Gooey, sweet and delicious banana flapjacks are packed with oats and fruit and drizzled with dark chocolate. An easy teatime treat!
It doesn’t seem to matter if I buy a big bunch of bananas or only a few, there’s always a couple left to go spotty and brown on the fruit bowl. The days when I would hastily bake a loaf of banana bread to use them up are long behind me. These days I simply peel the bananas and pop them into a box in the freezer. Then I can use them in breakfast muffins, banana scones or even vegan carrot cake whenever the fancy takes me.
Frozen banana mountain!
I was attempting to organise my freezer recently when I came across the banana box, and realised that it had an abundance of bananas in it! I decided to combine some of them with one of my favourite bakes – flapjacks.
What exactly is a flapjack?
Here in the UK, the word flapjack is used to denote a sweet baked oaty bar, usually made with butter and syrup. That’s the only kind of flapjack we have. I was an adult before I knew that people in other parts of the world use the word flapjack to mean something else!
Apparently, in the USA and parts of Canada, if you ask for flapjacks, you’ll be served pancakes. How confusing!
So, for the avoidance of doubt, I’m talking about the British oaty bar kind of flapjack. Call it a cereal bar, muesli bar, granola bar, or whatever you like, but it definitely isn’t a pancake.
Fruity Banana flapjacks
I love a good flapjack! Gooey, chewy, and full of oaty goodness. They can be as fancy or as plain as you like and they’re always delicious. A slice of flapjack and a cup of tea – what could be more comforting?
To make these fruity banana flapjacks, I incorporated mashed ripe bananas with the melted butter and a generous dollop of apricot jam. Ripe bananas are quite sweet and also add moisture, so I swapped out the syrup and brown sugar I usually use to cut the sweetness. The jam keeps the flapjacks nice and moist, and really fruity.
The finished flapjacks had a soft, slightly chewy texture and a lovely fruity flavour.
Tasty additions, healthier flapjacks?
Does adding banana make these flapjacks healthier? It does add a bit of fibre and some potassium, although the oats have quite a lot of fibre in to begin with.
Since I was already using apricot jam, I also threw in some chopped dried apricots, which boosted the fibre and essential minerals in the recipe still further. I also added some desiccated coconut because a) I love a bit of coconut in a flapjack, and b) I massively overbought the coconut at Pesach – oops!
I also added a little bit of spice, because, well, everything is better with a little bit of spice! A drizzle of melted chocolate on the top and ta-da! Scrumptiously fruity banana flapjacks. Roll on teatime…
If you really want an epic banana flapjack, you could also try adding dark chocolate chips, chopped nuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or additional dried fruits such as raisins or chopped dates.
Fresh or frozen bananas
You can use frozen or fresh bananas in this banana flapjack recipe. The main thing is to ensure that the bananas are nice and ripe. When they are getting brown and spotty they are perfect. Hard, green, or barely ripe bananas just won’t cut it in this banana flapjack recipe.
If you’re using frozen bananas, you need to let them thaw first, so you can mash them thoroughly or whizz them up before adding them to the other ingredients. They need to be well mashed so you don’t get lumps of banana in your flapjack.
Easy Banana flapjacks – ingredients
The ingredients for these fabulous easy flapjacks are very straightforward. As long as you have a few brown bananas, you probably have everything else already in your pantry or store cupboard. To make some fruity banana flapjacks you will need:
- Bananas – obviously! These can be fresh or frozen.
- Butter – or margarine to keep them parve/dairy-free/vegan.
- Apricot jam – you can use a different type of jam but obviously this will affect the flavour of the flapjacks.
- Rolled oats – these are chunkier than ‘porridge oats’ and I think give a nicer texture to the finished flapjack, but porridge oats will work just fine too.
- Desiccated coconut – optional, but it has a subtle flavour that goes really well with the banana (I love coconut in flapjacks!).
- Mixed spice – this is a common British sweet spice blend, similar to American pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice.
- Dried apricots – I used unsulphured dried apricots which are quite dark in colour. Any dried apricots (or other dried fruit) will work in this recipe.
- Dark chocolate – optional, for drizzling and dunking.
Gluten-free teatime treats
Since there is no additional flour in this recipe, then provided your oats are gluten-free (check the packaging!), these tasty flapjacks will also be free from gluten.
However, oats do contain avenin, a protein similar to gluten. While most coeliacs can tolerate oats, if you are making these banana flapjacks for someone with coeliac disease, you should probably check with them that oats are OK.
Easy to make
I love an easy recipe and this one is great! Simply melt the butter and jam together, mix in the mashed bananas, and then add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir everything together.
Press the mixture into a lined baking tin and pop it in the oven. Then relax and enjoy the delicious aroma of baking banana flapjacks….. mmmmm!
If you’re feeling indulgent, you can drizzle the baked flapjacks with melted chocolate for a tasty decorative flourish. I also dunked the undersides of the flapjacks into chocolate too, because I was feeling particularly decadent!
When to eat banana flapjacks?
Honestly? Any time!
Seriously though, these are heavenly with a cup of tea or coffee for elevenses (morning coffee) or afternoon tea. They also make a great snack whenever you need a little energy boost during the day.
They’re terrific treats to pop into a lunchbox too, but make sure not to add any nuts if you’re sending banana flapjacks to school. These are great in a ‘grown up’ lunchbox too, or even as part of a picnic.
Bananas – waste not, want not!
Now, it doesn’t matter how many bananas I buy, because whatever’s left gets turned into something yummy!
Let’s get the kettle on and have another flapjack…!
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Fruity banana flapjacks
- 60 g butter or dairy-free spread
- 100 g apricot jam
- 2 very ripe (brown) bananas (approx. 150g total peeled weight)
- 125 g rolled oats
- 35 g desiccated coconut
- ½ teaspoon mixed spice, cinnamon, or your favourite sweet spice blend
- 75 g dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
- 50 g dark chocolate, to decorate (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a loaf tin with baking parchment/greaseproof paper.
- Put the butter/spread and apricot jam into a saucepan and melt together over a low heat until a soupy liquid forms. Remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, peel the bananas and mash or blend to a smooth puree. Stir this into the butter/jam mixture and beat together .
- Add the oats, coconut and spice to the pan, and mix well together. Finally, add the chopped dried apricots and stir to distribute evenly throughout the mixture.
- Transfer the mixture to the lined tin and press down well. Bake in the preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) until lightly golden on top.
- Remove the flapjack from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack. Once cool, cut into 8 squares.
- If using, melt the chocolate – I do it in the microwave but you can also melt it over a bowl of simmering water. Use a fork to drizzle the melted chocolate over the banana flapjack squares. You can also dip the bottom of each square in melted chocolate if you like – spread it out with a butter knife to get an even layer.
- Place the flapjack squares back onto a piece of baking parchment/greaseproof paper, and leave in a cool place to set.
More delicious recipes for flapjacks and oaty goodies
If you just can’t get enough oaty bakes and bars, why not try: