Easy recipe for healthy flapjacks with honey, oats, dried fruits, nuts, seeds and butter. No golden syrup or added sugar is needed to enjoy these classics for breakfast, teatime or a welcome home from school.
Can Flapjacks be Healthy?
Gradually, over the many years of living in France, we have cut down drastically on sugar. Now, even when looking at recipes, it's staggering to see just how much unnecessary sugar is added to cakes and cookies. Probably because it's something that has run in families - or just because 'we've always made it like this'?
As I was toasting the weekly batch of our favourite healthy Maple Granola, I thought about converting the oats, seeds, nuts and fruits into healthy flapjacks.
We're addicted to homemade granola - including a chocolate granola (on video). Once you start making it, there's no turning back to the commercial packeted cereals - and love serving it with yoghurt, fresh fruit or compote.
So flapjacks seemed like a refreshing change. After all, flapjacks are basically granola bars. Albeit, there's added butter to bind them together but that's not a bad thing! So I developed this healthy recipe after a few trials and crumbs later.
Healthy Flapjacks without Sugar
My fond memories of flapjacks were quickly turned to disappointment when I made an old family recipe. Traditionally flapjacks are made with classic golden syrup and a whopping amount of sugar on top of that. The resulting taste was simply FAR too sweet. So I completely omitted the sugar for a start.
There's no need for sugar in these flapjacks. No white sugar, no brown sugar - just natural honey.Jill
Without the sugar, the flapjacks can still bind together easily with the ingredients in the recipe card below. Just ensure that you leave the flapjacks to cool completely before cutting, so they are less crumbly.
Even as author of two patisserie recipe books, I don't have a really sweet tooth. It sounds bizarre, I know, but that's why I love French patisserie so much. The irony is that the best French cakes, pastries and desserts are not that sweet.
These days there's a rise of healthy pâtisseries around Paris that specialise in reducing sugar (e.g. Helmut Newcake, Noglu, Chambelland - see their GF brownies, Maison Plume, Oh Oui).
See my article on Pâtisseries for Diabetics in Paris for more.
Sugar Replaced with Honey
Honey has many virtues and is a natural way of replacing sugar.
According to Dr Claude Nonotte-Varly for the French 'Que Choisir Santé' Magazine (N°175-October 2022), honey even tastes extra sweet: refined sugar's sugar level is at 100 whereas for honey, it's 130.
So less honey is used to achieve the same sweetness level. What's more, honey is not just delicious but contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
What Can I Use Instead of Golden Syrup for Flapjacks?
I replace the traditional golden syrup with runny honey (Acacia). Please use good quality and ensure it's the real thing.
Alas, honey sees one of the biggest counterfeits in the food industry so be aware of cheap own brands and labels that don't say where the honey was sourced.
Another replacement for golden syrup in flapjacks is maple syrup. So it's up to you.
See how to test if your honey is the real genuine article
in my recipe for pork in honey sauce.
How to Make your Own Healthy Flapjacks (no added sugar)
To make your own healthy flapjacks, the recipe couldn't be easier. Add honey and melted butter to dry ingredients then pack into a lined shortbread tin and bake for 20 minutes. All details are in the printable recipe card below.
How Long Will They Keep?
These healthy flapjacks are best eaten on the day of baking. Any leftovers or want to save them for later? Store your leftover homemade flapjacks in a tin box or an airtight container in a cool place for up to 3 days.
Healthy Flapjacks with Honey
So my answer is this healthier recipe of oat flapjacks (or granola bars). They are naturally sweetened with just honey and dried fruits to replace the traditional golden syrup and sugar. We've tried and tested them over and over and these receive the thumbs up from the family. What's more, vary the dried fruits: dried cranberries, apricots, dates and/or raisins as well as the seeds.
However, I shall leave YOU to judge them for yourself: would you add extra sugar to them or not? If you do feel they need more sugar, then I dare you make some change to your diet and start cutting back on unnecessary sugar.
- rectangular baking tin 26 x 18 cm (10 x 7 inches)
- 200 g (7oz / 1¼ cups) medium porridge oats
- 20 g (0.75oz) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 10 g (1 tbsp) linseeds or sesame seeds
- 30 g (1oz/2 tbsp) walnuts or hazelnuts broken
- 50 g (1.75oz) dried fruits (cranberries, raisins, finely chopped dried apricots or dates)
- good pinch salt fleur de sel (Maldon or Celtic sea salt)
- 100 g (3.5oz/1 stick) butter, unsalted melted
- 120 g (8 tbsp) runny honey (e.g. Acacia)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F/160°C Fan (Mark 4).
- In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients then add the melted butter and honey.
- Press the mixture into a high-sided baking tin (a rectangular shortbread tin) lined with greaseproof paper/baking parchment and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool completely in the tin then cut into squares.
This recipe was first published 8 September 2016 but has now been completely updated