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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Creamy Carrot Cake Bars

Are you on Pinterest?  I just recently started using this fantastic connection site to all these wonderful blogs out there.  Though I must admit, I'm a little leery of the trademark and copyright infringements I try to only pin from sites that have the little button already on them.  I'm stumbling along someone else's board and I see these Creamy Lemon (or Lime) Bars.  I have a huge bag full of limes and decide to give these little guys a try.  Oh my!  They were amazing.  But they had me thinking...they were so easy, what else could I throw in there to make them taste great.  I checked my pantry and my fridge and was inspired when I saw pineapple and carrots.

So after dreaming of how delicious these bars would be, I couldn't wait any longer.  I brought the leftover lime bars to be shared at daycare and got started on my next adventure.  

The whole thing can be made in your food processor and I am definitely one for not making any unnecessary dirty dishes.  

These little gems must cool before you indulge because if you try to nibble on them while still scalding hot, you won't be able to enjoy any of the flavors and you'll burn your tongue.  Trust me.  I did this.  The smell was too much!

Creamy Carrot Cake Bars

20 Nilla wafers
1/2 White whole wheat flour
1/4 c. salted butter
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger

1 8 oz package Neufchatel Cream Cheese
1/2 c. unrefined sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/4 c. pineapple juice
2 eggs
3 tbsp white whole wheat flour
1/4 c. pineapple tidbits
2 med carrots - finely grated
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves

Prep square baking dish with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350.  Process wafers in food processor till they're little crumbs of goodness.  Don't worry if there is a couple chunks of cookies left - they will get ground later on.  Add your flour, sugar, spices.  Pulse a couple times to incorporate.  Add in your cubes of butter.  Pulse till course crumbs form.  Pour into prepared pan and press into a crust.  Bake 12 minutes.

 While baking crust, prep you filling.  Cream together cream cheese and sugar till well combined.  Add in maple syrup, spices, eggs, extract, juice, flour.  Pulse till combined.  Add in carrots and pineapple tidbits. Pulse once just to combine.  Pour into crust.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until center is set.  NOTE!  A toothpick will not come out clean on these babies.  It's a creamy center.  : )

 Let cool on wire rack and place in fridge to continue cooling for at least 2 hours before serving but I would suggest 4-6 hours.  Slice and enjoy!  I topped mine with whipped cream and toasted coconut.

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