Easy peasy chocolate flapjack recipe for children

I’m not even going to pretend that these flapjacks are healthy. But they are great fun to make together with children as they are super simple, and kids can get involved in the stirring as well as choosing what tasty extras they want to add.

homemade flapjack recipe

The basic flapjack mixture that I have used here can be adapted any way you want. You could add dried fruits like dates, apricots and raisins or even mashed bananas which would mean you could reduce the amount of sugar needed. I usually throw in whatever I have in the cupboard so they are different every time. For this latest flapjack, I decided to use up some leftover Easter eggs melted down on top and added some sunflower and pumpkin seeds as well as some chopped nuts. But feel free to just use whatever you fancy.

YOU WILL NEED:

One baking or roasting tray – I use a brownie tin A little helper

INGREDIENTS

Flapjack mix:

250 g (8oz) butter

180g (6oz) golden syrup

180g (6oz) light brown sugar

500g (16g) rolled or porridge oats

For the topping:

50g each of whatever nuts or seeds you want

100-300g chocolate depending on how thick you want your topping (or 1 large leftover Easter egg)

WHAT TO DO

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (350 F, Gas 4).

2. Measure out the oats and put them in a large mixing bowl.

oats to create homemade flapjacks 3. Grease the roasting tin well with butter so that the flapjacks won’t stick.

4. Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan on a low heat. Warm it up gently, stirring until everything has melted and dissolved.

Butter, sugar and golden syrup melting in saucepan

5. Take the pan off the heat and pour the mixture over the oats. Get your young assistant to help you stir the oats until they are evenly coated by the buttery, sugary mixture.

6. Add any fruit pieces at this stage or you could even mix in some nuts or desiccated coconuts.

7. Put the mixture in the tin and push it down and into the edges so that the mixture is spread evenly. Little hands can help with this bit.

8. I like to add any nuts or seeds at this point, pressing them into the top. I often use a mix of things like sunflower or pumpkin seed and whatever nuts I have in the cupboard like almond flakes or chopped hazelnuts.

seeds and nut topping for flapjacks

9. Put the tray in the oven for 20-30 minutes just until the mixture had gone a light golden brown. Keep a close eye on it because it can easily start to brown too much around the edges and you don’t want to overcook the flapjacks as they will become dry and hard. You want them slightly chewy.

10. If you’re adding chocolate, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water on a low heat. Stir the chocolate until it has all melted and then remove it from the heat to cool slightly. Then spread the chocolate on top or use a spoon to make a pretty – or very messy – pattern depending on how keen the children are to help.

white chocolate on top of homemade oat flapjacks

And then enjoy! I’d love to hear how you get on and your favourite ways to personalise this or any other flapjack recipe.

 

Link up your recipe of the week

 

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

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Wanstead Park: The bluebells are here!

Boy walking in Bluebell Wood Wanstead Park

When we first moved to the area, I was pregnant and living in a temporary flat in Leytonstone waiting for our house purchase to go through. I remember heading to Wanstead Park when I went on maternity leave hoping that what people said about a long walk might really bring on labour.

Long walks proved to be completely ineffectual, but I did get to happen upon the Bluebell Trail in Wantsead Park completely by chance and was overwhelmed by how beautiful it is. It felt like stumbling on a little secret (it’s often very quiet in the week) and it’s quite magical in among the fragrant woodland with the carpet of blue in all directions. I remember thinking that I’d bring our son there one day to run around the bluebells and this year he was finally old enough to toddle about. If you live locally at all, I would definitely recommend a visit but be quick as part of their appeal is that the bluebells are only around for another few weeks.

Bluebells in Wanstead Park

We’ve become regular in Wanstead Park now and it’s always worth visiting the little cafe where they sell home made cakes, tea in proper mugs and what I think is the best 99 flake around. (Trust me, I like ice cream a lot and have sampled my fair share but the ice cream here is properly creamy rather than full of air and the portions are very generous.) It’s just by the lake, a short walk from the temple and has lots of chairs and benches to watch the world go by. Although, watch out for the geese as they can be a bit over-friendly or aggressive depending on your outlook!

cafe in Wanstead Park

And if you live anywhere near the Bluebell Railway in Sussex then now is the time for a trip. The Bluebell Specials run until the 8th May and you can ride in a special 1918 observation steam train through the countryside with full panoramic views of the bluebells.  I haven’t been since I was little and I’m desperate to take the Little One as he is obsessed with trains but I’m not sure we can fit it in this year – it’s definitely on the list for next year.

Wanstead Park website

Bluebell Railway website

Review: OAE TOTS classical music concert for kids at the Southbank

Our Little One loves music. He loves watching people play any sort of instrument and I’ve been on the look out for gigs and concerts for children for ages. There are surprisingly few around that are suitable for toddlers, even in London, and while I found a few classical music concerts I have yet to find a regular live music gig with rock or jazz music.

