These Carrot Cake Cookie Bars are inspired by a cross between the classic dessert cake and blondies. Soft & satisfying, these little treats freeze well too.
These carrot cake cookie bars came about because I was looking to make a bit of a quicker version of one of my favourite sandwich cookies, also based on carrot cake. Bar cookies tend to be a bit less fussy, time consuming and more forgiving on baking time than drop cookies so I set out to make my own cookie bar version.
I took elements of a blondie recipe to get a soft, slightly chewy texture and added the spices and grated carrot to mimic the flavor of an actual carrot cake. Of course I had to top them with a little cream cheese frosting to add yet another layer of deliciousness. I was very pleased with the result indeed. They baked up very well and quite evenly with a good dense crumb structure that wasn’t dry at all. I froze some for a few days to test them and they thawed and served up beautifully too.
I didn’t add any nuts to this recipe but you easily could if you wanted. A half cup of ground walnuts could easily be added at the end. Another version I might try would be to substitute some very well drained crushed pineapple for part of the grated carrot and add ground pecans. This is a combination that I know works very well because I use it all the time in my Pineapple Pecan Carrot Cake. I’ll bet it would be fantastic here too.
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- 1 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup coarsely grated carrot
- 1/3 cup golden raisins optional
- 1/2 cup ground walnuts or pecans optional
- 2 cups icing sugar powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup cream cheese
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- tsp a few milk
Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan and line it with parchment paper.
Cream the butter and sugar well.Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in the vanilla extract.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Mix into the creamed mixture, folding to combine well.
When the flour is almost all incorporated, fold in the grated carrot. If you are using raisins or nuts add them here as well.
Spread evenly into the pan. To get it to spread evenly, I drop it by spoonfuls all over the surface and then spread it out evenly with the back of a tablespoon or offset spatula. Dip the tablespoon into hot water to help spread the thick batter evenly and smooth out the top if necessary.
Bake at 350 degrees (325 degrees if using glass bake warfor 40-50 minutes or until the top springs back lightly when touched and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool thoroughly in the pan before topping with Cream Cheese Frosting and cutting into bars or squares.
Store in airtight plastic containers in the fridge. Freeze part of the batch for later if you like.
Cream together the icing sugar with the butter, vanilla extract and cream cheese.
Add the milk a teaspoon or so at a time, mixing until the frosting comes together in a smooth spreadable consistency.