Friday, March 12, 2010

Carrot Oat Bars

One of Owen's favorite things in the whole world is carrot juice. He usually makes this at his Nanna's house after picking carrots in her garden, scrubbing them in the sink and helping her put them in the juicer. I make it too, but hate the clean up from the juicer, so I don't make it as often as I should. I just planted a ton of carrots in our garden, so I am sure in the next few months I will be doing a lot more juicing!

This morning he was begging for carrot juice, so I pulled out my monster juicer (dusted it off) and filled his sippy cup with the golden liquid. He was happy, and now I had a lot of carrot pulp that was asking to be used instead of tossed. I had recently marked a recipe from the Whole Foods website that I wanted to make that called for grated carrots, so that's what I made. Carrot Oat Cake. (I changed the name from "cake" to "bars" because it's not very cake like, and more like a hearty moist granola bar)

It turned out really yummy! Even better, is that it is filling, full of nutrients, fiber and no processed sugar! It makes the perfect snack, breakfast or dessert, and I don't feel bad giving any of this to Owen because of all the good stuff in it. He absolutely LOVED it! This is a keeper.

Carrot Oat Bars
Recipe adapted from Whole Foods Market

Natural cooking spray
1 cup rolled or quick cooking oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I used regular whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots (I used the carrot pulp from my juicer and added a touch of pineapple/coconut juice to add back some of the liquid that was lost when it was juiced)
1 cup pure maple syrup (I used a little bit less than what it called for and it was still very sweet)
1 cup dried currants (I used 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup dried cranberries)
1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly oil a (9-inch) square baking pan with cooking spray and set it aside.

Pulse oats and walnuts in a food processor until coarsely ground. Transfer to a large bowl. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt and mix well. In a second large bowl, combine carrots, maple syrup, currants, coconut and vanilla. Add carrot mixture to flour mixture and stir until completely incorporated. Transfer to prepared pan and bake until cooked through and deep golden brown, about 1 hour. Set aside to let cool before cutting into squares.

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