Chewy granola bars are one of my favorite things ever. Besides the whole amazing texture part, they’re packed with a million of my favorite ingredients, they’re totally portable, and super filling.
But today I’m not here to bore you with my granola bar obsession, I’m here to talk about one of my very best blog/real-life friends, Jessica, who just released a super rad cookbook. You’ve probably seen her cookbook recipes floating all around the blog world this week and for good reason. It’s kind of spectacular.
The cookbook is called, Seriously Delish, and if you know Jessica and her blog at all then you know that title is beyond fitting. Jessica’s book is filled with 150 recipes ranging all across the board. You’ll find breakfast recipes for every day of the week, loads of snacks, sandwiches + fancy topped toast, tons of taco recipes, pizza, burgers, happy hour drinks, a lightened up chapter, and the last chapter “for times when calories don’t count.”
Jess and I have known each other for nearly five years now, which is insane to think about. I’m not exactly sure how our paths crossed but the important part is that they did. Almost exactly four years ago we got to meet when I was home in Cleveland. Jess drove with our friend Abby from Pittsburgh to hang and eat dinner together with my family. I taught Jess + Abby what I knew about photography and then made dinner, which was a roasted acorn squash stuffed with veggie chili and salad on the side.
If you know anything about Jessica you know she’s not the biggest vegetable fan, and here I was trying to make her eat vegetables stuffed inside a vegetable with salad on the side. I’m such a good friend.
Despite living in Colorado we’ve somehow managed to see each other multiple times each year with many back + forth trips between Pitt + OH when I’m home visiting family. She even surprised me at one of my book signings last year. I basically don’t know what I’d do without this girl.
And when you do this type of blog/recipe/photography work by yourself at home, you need friends who you can talk to like co-workers. Friends who can give you constructive criticism and honest opinions, who push you to be your best self. You also need friends you can look up to who are hard working, inspiring, insanely determined, who never quit, and can always make you laugh. That pretty much sums up Jess. She rules, a whole lot.
Seriously Delish is basically like having Jessica right there with you in the kitchen. Her personality jumps off every page and her stories are both hilarious + heartwarming. Jess’s recipes are simple but bold, comforting and over the top, fresh and playful and her photos make you want to literally dive into the book.
This cookbook is a celebration of food.
And these chewy granola bars are definitely celebration worthy. They’re dense and nutty and perfectly sweet. You can make them for breakfast, snack, or dessert [with a little ice cream perhaps?] and customize them with any nuts + seeds you choose.
I enjoyed these bars alongside the Banana Macaroon Smoothie from page 52, which I highly recommend. Also, the lunchtime roasted broccoli-sweet soup was a major win for dinner last night. Next up I’m making the zucchini taco with grilled corn salsa and then the cheesy polenta with garlic butter mushrooms. Need I say more?
Chewy Granola Bars
gluten-free // yields 9-12 bars – time: 40min
- 2 cups old-fashioned [gluten-free] rolled oats
- 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup creamy almond butter
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment or waxed paper, leaving extra paper hanging over the edges. Spray the paper with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flaxseed, walnuts, sunflower seeds, brown sugar, chia seeds, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the coconut oil, almond butter, honey, and vanilla extract. Stir the mixture until the oil and almond butter melt. Remove the pan from the heat and pour into the oat mixture. Stir the mixture until all of the ingredients are wet and the granola begins to come together. Press the mixture into the lined dish, smoothing out the top and corners with a spoon.
Bake the bars until slightly brown on top, 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the bars cool in the pan completely. [They’ll firm once fully cooled.] When you’re ready to cut the bars, life the parchment paper from the pan so it comes out in one square. Cut the square into 9 or 12 bars and wrap each in plastic wrap to store. These will stay fresh for 2 to 3 days at room temperature or a bit longer in the fridge.
Notes: I used a 9x9 pan with parchment paper [ungreased]. I also subbed coconut sugar for the light brown sugar, added 3 tablespoons cacao nibs, used pepitas instead of sunflower seeds, used 2 teaspoons vanilla, and forgot to add the walnuts [oops]. Mine were golden brown at 18 minutes.
To veganize: I would sub half of the honey with brown rice syrup and half with maple syrup.
You know you want this cookbook in your kitchen and here’s your chance to get it!
TO ENTER: Leave a comment below about the last over-the-top, delish thing you ate!
[Open to US residents only. Giveaway sponsored by Jessica’s publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.]