I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of carrot cake. There’s just something about it that gets me every time.
I am not, however, a fan of carrot cake with pineapple in it. Or with four cups of canola oil in it, like the one we used to make in culinary school.
The other day I knew I wanted to develop a new recipe for carrot cake, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was going to end up looking like in the end. Originally, I thought it might be a new interesting carrot cake blondie, but then when it finally came out of the oven I realized it was much more muffin-like than anything else.
Hence, these carrot cake muffin bars were born. They taste like carrot cake but are a bit lighter and a little less sweet, making them the perfect vehicle for peanut butter or even regular butter (muhaha) in the morning.
I guess I have a bad habit of baking cake for breakfast…what can I say?
You know the tops of muffins (and no, I’m not referring to the area around your jeans)? How they are all sweet and chewy and perfect every time?
That’s how these muffin bars are.
They’re perfect wrapped up and taken as a snack on the go, or you could go all buck-wild and frost these boogers with some decadent cream cheese frosting (try this one!).
Yep, frosting would be divine. But it’s Monday, I just got back from the ocean, and I’m trying to keep things simple. Plus, cake without frosting is clearly a muffin, no?
If I had kids, I would totally wrap these up and toss them in their lunchbox. Someday, I will be that cool mom who packs cool snacks for her kindergartener.
Until then I’ll just continue to feed Dexter his cat food and eat cool snacks myself.
Carrot Cake Muffin Bars
makes about 12 squares
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup old fashioned (or quick) oats
1 cup grated carrot (2 medium carrots or 1 huge carrot)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and oats. Set aside.
Cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat again until smooth. With mixer on low, slowly stream in the milk. Add the dry ingredients, grated carrots and walnuts and mix until just combined.
Scoop batter into a greased nine inch square pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.
Let cool completely (about 20 minutes) before cutting into squares.