Thursday, September 11, 2014

Carrot Cake Granola Bars

a midnight snack . . .
I love granola bars for post- (or mid-) run snacks. My kids love them for quick, grabby breakfasts. It's such a simple item to prepare yourself, and they're infinitely customizable. I make big batches, wrap the bars individually, and store them in the freezer. The bars take less than 10 minutes to thaw (but I've gnawed on many a still-frozen bar with no ill-effects).

I came up with this recipe because I wanted something nice and fall-ish that didn't involve going all the way to the store to buy pumpkin. Maybe it's lazy, or maybe it's serendipity.

So, do they actually taste like carrot cake? Yep, these are definitely cousins in the carrot cake family. Think of them as the kind of jovial, polite, but health-conscious cousins who come to Thanksgiving dinner and make great conversation but eat only one kind of pie and no second helpings.

Carrot Cake Granola Bars with Walnuts

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay a sheet of aluminum foil inside a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish and mold it to fit the dish. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, wheat flour, white flour, flaxmeal, salt, spices, and walnuts. In a medium mixing bowl, combine honey, oil, egg, extract, carrots, and raisins. Stir carrot mixture into dry ingredients; mix until thoroughly combined and all dry ingredients are evenly moistened.

Spoon mixture into foil-lined baking dish and press into an even layer with a spatula or a oiled hand. Place pan in a 350F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Set pan on rack and let cool completely. When cool, carefully lift foil out and transfer to cutting board. Use a large, sharp knife to cut into bars.

If desired, wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in a tightly sealed container in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Yields: Makes about 20 bars.

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