No fuss carrot cookie – cake bars

It’s a delicious combination of three different layers. The middle layer is mashed carrots sandwiched between cookie and cake. Between the layers the orange color gives a nice contrast whilst hiding the true –carrot- identity. Prior to this, I had tried to prepare a pie version of it by adding Graham crumbs as the base. But it was not appealing for some reason (I haven’t given up on that yet…I will be trying one more time :). Here the cookie dough as the base did a fantastic job by absorbing liquid content and kept the mixture intact between the layers while maintaining the consistency and taste throughout.

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It’s a great treat and comforting as well since it has vegetable as a one of the main ingredient :).  If your family has that one little fella who hates vegetable addition – it would easily mask that initial impression of vegetable added to it. In fact, soothing orange color in the middle does the ruse to do the appealing job! In the end, decorate with little whipping cream and chocolate glaze on top turns it into a decadent treat! Actually, caramel glaze goes far better than chocolate glaze. Unfortunately, I tried the chocolate version first and was hasty to capture the images. The next day when I tried it with caramel glaze, it tasted amazingly great! So I would recommend the caramel sauce 🙂

To get the firm yet soft base I used the cookie dough, over the cookie dough spread a layer of plain mashed carrots with a hint of pureed apple, and the final top layer is simple cake – a basic cake recipe would elegantly cover the top layer. It’s a very versatile no fuss cake or bar. When you bake it in a loaf pan, it’s easy to cut as bars. These bars are so great with coffee or tea. Or after meal, anytime!!

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For the bottom layer cookie dough
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the below dry ingredients and mix well.
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
In a medium bowl, add the below ingredients and mix well until well blended.
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp vanilla
Add 1 egg to it and beat well. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Combine everything well.
For the mashed carrots
Simply boil few carrots in a pressure cooker with less water; probably a 1/4 cup of water plus steam would be enough. Or simply drain any excess water off, if there is any. As you mash it, add a tablespoon of apple puree. Honey or sugar for the sweetness, if desired and ya, if you’re more of a sweet gal/guy 🙂 Blend it well and mash it to a roughly smooth paste. Now, spread the mashed carrot mixture over the cookie dough, may be 1 inch thickness. It reduces to half as it bakes as the cookie dough absorbs the water content.
For the top layer cake
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup warm milk
1 tbsp vanilla
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs along with vanilla.
Add the flour mixture to it. Gently mix everything together.
Grease a loaf pan with butter and remove excess grease from the pan and line a layer of parchment paper. Spread the first layer - cookie dough and level it evenly. Do not press hard! Then, over the cookie dough, layer the mashed carrot mixture about 1/2 inch thickness. Final layer would be the cake batter over the carrot mixture for about 1/2 to 1 inch thickness. You need to gently spread the mixtures without disturbing the layer beneath. Bake at 350° oven for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
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Blueberry chocolate chip diamonds

These cookies remind me of the story of a clever wife whose instinct and intellect helped her to survive her cynic husband goaded with demands and strife. Although he was okay with all kinds of food, he would always demand for fresh items at the dinner table just to foment the strife and kill the moment. So in order to keep the peaceful environment intact she was always careful to use fresh ingredients. But still things didn’t go well.

One day his wife had enough so she decided to go the other way and started using frozen items especially for his favorite dishes and the interesting part was, before the meal, she would cleverly ensconced herself by explaining how hard it was to pick fresh items whilst stay within the price range and the visible difference in the texture and taste as well. Loud and clear, the silence from the other side felt like a ruse that simmered down the storm and worth the laugh. Till date, she chuckles as she remembers this part of her life 🙂

Likewise, the beauty of these cookies is the different ingredients that binds together to please both grownups and kids. The idea of adding dried blueberries along with chocolate chip, the ruse I used to make my son who hates blueberries in any form to enjoy the goodness of it in the shadow of chocolate chips and the mocha flavor, was indeed a brilliant idea. 

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All purpose flour – 2 ½  cups
Brown sugar – 1 ½  cups
Olive oil – 1 cup
Almond powder – 2 tbsp
Milk – 3 tbsp
Instant coffee powder – 1 tbsp
Vanilla – 1 tbsp
Baking soda – ½   tsp
Salt – ½  tsp
Chocolate chips – ¾  cup
Dried blueberries – ¾  cup

In a medium bowl, mix together olive oil and brown sugar well.

In another medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the olive oil & brown sugar mixture. Mix well

Add dried blueberries and chocolate chips to the mixture.

On a clean and smooth surface, line gently greased wax paper. Place the dough on the wax paper and place the other sheet on top of it. Roll the dough evenly using a rolling pin. Remove the wax paper from the top. Gently transfer the rolled dough onto the baking sheet.

Bake in 325° oven for about 20 minutes. To get the diamond shape, first cut it in lengthwise and then cut diagonally. Allow them to cool well. Enjoy!