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Jammy fridge forage flapjacks

25 September 2023

This recipe is adapted from the version in my cookbook, Postal Bakes, available in all good book shops. To get the recipe, sign up to my new and free baking newsletter, Sweet Disposition, HERE

Thanks to my micro baking business, my newsletter and occasional freelance recipe writing gigs, I do quite a lot of baking. A lot of produce passes through this kitchen and over the years, I’ve gotten better at shopping wisely. I know pretty accurately how much of each ingredient I'll need, how long that ingredient will last, and what I might do with anything that’s left over. Whenever I can, I'll freeze excess caramels and fruit compotes, ready for the next time I have a cake order that calls for them. Or the leftovers might end up being turned into something else. Or perhaps, and most pleasingly, just spooned over yoghurt for a rather elaborate work from home breakfast al desco. 

More often than I’d like however, this slightly nauseating rhythm of togetherness is disrupted when life gets in the way. The grand plans I had for a punnet of leftover apricots fall by the wayside thanks to a comms crisis at work or wine with a friend, breezily diarised weeks ago and then immediately forgotten about until the hurry along text comes in. 

In these instances, the top shelf of our fridge quietly gathers, not dust, but the baking equivalent of a thick layer of the stuff. A few spoonfuls of jam, the near empty jar shoved to the back and never thought of again. Lemons looking increasingly sad with each day that I plan to cook with them and forget goes by. Half a plum which I didn’t need and simply couldn’t bear to throw away. 

At times such as these, an easy, adaptable recipe is in order - and that’s exactly when fridge forage flapjacks enter the chat. With a base made of ingredients I usually have in my cupboards - butter, sugar, oats syrup and salt - the filling is a world of flexible, fridge-clearing possibility. This recipe can be adapted to accommodate, well, just about anything. I’ve made these with gooseberries, rhubarb, salted caramel, sad looking pears, peanut brittle and probably many more that I’ve long since forgotten, just like those lemons that I really MUST cook with this week. 

See this less as a recipe and more as an opportunity to experiment. Encased in buttery, syrupy oats and baked low and slow, almost anything you have lingering will go from sad to incredibly delicious. Mix up your spices - ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, or just nothing, the flapjacks are great as they are - to match your filling. The quantities are there just as a guide, too - pile the filling in, or daintily chop up and scatter that lonely half of a plum over the oats before you put them in the oven. 

Oh, and one last thing. If you can bear it, use their baking time to give your fridge a spring clean, too. A deeply unappealing job, but the impact a clean fridge has on my mental wellbeing is higher than I’d like to admit. Opening the door to a clean, orderly situation makes me feel like my mind is in that state, too. And you might just find something else that you’d forgotten. In my case this week, it was three jars of half eaten wholegrain mustard - one of the things I wouldn’t advise sandwiching into flapjacks. 

This recipe is adapted from the version in my cookbook, Postal Bakes, available in all good book shops. To get the recipe, sign up to my new and free baking newsletter, Sweet Disposition, HERE

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