Healthy One-Bowl Carrot Cake Bars
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Yields: 16 bars
 
These fun bars combine two of my favorite desserts: carrot cake and brownies! They have the same flavors of classic carrot cake — sweet, cozy, and lots of spices — and the same supremely fudgy texture as brownies. The velvety smooth cream cheese frosting on top makes them even more irresistible! Leftover bars will keep for at least five days (if not longer!) if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • ½ tbsp (7g) coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ¾ tsp liquid stevia (see Notes!)
  • 3 tbsp (27g) confectioners’ style erythritol (see Notes!)
  • ¼ cup (60g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp (135mL) nonfat milk
  • 1 ½ cups (180g) whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups (158g) freshly grated carrots (peeled first — and see Notes!)
  • cream cheese frosting, for serving (see Notes!)
  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F, and coat an 8”-square pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil or butter and egg whites. Stir in the vanilla, liquid stevia, and erythritol. Add in the Greek yogurt, stirring until no lumps remain. Stir in the cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt. Stir in the milk. Pour in the flour, and sprinkle the baking powder over the top (to prevent it from clumping!). Stir in the flour and baking powder until just incorporated. Gently fold in the carrots.
  3. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 300°F for 30-34 minutes or until the edges look firm and the center looks slightly underdone (see Notes!). Cool completely to room temperature in the pan, and let the bars rest for at least 6 hours once they’ve reached room temperature for the best taste and texture before frosting, slicing, and serving.
Notes: Remember to measure the flour correctly, using this method or a kitchen scale. (← That’s the one I own and love!) Too much flour in the batter will make your carrot cake bars cake, dry, or crumbly, rather than chewy and fudgy.

Whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat flour, and all-purpose flour may be substituted for the whole wheat flour. Oat flour (gluten-free if necessary!) may also be substituted, but be extra careful when measuring it!

For the gluten-free option, I recommend the following: ¾ cup (90g) millet flour, ½ cup (30g) tapioca flour, ¼ cup (30g) brown rice flour, and ½ teaspoon xanthan gum. Many store-bought gluten-free flour blends (like this one!) will also work, if measured like this.

Any oil may be substituted for the coconut oil or butter.

I highly recommend using the liquid stevia! It’s one of my favorite ingredients, and you’ll use it in all of these recipes of mine too. (I always buy mine online here because it’s the cheapest price I’ve found!)

If you prefer, ½ cup + 1 tablespoon (135mL) of pure maple syrup, honey, or agave may be substituted for the liquid stevia AND the milk. (Do not use the milk if using any of these liquid sweeteners!) However, your carrot cake bars won’t taste as sweet. Alternatively, substitute 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (216g) of coconut sugar, brown sugar, or granulated sugar for the liquid stevia AND the milk.

I buy my erythritol online here, and you’ll use it in all of these recipes of mine too! Coconut sugar, brown sugar, or granulated sugar may be substituted for the erythritol.

Any milk may be substituted for the nonfat milk.

Do not substitute store-bought pre-shredded carrots (also called “matchstick” carrots). They’re thicker and drier, and they don’t soften properly while baking.

The bars are ready to come out of the oven when the edges look firm but the center still looks glossy and underdone! The heat from the pan continues to cook the center while they cool. If the edges of the bars pull away from the edges of your baking pan within 10 minutes of pulling them out of the oven, then you’ve baked them for long enough!

If you’re too impatient to wait for 6 hours once your bars are at room temperature, then you can stick the pan in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours once they’ve reached room temperature to speed up the process!

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING, OPTION 1: In a medium bowl, beat ½ cup (120g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 4 oz (113g) well-softened light cream cheese, and ⅜ teaspoon liquid stevia (or adjusted to taste!) just until smooth and creamy. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to frost your cupcakes. This frosting option is clean eating friendly and a little thinner in consistency.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING, OPTION 2: In a medium bowl, beat ½ cup (120g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 4 oz (113g) well-softened light cream cheese, 1 serving (8g) fat-free, sugar-free cheesecake instant pudding mix, and ⅜ teaspoon liquid stevia (or adjusted to taste!) for 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before you’re ready to frost your bars. (You just need the dry instant pudding mix; don’t prepare it according to the package directions!) This frosting option is thicker and stiffer in consistency (and it’s great for piping on top of cupcakes too!).

For both frosting options, any type of cream cheese will work (Neufchâtel cream cheese, Greek yogurt cream cheese, fat-free cream cheese, even regular cream cheese!). Just make sure it’s very well softened first!

{gluten-free, clean eating, low fat, low sugar}
Recipe by Amy's Healthy Baking at https://amyshealthybaking.com/blog/2020/03/04/healthy-one-bowl-carrot-cake-bars/