Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Carrot Bar Cookies--Recipe Makeover

In my never-ending quest for simplicity and tastiness, I ended up completely revamping the original Vegan Carrot Cookie recipe. I decided it makes the most sense to publish the two version separately. Personally, I'll be making only the bar cookie version from now on, but the original recipe from The Natural Health Cookbook is certainly just fine.

Some of the major differences between my makeover and the original recipe are as follows:
  • The recipe is no longer vegan, since I added an egg. If you want to keep the new recipe vegan, use flaxseed as an egg substitute: mix 1 TBSP ground flaxseeds with 2-3 TBSP water--the site I looked at suggested simmering the mixture for a few minutes, but I am pretty sure I've also seen it done raw
  • I used less whole wheat flour and ground up some of the oats into flour. I think this helped to lighten the texture
  • I ground up the carrots instead of grating them. I also used probably double the amount of carrots than I used to. I think that the carrot flavor is better distributed through the cookies with this method
  • I reduced the oil since the egg provides fat
  • I lowered the oven temperature and increased the baking time
This new version of the cookies ended up being delightfully fluffy and light. It's so much simpler to press the batter into an 8x8 inch square pan than making individual drop cookies. These cookies aren't about crispness (makes sense, since the original name is 'Chewy Carrot Cookies'), so you don't lose any lovely brown-n-crispy bits by the change.

INGREDIENTS
3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. rolled or steel-cut oats ground into flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c. rolled oats or unsweetened muesli (not ground)
1/2 c. walnuts
1/2 c. raisins or other dried fruit
1 1/2 to 2 c. shredded carrot (4-6 carrots)
1 egg
1/2 c. maple syrup (could be reduced; I'm guessing agave would also work)
1/4 c. vegetable oil (original recipe specified corn; I used vegetable but am thinking coconut oil would also be delicious)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease or spray an 8x8 inch square pan (I used a glass pan; if you use metal you may need to lessen cooking time)
  2. Toast the walnuts and then chop; set aside
  3. Whip the syrup, oil, vanilla and egg or flax slurry in a small bowl
  4. Grind the carrots finely in a food processor and stir into the syrup-egg mixture; set aside
  5. Grind up the oats in a coffee mill or other grinder
  6. Combine the wheat and oat flours with baking powder, salt and rolled oats in a large bowl
  7. Stir in walnuts and raisins (you'll want to use the flour to help separate any raisin clumps)
  8. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until well blended
  9. Press cookie mixture into the 8x8 inch pan
  10. Bake until golden and slightly cracked on top, 20-30 minutes
  11. Remove from oven; let cool slightly, then cut into 16 squares (you could cut into smaller squares if you've got kids)

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