17 March 2009


I mentioned that we had some friends over this weekend for some ginger ale+whiskey and plenty of good conversation too. I really wanted to make a yummy dessert to share as well and was having a bit of baking block on Saturday morning. I didn't want to have to go to the store, so that was one limitation. I also wanted to make something that was either new, or that I hadn't made in a while. I was thinking something cakey, but Jared isn't a huge cakey-dessert fan (I know, crazytown right?!). Plus, I didn't some key ingredients that many vegan cakey desserts call for, so that was out.

I finally settled on a recipe that used to be one of my favorites but that I must have forgotten about somehow, my friend Mollie's cookie bars. I met Mollie during my semester abroad in Ecuador in 2003. We hit it off immediately, and spent the next five months getting to know each other, exploring the beautiful country, hanging out with each others' host families, and then, when the program ended, we spent some extra time traveling around on our own (along with a few other friends from the program). Mollie and I kept in touch afterwards, and a year later, we found ourselves sharing (along with a third friend, who we'd met on our program as well) two tiny attached rooms in a janky five bedroom apartment in Berkeley.

It was a crazy fun summer and after returning to Vermont to complete my final semester at college, I returned to Berkeley, and to Mollie and Leah (and a new, much nicer apartment that thankfully did not involve three weird male roommates- one of whom ate a huge mound of plain oatmeal for breakfast every single morning). We had a small kitchen in that second apartment, but we made do. And we made lots of food. Including these cookie bars (we later had a houseguest who canned 200 pounds of Alaskan sockeye salmon in that kitchen as well, but that's another story). I don't remember the first time I tasted these cookie bars, but I do remember loving them. I also love that I scribbled the recipe in my notebook/recipe book entitled "Mollie's Cookie Bars."

On the subject of food and the stories that accompany it, I'm sure many of you have seen or read reviews of Molly Wizenberg's new book, A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from my Kitchen Table. I won't go too into detail here, primarily because I haven't even come close to finishing it yet. But I will say that even after reading the first thirty-seven pages, I'm inspired. I did not buy this book for the recipes, though I'm sure I'll be making at least some of them (most are not vegan, though there are many vegetarian recipes). I've loved Molly's writing ever since I happened upon her blog, Orangette. I can't remember when or how I discovered it, but I'm so glad I did. And I'm so glad that I can continue to read more of her beautiful, nostalgia-inspiring, heartwarming, delicious, and hilariously honest words in this amazing book. After reading (the first thirty-seven pages of) this book, I'm already inspired to recall the stories that accompany so many of my recipes. And to create new stories along with my new recipes.

So, yeah, back to those cookie bars...With a couple of minor modifications, they were vegan. And delicious. They're kind of like an oatmeal cookie, but chewier. These bars are ridiculously easy to make, yet are so insanely yummy and comforting to eat. I feel like if you could hug a cookie, this is what would happen.

Vegan Cookie Bars
(based on my friend Mollie's cookie bars)

3 tbl ground flax mixed with 9 tbl water
1 cup raisins
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350. Mix the ground flax seeds and water in a small bowl. Add raisins and vanilla to flax mixture and set aside. In a large bowl, cream margarine and sugars. Add flax/raisin mixture. Add in dry ingredients and mix until completely combined. Spread batter into a greased, 9"x13" (or whatever you have that's closest) baking pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until top is lightly browned. Let cool and cut into bars. Enjoy.


  1. i love the story that goes with this recipe, julia (and i have also been loving molly's book as much for the stories as the food, if not more so!)
    hope you are having a wonderful week. xo

  2. Julia, I so want to make these this weekend! I have guests from Uruguay, I can treat them with these... Thanks!

  3. well this is a whole lot of wonderful.


  4. Julia, I made them!!
    Here they are: