This recipe is what you'd get if a bowl of oatmeal and a carrot cake had a love child.
Featuring the classic flavor of traditional carrot cake recreated with wholesome ingredients, these Breakfast Bars are slightly sweet, super yummy, and packed full of important nutrients.
Bake a batch on the weekend and have a delicious breakfast or satisfying afternoon snack on hand for the busier weekdays ahead.
They'll help you get the day started on the right foot, or power you through the rest of the afternoon alongside a cup of tea.
These breakfast bars are yummy naked, but I highly recommend whipping up a batch of cashew-based Vanilla Icing (recipe included below) to spread on top, followed by a sprinkling of chopped pistachios and walnuts.
Not only are they beautiful, but they'll satisfy your cravings for dessert without setting you back on your health goals.
Equipment note: For shredding the carrots and apples, it helps to have a food processor with a shredding disc. If you don't have one, you can always use a box grater or even a vegetable peeler to create shreds manually.
For the Carrot Cake Bars
For the Vanilla Icing & Nut Topping
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with a neutral-flavored oil like coconut oil.
2. Remove the pits and stems from 8 Medjool dates.
Transfer the pitted dates to a heat-proof bowl and cover them with hot water. I use an electric kettle to heat the water for convenience.
Allow the dates to soak in the hot water until they're soft.
2. While the dates soak, in a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed with 6 Tbsp water. Whisk with a fork and set aside to allow the mixture to form a gel-like consistency.
This is known as a "flax egg" and serves as a binder in the recipe to help hold all the ingredients together.
3. Wash your 3 carrots and 1 apple. Trim away the ends of the carrots, cut the apple into quarters and remove the apple core.
Pull out your food processor and fit it with a shredding disc. Pass the carrots through the shoot and press them toward the shredding blade while the machine is running.
Do not stick your fingers into the shoot. When the carrots get smaller, use the tamper tool to continue pressing them toward the blade, until the carrots are nicely shredded.
4. Do the same with the apple. (You don't have to peel it first.)
5. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups rolled oats, 1 cup almond flour, ½ cup whole wheat flour (or buckwheat flour for a GF option), ¼ cup hemp seed, ¼ cup amaranth grain, ¼ cup chopped walnuts, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt, a pinch (⅛ tsp) of dry ground ginger and a pinch (⅛ tsp) of nutmeg.
Stir all the dry ingredients together to combine thoroughly.
6. Drain the dates of their soaking water. Transfer them to the small bowl of a food processor. Add ½ cup unsweetened applesauce and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Blend these ingredients together until smooth.
7. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients: the date + applesauce puree, the "flax egg," ¼ cup coconut milk and ¼ cup maple syrup.
Add the shredded carrots and apples.
Stir everything together, until it forms a thick batter.
8. Turn the batter out into your prepared 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
Using a silicone spatula, press the batter out so that it forms a smooth layer that's even in thickness, all the way across the pan.
9. Bake in your preheated oven for 45 minutes.
10. While the Breakfast Bars bake, this is a good time to whip up a small batch of Vanilla Icing, and chop some pistachios and walnuts for the topping.
11. The Carrot Cake Bars are done when they are browning around the edges, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool completely.
Slice the Carrot Cake Bars into 16 rectangles.
Spread each Bar with a generous layer of the Vanilla Icing, and then top with a sprinkling of chopped pistachios and walnuts.
These go great with tea and fruit. Feel free to eat them with a fork...
... or with your hands 😀