Cacao nib and chia seed flapjack cookies

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Urvashi's cacao nib cookie recipe is the ideal snack for when you need a sweet pick-me-up. A combination of crunchy cacao nibs and chia seeds will help take some of the guilt out of these delicious flapjack cookies.

First published in 2016

The 3pm sugar dip. Do you get this? That time of day when you neeeeed something sweet to take you through the afternoon? I do. I have a cup of tea and then I need a little something to munch on the side. In fact it’s not just the 3pm dip. It’s also 10am. And then maybe around 9pm. These are the times when the munchies set in. These are the times when I go rummaging to the back of that cupboard where the shop-bought biscuits hide. Or pop down to the staff canteen where the only selection of treats are chocolate bars. The really awful sweet ones that make me feel regret with every mouthful.

My mother is the same. Maybe it’s an Indian thing? Culturally we never offer tea to guests or indeed each other without bringing a little nibble on the side. Yes that’s it. That’s exactly where this habit comes from! Generations of women in my family have been conditioning me into this behaviour. It’s all their fault and I can do nothing except go with the flow. Right?

Well I have decided that I need to resurrect another family tradition. When I was little there would be weekends when all my aunts would descend on my mum’s kitchen. It was the biggest kitchen and every space would be taken up with making batches of different snacks. Each aunt had a speciality and would take the lead when it came to making her signature snack. It’s a wonderful tradition and the days were filled with gossip and giggles. Sadly the snacks were generally fried or laden with sugar. So rather than make some of the traditional snacks I’ve been making slightly healthier ones. Snacks I can carry easily to work or give my girls when they come home from school.

Flapjacks are one of my favourites. Each batch can be different and use up whatever you have leftover in the cupboard. Instead of chocolate I have used cacao nibs. They don’t melt when baking and give a nice chocolatey crunch in this soft cookie version. You could use nuts instead. I’ve also used chia seeds to make these a bit more filling. You can substitute these out with other seeds like linseed, pumpkin, sunflower or sesame. So many combinations and so easy to make. They could be ready to eat before the aunts have even put the masala tea on!




Cacao nib cookies

  • 100g of unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp of golden syrup, or treacle
  • 100g of plain flour
  • 100g of rolled oats
  • 85g of caster sugar
  • 50g of desiccated coconut
  • 3 tbsp of chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp of cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp of boiling water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda


Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3 and grease 2 baking trayss
Melt the butter in a wok (yes I know this sounds rather odd but I use the wok as a mixing bowl too so it saves on a bit of washing up)
Meanwhile, measure out all of the dry ingredients and set aside
When the butter had melted, add the golden syrup and stir it in well. Add the boiling water, then quickly add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk in. It will start to foam and fizz up – this is good. Quickly add the dry ingredients and mix it all together
Take a handful of the mixture, roll into a ball and place the onto one of the greased baking trays. You need to leave a few centimetres of space between the balls so about 6 to a tray should be enough
Bake for about 20–25 minutes until the balls have flattened into a disc and are still a little soft
If you prefer the more traditional flapjack square, simply grease and line an 8 inch baking tin and press the mixture firmly in. Bake for around the same time. Score it into pieces when it comes out of the oven and then when it’s cooled you’ll have nine flapjack bars
Remove the cookies from the oven and leave to cool and firm up. You can keep these in an airtight container for a couple of weeks. Or freeze them. I find that taking a frozen few out in the morning before I go to work means they don’t mush up in my bag on the commute and are defrosted in time for the 10am nibble
First published in 2016

Urvashi finds food, baking, cooking and eating a therapeutic relief from every day work and family life.

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