Black treacle flapjacks (1925)


The Women's Institute's black treacle flapjack


It’s 1925. Double-decker buses have just appeared on the not-so-busy streets of London, America gets its first lady governor, and the Charleston is in full swing. A WI debates the question ‘Should the husband help in the home?’  

If you were one of the 40,000 WI members of this era, you may well subscribe to Home and Country magazine – a monthly journal filled with news, features and ‘handy household hints’ for the discerning housewife.  

I asked WI Archivist, Anne Stamper, to shed a little light on the WI and its eminent marriage with traditional baking and home cooking through the pages of its membership magazine…  

The WI was set up in 1917 to help to ‘improve the conditions of rural life’ and to ‘provide for the fuller education of countrywomen and give instruction and training in all branches of…..Domestic Science’. From the very beginning the WI magazine Home and Country included recipes and household hints to be a part of this educational work. In the first issue, March 1919, there was a section called H.H.H. (helpful household hints). Readers were asked to send contributions and they ‘must have tested their efficacy before recommending them’. Contributions came from all over the country including many recipes, some of regional specialities. This was all part of members sharing and learning from each other in a relaxed and friendly way, which continues to this day.’ 

 This WI recipe, printed 85 years ago in the pages of Home and Country, stands the test of time. The wholesome ingredients of the traditional flapjack; a mix of butter, sugar, syrup and oats, can be sourced from within even the bleakest of larders. Chewy, pale, or laden with raisins – home-made is really the way to go.



  • 3oz margarine
  • 2oz moist sugar
  • 4oz black treacle
  • 0.5lb rolled oats

Method:Mix all together, roll out, bake in cool oven half an hour. Leave on tin till cool then cut into squares.  

Verdict:Black treacle brings a rich and smoky taste to these flapjacks – for a smoother taste just switch to golden syrup. Delicious.  

To find out how to join the WI and where your nearest branch is, click here. 

Published in: on February 18, 2010 at 6:24 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Oooh, those would be quite lovely, I think. Would it be all right to use butter instead?

  2. I’m quite sure it would – even more delicious I imagine!

  3. Will be adding this to my collection of recipes for Flapkack…that makes 5 now!

  4. Sounds great! Particularly with some added raisins!

  5. I find butter much better than margarine for cooking

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