The OAE TOTS (Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment) concerts at the Southbank only happen about every 6 months in London so I’ve been waiting since before Christmas to visit this one. And that’s probably no bad thing, as the Little One is only just about able to concentrate for long enough. As my parents were staying with us for the weekend, I dragged everyone out of the house at 8.30am on a Sunday morning (the boyfriend was not impressed!) to get to the London Southbank Centre in time for the 10am concert (they also do a second sitting at 11.30am). Luckily, Waterloo tube station handily has a lift which makes it easy for the buggy. The whole thing was really well organised with a colouring in table and stickers to keep kids amused before the concert started. And there was a large buggy park area for all the pushchairs. The Purcell Rooms where the concert is held is quite small which meant that it felt exciting to be part of an audience without being overwhelming for the kids. I’d booked some of the last few tickets which meant we had tickets right at the back but there was still a very good view of the stage.

boy watching OAE TOTS concert at Purcell Rooms London

One of the OAE musicians was effectively the MC; introducing the music and getting the children involved – shouting hello, getting them to sing along and encouraging them to learn about the instruments. She was brilliant at getting everyone involved and made it fun for both the children and adults. There was a water theme and she helped to explain sounds that appeared in the music and linked certain sections to animals which all the kids enjoyed. As well as some classical pieces there was some family favourites too for the kids to join in with such as Row Row Row the Boat. All the music was kept short and just the right length to engage the children.

Boy watching OAE TOTS concert

Our son LOVED the whole thing; he was the first one to shout ‘hooray’ after every piece of music ended and was enthusiastically clapping along. I was worried about him being able to sit still for the duration – it lasts about an hour – but as we were at the back he enjoyed dancing on the back steps as well as climbing up and down a few. The great thing is all the other parents there are in the same boat; some have babies, others have toddlers and older kids but people really don’t mind if your child makes a noise, or wanders around and I found the whole thing really enjoyable rather than having to worry about his behaviour or how other people would react.

The other lovely thing was that after the concert all the musicians left the stage to set up in the foyer and played as we all filed out of the Purcell Rooms. It was great for the kids to see the musical instruments being played up close and they all seemed to really enjoy this aspect of it. It was just a great example of the small touches the OAE have provided to  ensure the concert is genuinely child-friendly.

OAE musicians in foyer at Southbank Centre

Even the boyfriend, who went under duress, loved seeing our son so excited and couldn’t believe we’d have to wait until October until the next one. We’re definitely going to go again and I’d thoroughly recommend it.

OAE TOTS concerts are advertised as suitable for children aged 2 – 5 years old and our son is 22 months and there were people there with babies and younger children.

The next concert at the London Southbank Centre is in October but the date is still TBC – I’ve signed up to the Southbank and OAE family mailing lists so that they’ll let me know.

Meanwhile, the OAE do other children’s music concerts around the UK and you can find out more information on the OAE website.

If you’ve been to the OAE TOTS concerts or discovered any other good live music events for children please let me know in the comments section or tweet me @WestEssexMums on Twitter.

 

Bubbablue and me music linky

How to make chocolate easter egg nest cakes

Despite the fact that the Little One isn’t really allowed chocolate yet, I decided to make some chocolate easter egg nest cakes for our Easter egg hunt party with his friends today. And even though I had great intentions to make healthy snacks (see Healthy Easter party food ideas for kids post), I just really liked the idea of getting him involved in the creation process as we probably don’t do enough messy play. They are super simple and great fun to make with kids so I thought I’d share the recipe. And don’t worry too much about the exact measurements of ingredients, to be honest, I mostly bung things in by eye for these and so much of it ended up on the table, floor, his clothes and in his mouth that it’s probably best to make a bit extra!

Chocolate easter egg nest cake

CHOCOLATE EASTER EGG NEST CAKE RECIPE

Makes about 18-20 small nests depending how much gets munched in the process.

You will need:

Some willing kids to help you

100g Rice Krispies (you can also use Shredded Wheat, Cornflakes etc)

300g Milk Chocolate (2 large bars)

2 tbsp of Golden Syrup

A bag of Mini Eggs – I prefer Cadbury ones

Small paper cake cases

Rice Krispies, chocolate and Cadbury mini eggs

How to make them:

Grab your aprons and break the chocolate into small pieces – little ones will enjoy helping with this job, just try to make sure it doesn’t all get eaten at this stage! Then melt it in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of water simmering on a low heat. Try to avoid the boiling water touching the bottom of the bowl as it tends to make it too hot. When the chocolate is all melted remove from it the heat and cool for a minute or two.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your Rice Krispies with the melted chocolate and squirt in a generous helping of Golden Syrup which is about 2 -3 tablespoons. Children can then mix it all up with a wooden spoon. Once all the Krispies are covered, use a spoon to fill up the paper cases. You can put them in a fairy cake tin if you want them to keep their shape, but I just put them on a large plate. Add a couple of Mini Eggs to the top of each one and then pop them in the fridge for a few hours to set.

boy mixing chocolate and rice Krispies in large mixing bowl with wooden spoon

Then try not to eat them all at once! And if you’ve tried this recipe or have your own version that you think is great, I’d love to hear from you so please leave a message in the comments section.

Boy eating chocolate easter egg nest mixture

There goes the ‘no chocolate’ rule!