Category Archives: squares

Carrot Cake TO GO: Version 2.0

Before we get to cooking, I need to get something off my chest. I have been watching this season of American Idol. *shame* And I like it. *double shame* And it’s making me like Jennifer Lopez. *weird* Whew. I’m glad we shared that moment. Now I can be my true, embarrassing self.

On to more important things. This past weekend I auditioned for Recipe To Riches with my Carrot Cake TO GO bars. I didn’t make the cut. Cray, I know. Tear. Sob. Whatever. But that means that I can share my perfected recipe with all of YOU!

You may remember a similar recipe that I made this past summer. Back then it was a portable trail mix with lots of carrot-y goodness packed inside. But I thought that the folks at PC might be looking for something a little more universal, so after about 15 versions, I ended up with this recipe. It’s basically a fusion between a granola bar and carrot cake. It’s incredibly moist, filling, and satisfies my sweet-tooth craving (which can be ferocious at times). It is also moderately health, so you don’t have to go run 5 k after eating a bar. Although if you do “run” they would be a perfect take along. Do people bring snacks on runs? I’m not all that familiar with “exercise”.

This recipe makes about 24 bars, depending on how large you’d like them. You’ll need:

  • 6 cups large rolled oats
  • 6 tbsp canola oil
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 9 cups grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup sultana raisins
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 150 grams white chocolate discs

In a small pot over medium heat combine your oil and 6 tbsp honey and heat until gently boiling. Pour over the oats in a bowl, and toss until evenly coated. Spread oats onto a large parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 325 for 20 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes. Your oats should be golden brown.

Spread your carrot across 3 large parchment lined baking sheets, and bake at 300 for 15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes. This will steam some of the extra moisture out of your carrots so your bars hold together.

Let both of those ingredients cool, while you soak your raisins in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes.

In a LARGE bowl toss together your granola, carrot, raisins (drained), sugar, oat flour, flax, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together your remaining honey, corn syrup, melted butter and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and toss until everything is throughly coated.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment, and press your bar mixture into it to a height of about 1.75 cm. If your sheet is too large, you can just create an edge with your fingers instead of spreading the mixture all the way to the rim of the tray. If your tray is too small, you can bake the rest of your mixture in a small cake pan. Try to keep the height uniform across the bars.

Bake at 325 for about 35 minutes until the bars are firm with a bit of give to them. Let them cool completely before cutting them up. I like to use a bench cutter for this (It makes me feel manly. Why I want to feel manly, I do not know.), but you can use a kitchen knife if you don’t have one.

When you’ve cut your bars, put your chocolate in a zipper seal bag (If you are afraid of plastic leaching into your food, you can melt the chocolate in a double boiler. I’m a rebel) and melt it in the microwave at 30 second intervals. Squeedge the chocolate around before adding more time. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate, because there is no going back.

Snip a small bit from the corner of your baggie and drizzle chocolate back and forth on a diagonal across the bars. You don’t need much, the bars are pretty sweet on their own. You can even skip this step if you want.

Now since I have made so many versions of this recipe, I have a few tips for you. If you want to cut back on the processed sugar, you can sub your corn syrup for pureed dates. This will make the bars a little firmer (and in my opinion less delicious), but it is lower cal. You can also add more flax, and less oat flour if you like, but again, the bars will taste slightly different. Have fun experimenting, and happy baking!

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Filed under cake, pop culture, relatively healthy, squares

Bejewelled Cheesecake Bars

These cheesecake bars are so easy, even my dog could make them. And she’s not the smartest dog in the park.  The bright fruit gummies make them look impressive, so your friends will think that you are a kitchen genius, even if you can barely scramble an egg. With only a few simple ingredients, they will become a go-to on your list of bake sale worthy recipes. One batch yields about 36 small squares with spare edges for tasting. You’ll need:

  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 500 g (2 packages) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 small can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 package vanilla pudding mix (low cal is okay)
  • 1 cup chopped swedish berries (you can also use jujubes, or small baking gums to save yourself the chopping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9 inch pan with aluminum foil, and spray it with non-stick spray. Mix together your melted butter and crumbs, and press the mixture evenly over the bottom of your pan.

Bake for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of your recipe. In a medium bowl, mix together your cream cheese, condensed milk, egg and pudding mix on high until well blended. Remove your crust from the oven, and cover it evenly with half of your cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with half of your gummies, and cover those with the remaining cream cheese mixture. Spread the remaining gummies evenly over the top of your squares and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and let cool. To cut your squares, lift them out of the pan with the foil. Peel the foil away from the edges and slice lengthways, then crossways. Avoid cutting through too many gummies, because they can be tough to divide.

Refrigerate your squares in an airtight container, and serve them chilled. Your recipients are in for a sweet surprise when they bite into a square and find a chewy candy jewel!

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Filed under squares, super simple