know… Leave a comment, rate the recipe, or tag me on social media. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest. (@glutenfreealchemist) #glutenfreealchemist
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Other specially-created oat free recipes on Gluten Free Alchemist
Oat Free Flapjacks (gluten free)
- 8 inch/20 cm square baking tin
- oven + hob
- can opener
- large non-stick saucepan
- large metal spoon or flat-bottomed glass
- sharp knife
- chopping board
- 90 g soft light brown sugar
- 40 g golden syrup
- 30 g apple puree I use pure apple baby food pouch (aka pure apple sauce)
- 140 g sweetened condensed milk dairy free as required
- 50 g smooth peanut butter/hazelnut butter or alternative
- 1 tsp cinnamon optional
- 160 g unsalted butter or good dairy free BLOCK alternative
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 300 g buckwheat flakes
- 50 g dried apple chopped into small pieces
- Prepare an 8 inch square cake tin, by lightly rubbing the inside with butter and base-lining with baking paper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 C/320 F/Gas 3.
- Weigh the sugar, syrup, apple puree, condensed milk, nut butter and cinnamon into a large non-stick saucepan.
- Place over a low-to medium heat and stir continually until the ingredients have combined and the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Continue to heat and bring to a boil.
- Allow to simmer for 10 to 15 seconds, before removing from the heat.
- Immediately add the butter and stir until the butter has completely dissolved and the mixture is smooth and even.
- Add the vanilla, buckwheat flakes and dried apple and stir thoroughly.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking tin and gently compress with the back of a spoon or flat-bottomed glass until the surface is even.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, until the flapjack is almost set and golden, with the edges starting to darken slightly.
- Remove from the oven (leave the oven on) and being careful not to burn yourself, compress the surface again with the back of a metal spoon.
- Place the flapjack back into the oven for a further 5 minutes to ‘set’, before removing.
- Allow to cool slightly, but while the flapjack is still warm, score through the top crust with a very sharp knife to mark slices. This is important if you want to cut clean slices later.
- Allow the flapjack to cool completely before carefully removing from the pan onto a clean chopping board and cutting through the slices completely.
- Store in an airtight container. Keeps for 2 to 3 weeks +.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist