These Vegan Chocolate Chip Flapjacks are something you can throw together easily to satisfy that craving for something sweet! Dairy free as well as vegan, they’re versatile too as you can add in nuts, seeds or raisins!
Hi everyone, hope you’ve had a good few weeks. I can hand on heart say the last two weeks have been absolutely horrific for us. I’m excited to share these Vegan Chocolate Chip Flapjacks with you… But first, I’ll try and explain where I’ve been and the absolute mad situation we’ve been living. It’s a long crazy story, but I’ll try and condense it.
SO… 4 years after losing our dear Poppy, I finally felt ready to get another dog. My husband has been ready for longer than me, but I finally got there. We wanted to rescue as there are so many dogs in rescues needing a forever home.
We had both been following this particular rescue for a few years, had had a look into them and they had good reviews and seemed to be a good rescue helping save dogs from dire situations. They were holding a meet and greet with some of their dogs, so we decided to go. Honestly? If I could go back now, we wouldn’t go to the meet and greet. As much as that hurts to say, it would have saved so much heart ache.
We fell in love with a 6 month old puppy at the meet and greet. At that time I didn’t know it was the founder, but the founder was trying to push us to take him the same day and also adopt another dog. We said we had nothing, so needed to prepare and buy stuff. She was then trying to sell us second hand crates/leads etc. so we could take him. We still said no, we weren’t prepared. After we had signed the adoption form, it came to light that actually the puppy we were adopting had only been in the country 24 hours.
They said he’d been assessed and was great with cats, dogs and people. But again.. he had been in the country 24 hours in a kennel with his littermates, so how could they have properly assessed him? If only we knew then what we know now.
Let me just say now, we did not go into this blinkered. We knew having a rescue puppy would be hard work. We were fully prepared for that. However, what has transpired in the 2 weeks since picking him up has been beyond what either my husband or I could imagine.
We were told by the rescue to make a safe space for our new pup and that decompression would take 3 days. So we were to leave them to decompress and allow the dog to come to you. To keep things quiet and boring in the house etc. For the first 4 days it seemed pretty normal in terms of behaviour. He had never been in a house before, so was timid about coming indoors. It took two days to get him to come in the back door and walk through the kitchen.
We were told no walks for 48 hours and that when we did start it was to be short and built up slowly. We followed all of their advice, building up slowing, but he was so scared of everything and then started acting up at home. He wasn’t settling and he was getting so over tired trying to fight the sleep. We had been careful to not over stimulate him in terms of toys. We rotated toys, gave him puzzles, treat balls, scattered his food so he could find it.
He was getting harder to settle, acting up more and more, tearing through his room, bouncing off the walls, biting himself, urinating inside again. We were buying all sorts to try and get him to settle, various chews, a thundershirt, bedtime biscuits, YuCalm. Nothing was working and we were so worried about him. When he did eventually fall asleep, if you so much as moved a muscle he’d be up again walking around. So, it felt like we were trapped. He needed to rest, so we were then stuck to wherever we were so as not to wake him.
Everyone was going “crate train him” as if that was the miracle solution. But he was terrified of his crate, wouldn’t go in it. We weren’t about to force a puppy into a crate, bearing in mind he’d spent his whole life in kennels and cages.
We spent days crying, not knowing what to do, throwing money at desperately trying to help this puppy settle. I asked the rescue’s “behaviourist” for some advice. We were told to take walks away, take toys away and shut him back in his room. We did stop the walks for a couple of days to see if that helped. But, we didn’t take his toys away or lock him back away as we could both see that wasn’t what he needed.
We have since found out some incredibly unsavoury things about the founder and rescue as a whole. There’s evidence of them being exposed before. Of having vehicles of dogs seized by DEFRA, fake documents, smuggling dogs into the country illegally, lying about ages and health of dogs, not assessing correctly. Dogs should be tested in numerous environments before being placed for adoption. This clearly never happened as our puppy had only been in this country for 24 hours.
There’s also something shady going on when it comes to applying for charity status. They’ve been denied charity status twice, yet still say they have trustees. Everyone is cagey around naming the founder, but we know who it is. Also she has no online presence…
If you Google her name, nothing comes up. Bit odd in 2021 if you’re the founder of this reputable rescue. Not even her Facebook profile comes up and we know she has one. If you Google my name my Facebook and other social media comes up. In every correspondence they kept mentioning they were a reputable rescue…. For me, if you have to keep saying it, you’re probably not it. Actual reputable rescues wouldn’t need to continuously mention it.
Anyway, the behaviourist wanted some videos of our puppy’s behaviour, so set up a Facebook messenger group. I logged on and saw that the founder had been calling me names. Completely unprofessional and I decided there was no way I was engaging after that, so I blocked her and removed myself from the group. I’ve now seen evidence that this founder sends abuse to anyone who doesn’t lick her arse and who have questions. Horrible woman.
We consulted our own behaviourist and she said that although there was a learning curve, having a puppy should be fun. There’s more to the actual situation we were dealing with at home and how we were feeling. But it would take days to write it all down. We were worried that he was going to drive himself crazy. Or turn from this sweet, docile puppy into an aggressive dog if we didn’t get to the bottom of why he wasn’t settling.
THE NEXT TWIST IN THIS TAWDRY TALE…
The “rescue” advise taking them for a check up at the vets within the first few weeks. So, we set up an appointment and went. He was checked over and we asked if there was something they could give him for his anxiety.
By this point, my husband and I genuinely thought he needed someone with more experience dealing with anxiety in dogs. It was utterly heart breaking having to admit we couldn’t give him what he needed, but he deserved to be happy. The vet said that in some cases, street dogs never recover from their trauma and euthanasia is the only way. But our puppy was healthy and just needed someone with more experience.
Other dogs and people started arriving at the vets and our puppy lit up. We realised that it wasn’t a behavioural thing, it was the fact he needed other dogs. The rescue had told us not to let him meet other dogs for a while as he was “trigger stacked”. But he was like a different dog. Way more confident, happier. That was what he needed.
While at the vets, a woman from another rescue arrived for her own appointment with an animal. She saw how upset we were. She spent an hour acting like she was helping. Acting like she was trying to find him somewhere who had other dogs and more experience. I then got a call from my sister in law saying she would come and collect him. We told this woman, told the vet, thanked everyone and drove him home. End of that… or so we thought.
My SIL has lots of experience with rescue dogs and her family have lots of dogs. So she was just going to take him for a few days and see if he was happier. Half an hour after she picked him up, the door went. It was someone from the rescue threatening legal action… Because they’d been told by the vet that we took him there to be put to sleep and they refused and my SIL was now driving round vets trying to find one to do it!! The vet would not have been able to say that to them because of data protection.
At 10pm that night, we were told about a police incident number against us because another rescue had alerted the rescue we used that we had taken him to be PTS. So… even now the story doesn’t match up. First it was the vet, now it’s another rescue.
The next morning it transpires that this woman we thought was helping is now telling people that she swooped in and stopped the vet taking him and then he was removed from the vets and the police were there! We have CCTV on our house, so can prove we drove him home and he was picked up by my SIL. So, then a smear campaign was started online about us. Even though we literally took him for a check up. The vets couldn’t believe what was happening. We had to get a signed statement from them stating we never took him to be PTS.
They were harassing me; blowing up my phone with loads of numbers, threatening emails. I had to speak to the police who said they had already closed the investigation as we had done nothing wrong. The rescue then started harassing my SIL. Trying to get her to go behind our backs, so they could steal him back! Someone else spoke to my SIL and told her “Don’t tell our founder this, but we have no legal right to take the dog”.
Our puppy had the best day meeting all of my SIL’s family’s dogs, but at their place he was still the only dog. He got a bit possessive over a bone. Because my nephew is only 4 they said they couldn’t keep him. Totally fine, we were so thankful for their offer of looking after him. That wasn’t the main reason they couldn’t keep him, we’ve since found out, but I don’t want to go into that. We found someone else who would take him, but they didn’t have another dog either. By this point we knew he needed to actually live with another dog, not just see them.
My husband was on the phone to a nice woman from the rescue for over an hour. An actual civil conversation, which would have been appreciated from the start. He raised all of our issues about the shadiness of it all. How their contract contradicts itself and also the law. She said they assume puppies don’t have behavioural issues!! She swore he would not be going back to kennels and she would foster him at her house with her two dogs. So, we let her pick him up.
I hate feeling like the rescue “won”. Especially as they have previous for putting them straight back up for adoption the next day with no further assessment. With some dogs they’ve been attacking people so badly they need stitches. Then the recue don’t mention it and take the money again for adoption by someone else. The rescue are failing these dogs by not assessing them correctly. If they were, they would have known our puppy needs other dogs. They should never have rehomed him with us. If they assessed him correctly they’d know he doesn’t want a quiet life being the only dog. Even taking him to a puppy class once a week wouldn’t be enough, he thrives when he’s surrounded by dogs and is sad when he’s on his own, even if he has people around.
I’ve been in contact with someone who has been investigating them for years. This is clearly not a rescue that actually cares about the dogs. It’s no better than a puppy farm. I just wish we knew all this before. We should have dug a little deeper. Now so many things about the whole situation ring alarm bells. But you go into it thinking you’re doing this great thing, giving this puppy a chance at a great life.
I do know that we sacrificed what we wanted to try and give our puppy a better life. Dogs aren’t here forever, they deserve to be happy. As much as we loved him and he was affectionate to us, you can’t force them to be happy without other dogs. We only ever wanted what was best for him. I can’t say the same for the “rescue”. For them, it’s just pound signs. My husband and I have been anxious, unable to eat, sleep, depressed, angry, crying, shocked. It’s been truly horrific. We’re trying to move on, but being accused of taking a dog to be PTS has destroyed us. We would never. We had to make that decision with Poppy because she was old and ill. I would never do that to a healthy dog.
As you can imagine, this has been traumatic for the pair of us. We took ages to feel ready for another dog and then this. We now both feel like we can’t do it again. I know there are real reputable rescues out there, but we’ve been mistreated by two rescues in the last two weeks. The woman we met clearly has a saviour complex. According to her, it’s OK to slander people on the way to making yourself look good. Sorry this was so long, but it’s been an ordeal!
LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW TO MAKE THESE VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHIP FLAPJACKS…
Flapjacks remind me of being a child. We used to make them at school and at home as they’re quick and tasty. You can add in whatever you like and they always turn out to be delicious!
I decided to make a vegan and dairy free version of flapjacks and oh my god. They’re amazing! Chewy, full of flavour and so satisfying! They couldn’t be simpler to make either!
I simply preheated the oven to 160C/325F and lined an 8×8 inch square pan. Then, I melted vegan butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and vanilla in a deep saucepan. After that, I added in 3 cups of oats and mixed until all the oats were coated in that glorious sugary liquid.
Because I added chocolate chips, I let my mixture cool for about 10 minutes. I did want ribbons of chocolate through my Vegan Chocolate Chip Flapjacks. However, I didn’t want the dairy free chips to completely melt and it just become one melted mess.
Once the mixture had cooled a bit, I added the chocolate chips and stirred them in. Tip into your prepared pan, smooth, bake for 30-35 mins and that’s it! I did sprinkle some more chocolate chips on the top after it came out of the oven, but you don’t have to.
You can add in nuts, seeds, different chocolate, raisins/sultanas. The options are endless and flapjacks are so versatile. Once you have that base, you can go to town with additions!
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Vegan Chocolate Chip Flapjacks
- 1 1/4 sticks (140g) vegan butter
- 3/4 cup (150g) light brown sugar, make sure your brand is vegan. I used Tate and Lyle
- 1/4 cup (60ml) golden syrup, double check yours is vegan. Mine was Tate and Lyle
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups (240g) rolled oats
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup (175g) dairy free, vegan chocolate chips, SEE NOTE.
- Preheat the oven to 160C/325F and spray an 8×8 inch square pan with cooking spray. I then put two strips of grease proof paper across the pan both ways, so I can lift out the flapjacks. It's up to you if you want to do that. They won't stick with the cooking spray, it's just making it easy to transfer them to a cutting board.
- Place the vegan butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and vanilla extract into a deep saucepan, over a medium heat.
- Stir frequently until everything is melted and smooth. Don't bring it to a boil, you just want everything combined and melted.
- Tip in your rolled oats and stir until they are all coated in the golden syrup mixture. If you're adding in raisins, nuts and seeds, you can add them straight away. If you're adding in chocolate chips, I would leave the mixture to cool slightly otherwise the chocolate chips will melt completely.
- I left my mixture to cool for 10 minutes, before adding in my chips. I did want them to sort of swirl through the mix, but also some stay whole and this is what happened. If you want all of your chocolate chips to stay whole, leave the mixture to cool for longer.
- Tip the mixture into your prepared pan and smooth into an even layer with the back of your spoon. Place in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until bubbling around the edges and golden. They will still look soft, that's fine, they'll set up as they cool.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the pan (if you can resist getting a spoon and digging right in!). You can also sprinkle some more chocolate chips over the top of the flapjacks when they come out of the oven, I did this.
- Once the flapjacks are cool, gently lift them out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Slice into 9-12 bars.
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Flapjacks will keep in an airtight container, at room temperature for 5 days, or in the fridge for a week.