I imagine that these lovely carrot bars are the sort of thing Good Hostesses have on hand at all times. The sophisticated marriage of carrot and maple has a decidedly uptown appeal, while the drizzle of cream cheese glaze reassures that this recipe is a crowd-pleaser. The bars are elegant enough to be the perfect accompaniment for an afternoon tea or after-dinner coffee. And if you skip the glaze, they would be a sweet and hearty addition to your breakfast table. See? Elegant, versatile, crowd-pleasing–these are things that the Good Hostess in my imagination would definitely appreciate.
I harbor no illusions that I am that Good Hostess. For one, my kitchen is usually in too much disarray to imagine high class entertaining at the drop of a hat. Oh well. I make these bars anyway, because they taste utterly sinful, but the recipe is entirely reasonable in my book. Compared to your usual carrot cake, the fat is cut back, and the flavor is amped up, making these a just right anytime treat.
The carrot bars are dense, chewy, and moist. Sweetened with some New England maple syrup, the flavor is further heightened by nutty shredded coconut, chopped walnuts, and juicy raisins. The cream cheese glaze is what nudges them over-the-top, with a sweet tang that completes the package.
Carrot Maple Oat Bars
Yield: One 8″ square or 9″ round pan
1/2 cup soymilk
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp ground flax
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp margarine
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup shredded carrots (packed)
1/4 cup shredded, dried coconut
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins
1 recipe cream cheese glaze, below
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ round or 8″ square baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Mix the soy milk and lemon juice together and set aside; it will curdle into “buttermilk”. In a small food processor, or using a whisk, blend together the ground flaxseed and water; set the flax mixture aside to thicken.
3. Beat the margarine and maple syrup in a large mixing bowl. Add the soy milk, flax mixture, and vanilla. Beat well.
4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Gradually add the the dry mixture into the wet ingredients, stirring until it is just blended. Fold in the coconut, walnuts, and raisins.
5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack. Frost with cream cheese glaze once cooled, if desired.
Vegan Cream Cheese Glaze
6 tbsps vegan cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy. Chill until you are ready to frost the bars.