Monday, September 26, 2011

people in the house! carrot cake bars

Joy, joy, joy: after 5 days of just me at home, Greg and Kelly are home this weekend and it's gray and cloudy so it's time to cook and bake!  Yippee!  Original plan:  order pizza and watch football.  New plan:  make chili and carrot cake bars and watch football.  We're pretty easy to please.  Made my chili from the blog, but instead of adding rotisserie chicken, I browned ground turkey and added it back in after softening the onion, garlic and peppers.  Yum.  Kelly's taking a nice big container back to school.  Hopefully I can freeze some for my house full of company next weekend for the "big" night game at Purdue against the hated leprechaun and his minions from Notre Dame.  Going to be an awesome tailgate and night games are so awesome until they start playing (based purely on past disappointments, hoping for a better outcome this year but there's not much to back that up).

Clipped a carrot cake bar recipe from a local paper this week.  Instead of shredding carrots, you process the wet ingredients and then add cut-up carrots to the food processor until the carrots are chopped fine.  Kelly and I ended up with more of a carrot puree added to the wet ingredients, but we added pecans and raisins for a little texture.  They are of course topped with cream cheese frosting and will be much more portable for tailgating than a carrot cake.  It is the cream cheese frosting that makes these bars:  lemon juice, nutmeg and vanilla really bring out the best in the bars.  Keep them refrigerated.  They only get better if you make them ahead of time and chill them.

finished goodness
Carrot Cake Bars with Yummy Cream Cheese Frosting

bars
1 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 C packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 C carrots in 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 C chopped pecans
3/4 C raisins

frosting
6 oz. cream cheese, softened (I always use light cream cheese, but never for the love of God, fat-free)
1 C confectioner's sugar
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.   Whisk together flours, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Get out your food processor and add the oil, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla to the food processor bowl.  Process until blended.  Add the carrot pieces through the shoot with the motor running and process until carrots are finally chopped.  Pour the carrot mixture over the flour mixture and stir until well-blended.  Stir in the pecans and raisins.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until edges pull away from sides and a tooth pick placed in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

When the bars are cool, make the frosting by beating together the cream cheese and confectioner's sugar until fluffy.  Add the lemon juice, nutmeg and vanilla and blend well.  Spread over bars.  Keep refrigerated and cut into squares or bars to serve.


carrot cake bar ingredients

sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in food processor


carrots and etc from processor poured over dry ingredients

bar batter in the pan

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