For as long as I can remember, my mom's dessert of choice has been carrot cake. Maybe because it's sweet and nutty - just like her! Haha, totally kidding Mom! (about the nutty part)
My mom is actually my best friend, and it's probably for that reason that carrot cake has become one of my very favorites over the years, too. I guess because I wouldn't mind being just like my mom, even if it's just sharing some favorites!
I made this incredibly yummy dessert with her in mind. All of that carrot cake flavor is here, with a base that's a bit more dense. Almost like a soft cookie - where the bottom gets just crisp enough so you can pick 'em up to eat with your hands, but the inside stays moist and cakey.
I filled these up with shredded coconut for texture, carrots for flavor, and walnuts or pecans for crunch. You can add raisins too, if you're a fan, but they're not my fav. Took after my mom on that one, too!
I hope you love these delicious cookie bars as much as we do! So far they've been devoured by the two of us, gifted to my parents (Mom gave a huge stamp of approval), and sent as a "thank you" to Dathan's parents (another thumbs up!)
Give these a try for your next family gathering, or make a batch for yourself to snack on each morning with your coffee... which I may or may not have done myself!
For the Bars
- 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 cup butter, coconut oil, or ghee, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/3 cup each: shredded coconut, raisins (optional), walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2 Tbsp coconut flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- pinch of sea salt
For the Frosting
- 1 cup raw cashew pieces (soaked in warm water for 2+ hours, then rinsed)
- 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 to 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- dash of sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8" square baking dish with parchment paper.
- Combine the softened butter, egg, honey, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl, until smooth. Stir in the coconut, carrots, raisins, and chopped nuts.
- In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients (almond flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and sea salt).
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, until all of the flour is mixed in.
- Scoop the cookie dough into the lined baking dish, pressing it slightly up the sides and smoothing over the center.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until light golden brown.
- Meanwhile, work on the frosting! Add all of the "frosting" ingredients to a blender or food processor, pulsing until super smooth.
- Remove the cookie bars from the oven, and allow them to fully cool.
- Spread the frosting over top, then sprinkle with additional chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or cinnamon. Slice into squares* & serve chilled.
- My second and third times making these, I let the whole dish sit in the freezer for a bit before slicing. Makes it much easier to cut into neat little squares!
- The amount of frosting turns out perfect - enough to steal a few licks, and still frost the whole dish! ;)