Raise your hand if you love carrot cake!
Next to chocolate cake, carrot cake is one of my favorites. What’s not to love: little bits of carrots baked into fluffy cake that is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Sometimes the cake is studded with raisins or walnuts. Everything is topped with a thick and creamy, slightly sweetened cheesecake frosting.
You totally want some carrot cake now, don’t ya?
Sorry to burst your bubble but I have no carrot cake to offer you today.
What I am offering are some Carrot Cake Granola Bars. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Yes, it isn’t exactly the same as eating a piece of cake, but they are pretty darn close.
Carrot Cake Granola Bars are healthy enough to be eaten as part of your breakfast or before a workout, yet they are rich, chewy, and delicious enough to be enjoyed as a dessert.
Guess what, my friends, Carrot Cake Granola Bars actually have real shredded carrots in them! How crazy awesome is that? A granola bar that has a vegetable in it! Score!
Carrot Cake Granola Bars only require 6 ingredients plus some spices. They are naturally sweetened with dates. Plus they only take 30 minutes to make! A healthy dessert-like granola bar that is easy and seriously resembles carrot cake? Don’t mind if I do!
My only real complaint about my Carrot Cake Granola Bars is that they are so tender that they tend to fall apart at room temperature, so they don’t make a very great traveling snack. Which is okay by me; it just means I will have some tasty Carrot Cake Granola Bars waiting for me in the fridge when I get home. No complaints here.
If you give this recipe a try be sure to let me know how it goes; leave a comment and rate it! Cheers!
- 1 cup raw, unsalted walnuts (or sub pecans or almonds)
- 10 to 12 Dates, pitted (if dates seem dry soak them in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain)
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 2 teaspoons plus ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Optional: ½ cup raisins
- ¾ cup finely shredded carrots*
- ½ cup old fashioned oats (GF friendly for GF eaters)
- Line an 8 X 8 baking dish with parchment paper, allowing two edges to drape over the side for easy removal. Set aside.
- Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until the walnuts are at a course meal. Transfer the walnuts to a medium-sized mixing bowl and set aside.
- To the food processor add the dates (drain them if they have been soaked). Process the dates until they form a ball, or until small bits form.
- Add the walnuts back into the food processor with the flaxseed meal, ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Pulse until everything is well combined. Add in the raisins and pulse until they are combined but remain in chunks.
- Transfer the mixture back to the same mixing bowl, set aside.
- If your shredded carrots (see notes for tips on how to shred your carrots) look a little damp then place them in a clean tea towel and wring out most of the liquid. Not much will come out, but it helps to the bars to stick together.
- Add the shredded carrots and old fashioned oats to the bowl. Use a sturdy rubber spatula to mix until well incorporated. Sometimes it can be easier to use clean hands to mix.
- Add the dough mixture to the parchment lined baking pan. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the pan and use the bottom of a glass to press the dough into the pan. Make sure every inch is pressed down tightly. Top with more shredded carrot and chopped walnuts, if desired, press those into the top. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Once the bars have chilled, carefully lift the sheet of bars out using the parchment paper that is draping over the edges. Place the sheet of bars on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife cut the bars into small rectangles.
- Alternatively you could chill the dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls, place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and freeze for 15 minutes. Once they are chilled you can store them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
- Store the bars in an air tight container, layered between parchment paper. They keep in the fridge for up to 4 days, and even longer in the freezer. They are best eaten right out of the refrigerator because they become very sticky and fragile when at room temperature.
Prep time reflects the time needed to chill the bars before cutting them.
Inspired by Clif Bar