(Amended: - I've added an extra egg, which helps it stick together, added a second tablespoon of molasses and cut out the tablespoon of maple syrup, as well as boosting the water to half a cup. It came out even better this way!)
Here is an antidote for all the gloom around these days. I (Pat) am not the world’s greatest cook, but here is a snack that will (hopefully) taste good, not make you fat, and, in fact, help you to better health.
Really healthy Oat Squares
Make this in a saucepan 225 grams butter, 2 Tablespoon molasses, 1 Tablespoon unrefined brown sugar, 2 ½ cups oats, ½ cup oat bran, 1 cup wholemeal flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 2 egg, lots of spices, 1/2 cup water.
Melt the butter in your pan, turn off the heat and mix in the molasses, maple syrup and brown sugar. Add the oats, oat bran, flour and baking powder gradually. Then work in the olive oil and egg, water and plenty of spices. I use a lot of cinnamon (which cuts blood sugar among other things), plus nutmeg and cloves.
I divide the mixture into two and flatten it down in two square pans to bake, but you could use anything, just flatten it to about half an inch on to a cookie sheet or any baking pan. Bake about 25 minutes in medium oven. If you like them chewy, cut down the baking time; at 25 minutes they should come out slightly crispy.
The longer the baking time, the crispier they will be. Cut into squares while still hot. Leave to cool. I have often made oat squares, changing the recipe every time. This is the first time I have written down what I was putting in as I went along. It came out great, so I am sharing this one.
This recipe is my version of English flapjacks, or oatcakes, using the minimum of butter and sugar. I was always trying to make flapjacks with less butter, but then they fall apart and you end up with a plate of crumbs. So I started experimenting and this is the best version so far. The addition of a tablespoon of olive oil and one egg are the glue that makes the oat cakes hold together.
Since it’s always a good idea to cut down on sugar, I use molasses instead of sugar whenever possible, because although molasses is itself sugar, it is sugar with all the amazing goodness still in it, packed with nutrients (molasses is claimed to cure or alleviate all sorts of ailments). I add maple syrup because it too is packed with nutrients, not empty calories.
It contains not only zinc and manganese, but many trace elements. The Indians used it for medicine as well as food. We like spices, and I put about 4 tablespoons of cinnamon in these oatcakes, and only about a teaspoon of cloves, because we got a bag of ground cloves in Israel and they are so powerful that you don’t need much.
The cinnamon we use is from an ethnic Asian store, where they sell big bags for very low prices, so that is how we can afford to be so generous with the cinnamon. Research has shown recently that just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day significantly reduces blood sugar levels. We keep a container of cinnamon on our table to sprinkle on cereal and desserts.
Oats, of course, are great for the heart. As for wholemeal flour – who would ever want to use anything less? It is the best, and go for the organic. So, all in all, I think these oat cakes are a sort of superfood, just chockful of things that the Lord put on earth to keep us healthy.
Alan adds: Despite her protestations, Pat really is a good cook and has helped me fight off diabetes by her careful meal preparation.