Spiced Pear and Pecan Flapjacks With Cream Cheese Icing – A Satisfying Autumnal Bake

The very lovely Steven, from The Speculaas Spice Company, recently sent me some of his speculaas spice mix to use in some recipes. I am a massive fan of this spice mix, and you can read a previous post I wrote about it HERE.

I love everything about it: the warming fragrance it spreads around your home while it is baking, the sweet flavours of all the spices combined into one mix, the versatility of it. If a recipe calls for ground cinnamon, you can guarantee this spice mix will take that recipe to a higher level instead.

One of my favourite fruits has to be the pear. So sweet and bursting with flavour, and so refreshing with the amount of juice they have. My favourite pear of all is the Conference variety. The riper, the better. I always have plenty in the fruit bowl at this time of year. I have such a sweet tooth, so they are great for satisfying my sugar cravings.

Pears and cinnamon (and Christmassy spices) are a match made in heaven, so I decided to come up with a recipe using my favourite pears and the speculaas spice mix. I wanted to bake something delicious for my son and Other Half to have in their lunchboxes, and flapjacks are always a winning lunchtime treat. I usually make them quite thin, but this time I wanted chunkier flapjacks, so used a smaller tin to bake them in, and was then able to cut them smaller too. We all adore pecan nuts too, so I always have plenty in the cupboard. Pears and pecans go so well together too, so I decided to add some for extra texture and flavour.

In a previous post I wrote about chocolate flapjacks, I mentioned the easy-to-remember ingredient ratio I always use to make them. (You can read that post HERE). As I was going to be using very sweet ripe pears, I reduced the amount of sugar in this recipe as I didn’t want them to be sickly sweet. It took me a couple of attempts to get the quantities right, but to me, this is now spot on.

I grated the pears using the large coarse side of my grater and as the pears were so soft and ripe, they created a lot of juice. In my first attempt I drained that into a cup and didn’t include it in the recipe. (OK, I admit it – I drank it). I worried the mixture would be too sloppy with it. In my next attempt though I included it, and it added so much extra flavour, and didn’t affect the texture.

When the flapjacks were cool, I made a cream cheese icing to drizzle on top, just because I love it with anything that has cinnamon in. If it goes well with cinnamon, it definitely goes well with speculaas spice mix! You can leave this off if you prefer though.

 

SPICED PEAR AND PECAN FLAPJACKS WITH CREAM CHEESE ICING

200g unsalted butter

160g soft light brown sugar

3 heaped tbsp golden syrup (or you could use honey if you prefer)

80g pecan nuts, roughly chopped

1 rounded tsp speculaas spice mix

4 ripe pears, coarsely grated

400g rolled or porridge oats

FOR THE CREAM CHEESE ICING (OPTIONAL BUT RECOMMENDED):

75g icing sugar

20g cream cheese

splash of milk

 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160 fan/Gas 4. Lightly butter a 20cm square baking tin. Cut a strip of baking paper the same width as your baking tin, so that it is long enough to line the bottom and 2 sides with a bit extra at each end to help to lift it out of the tin.
  • Place the butter, sugar, syrup and spice into a large saucepan, and heat gently until the butter has cmpletely melted and the sugar has dissolved, stirring regularly. Bring it to a gentle boil and let it simmer slowly for 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and add the pecans, grated pear and any pear juice. Mix well.

  • Add the oats and mix until the oats are completely covered and the mixture is evenly distributed.
  • Tip the mixture into your baking tin and press down firmly with the back of a spoon until level.

  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes until the edges are starting to go a bit crispy and the top is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven.
  • Leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes, then use the edges of the baking paper to lift the flapjack out on to a wire cooling rack. Leave to cool completely, then place on a chopping board and cut into required sizes. (I cut mine into 12 pieces).

  • To make the cream cheese icing, mix the icing sugar and cream cheese together until smooth. Add a splash of milk to make it a bit runnier so it is easy to pipe or drizzle.
  • Spoon the icing into a small disposable piping bag or sandwich/freezer bag, snip off the tip of the corner to make a very small hole, and pipe the icing on to each flapjack piece. Leave for the icing to set for around 20 minutes, or eat immediately if you can’t resist the runny icing.

You could use grated apple instead of grated pear, although I haven’t tried that yet. You could swap the pecans for any other variety you prefer. Walnuts would be amazing too.

I hope you love these as much as we do! Don’t forget to check out Steven’s amazing speculaas spice mix! If you like cinnamon, or mixed spice, you will absolutely LOVE speculaas. Check it out HERE.

HAPPY BAKING!

 

 

Scrumptious Chocolate Flapjacks

I absolutely love flapjacks. They are so easy to make and so satisfying to eat, and you only need a few ingredients. The oats fill you up and give you energy, and you can make them in so many different flavours. Today we fancied chocolate.

I’ve eaten some before that have been hard and crunchy, more like a biscuit. That’s not how I like mine. They have to be soft and chewy and slightly crumbly for me. The recipe to make them like this is so easy to remember. Whatever weight of oats you use, just add half that amount each of light brown sugar and butter. For example, if you use 400g of oats, you will need 200g of brown sugar and 200g of butter. Add 1 tbsp of golden syrup per 100g of oats and you have a perfect flapjack.

For this chocolate version I decided to add a layer of delicious JimJams Milk Chocolate Spread in the middle. I wasn’t sure if it would work but it was soooooo good. I warmed up a tablespoonful in the microwave for a few seconds to drizzle on top after they were cooled too. Naughty me. Well actually not really! That is why I love JimJams spreads… they have 83% less sugar than another very well-known brand. (I was introduced to JimJams through a subscription box some time ago. Find out more about what I thought of it HERE … the Degustabox discount code has now expired so don’t try using that though). JimJams is now much easier to buy too. It is available in many supermarkets for around £2.60 per jar.

So, here’s the recipe. Use the measurement guide I gave earlier if you want to scale the recipe up or down to suit your pan size. I would recommend using JimJams, as flapjacks do have quite a lot of sugar so you don’t want to add loads more with the other brand 😉

 

CHOCOLATE FLAPJACKS

500g rolled or porridge oats

250g butter, plus extra for greasing

250g light brown sugar

5 tbsps golden syrup

JimJams Milk Chocolate Spread

 

  • Preheat your oven to 180C conventional/160C fan/gas mark 4. Grease and line a 13 x 7 inch pan. Don’t worry about the short sides. Make sure the paper hangs over the long sides though so you can lift the flapjack out easily when cool.
  • Place the butter, sugar and syrup into a large pan and heat gently on the hob until the butter has melted. Stir regularly to make sure it is all combined. When it is melted, remove from the heat. Add the oats and mix well until completely covered in the syrupy mixture.
  • Tip half of the mixture into your prepared pan and press down firmly with the back of a spoon.

  • Add a thin layer of JimJams spread. (I didn’t give an amount as you can add as much or as little as you want).

  • Tip the remainder of the oaty mixture on top and press down firmly with the back of a spoon again.

  • Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan.
  • When it is cool, place 1tbsp JimJams in a small dish or cup and microwave for a few seconds to melt slightly. Drizzle over the top of the flapjack. Cut into desired sized pieces. I cut it into 12 large pieces, but you could cut it into 24 small squares.
  • Enjoy!

 

You could add a layer of your favourite jam instead of the chocolate spread if you prefer a fruitier version. JimJams also make amazing low sugar jams!

Let me know what you use to make yours!