Carrot Orange Olive Oil Rise & Shine Bars with Cream Cheese Whip

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We’ve had too much carrot cake in the house in 2014, so this morning, when I was thinking about what to make for breakfast in place of the eggs or hot cereal we’ve also been eating a lot of, I decided to have my cake and eat it too. Carrot cake, but not. And while the muffins and bars I whipped up after pulling things out of the pantry, spice carousel, and fridge ended up being topped with cream cheese frosting, the best part of a carrot cake, if you ask me, it was a lighter, whippier version than the traditional, dense and heavy, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth cream cheese frosting that is usually slathered over carrot cake.

So while my kids happily munched their breakfast muffin topped with “frosting” and a side of milk, I made myself feel better by thinking of all the kids who spent this summer vacation morning eating Pop Tarts and frosted or fruity cereal. I still felt guilty as I bit into mine, almost feeling my waist expand, but then I washed that mouthful down with hot coffee, and the guilty conscience along with it. Tomorrow is another day. And another bowl of oatmeal.

The healthier difference in my batter, as opposed to the cake batter that comprises a fabulous, moist, classic carrot cake, was in the fact that I only used a half cup of raw sugar, organic extra virgin olive oil rather than butter, and Bob’s Red Mill organic whole wheat flour in place of bleached white.

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I also added wheat bran, organic raisins, and good-for-us walnuts to it. And if I can get the three of us who don’t like cooked carrots very much to eat them, it’s a good day. Carrots for breakfast? They didn’t have a clue.

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The addition of orange zest and extract was just for fun. And, oh was it fun to eat “cake” for breakfast!

Ingredients:

Batter:

2 c. grated carrots

3 eggs

1/2 extra virgin olive oil

Zest from one medium orange, app. 1 tsp.

1 tsp. pure orange extract

1/2 c. turbinado sugar

2c. whole wheat flour

1 c. wheat bran

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. pink Himalayan salt

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1/8 tsp. ground allspice

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 c. raisins

1/2 c. walnut pieces (I left mine in large chunks, almost halves.)

Cream Cheese Whip:

1/4 c. butter

4 oz. cream cheese

2 T heavy cream

1/2 tsp. pure orange extract

2 c. confectioner’s sugar

Pinch coarsely ground pink Himalayan salt (Trust me on this one. Something magical happens when you bite into a small crystal of the salt with a nibble of muffin.)

2 T walnuts, finely chopped

Method:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease pans or add cupcake liners.

Combine the wet ingredients with the sugar.

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Sift together the dry ingredients.

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Add the raisins and walnuts to the sifted dry ingredients.

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Fold the wet ingredients into the dry.

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Fill muffin pan holes half to three quarters of the way full.

I made six muffins, then put the rest of the batter in my all edges brownie pan.

Bake 25 minutes.

Cool completely.

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Make the frosting by creaming the butter with a mixer. Just whip it like crazy!

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Add the cream cheese and continue with the whipping. I could add a very popular Devo line here, but I’m not going to.

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Add the extract and the cream and the salt. Whip, whip, whip!

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Add half of the confectioner’s sugar and whip for a few minutes.

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Add the rest and whip until the frosting is light and billowy.

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Spoon onto cooled muffins and bars.

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Sprinkle with finely chopped walnuts.

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*Please forgive my not so good picture taking today. My good camera’s batteries died. I went to my “secret” camera AA stash to get replacements but realized when I found only one in a single package that my stash had been found out. I’m assuming they are powering some sort of electronic gaming device or, possibly, a television remote control elsewhere in the house. On top of that, one of my under cabinet light bulbs burned out, and it was a cloudy day so no sunny window or outdoor photos could be taken. I ended up using my iPhone under poor lighting. Murphy’s Law for budding food photographers. I guess since this is how I blogged for a very long time, I’ve come full circle. 😉

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