Friday, August 31, 2012

Pinterest Noms Challenge: Carrot Zucchini Bars with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Most people have to "hide" zucchini in something sweet in order to get their families to eat it. Not me. I love zucchini. I have it on hand almost all year, or at least as long as I can find it. I can't wait to have proper planter boxes so that I can grow my own.

On the other hand, I do have to "hide" carrots. I dislike carrots very very much. It comes down to this: when I was four, I wanted very much to be Bugs Bunny. I asked my grandpa to get me carrots at the grocery store, found them in the lower bin of the refrigerator later that day, and mowed into one without washing or peeling or cooking. It was like the day I chugged cinnamon because no one ever called my cinnamon toast "cinnamon-SUGAR toast". So, I hide carrots.

I don't mind them in curry, stews, tiny bits on salad, carrot cake or even gingered like I had in a local Ethiopian restaurant. I ogle them on veggie platters at social gatherings and wish I could, just once, stomach them drizzled in Ranch dressing. Alas, I cannot. Dear carrots, you taste like ass and that is why I am blind. Scapegoats are awesome, right?

Anyhow, I found myself at the grocery store the other day, once again flirting up the carrots. So I broke down and bought some. And some zucchini. After two days in the referator, I remembered a luscious looking recipe for carrot zucchini bars with lemon cream cheese frosting from Real Mom Kitchen that I had pinned a few months back. Oh my, yes! YES! This is what carrots are made for!!

I learned quickly that shredding carrots by hand is lame, so I pulled out the food processor I have been swearing to use more often when sunbeams broke through my window and birds started chirping. This, my dear readers, is what that damn thing was meant to do.  It tore through four carrots and a large zucchini in a few seconds flat.

I added a bit of cinnamon and substituted apple sauce for the oil, which I read about here to make sure I could go 1:1. I did, and it was amazing. The overall process is simple: whisk together all of the wet ingredients plus the brown sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Fold the shredded carrots and zuchs into the wet mixture. Then fold the dry mix into the wet veggie mix. Spread into an ungreased 13x9x2 inch pan (and spread evenly because it didn't level out like I hoped it would).

It will look a little like rabbit vomit but don't despair. It will not taste like it. (Unless of course this *is* what rabbit vomit tastes like. In which case I may ask to be reincarnated as a bulimic bunny.)

Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees and then let cool, in the pan, on a wire rack. When cooled completely, beat the crap outta the cream cheese, lemon zest and powdered sugar until it becomes light and fluffy. You can either spread the frosting on like a cake or cut into bars and pipe the frosting in neat little zig-zags. If you opt for the z's, I recommend halving the frosting recipe because I ended up with a lot left over. And four extra carrots. Here bunny, bunny...

I thought this was the perfect opportunity to practice piping and I'm glad Idid. In the beginning, they were schmoozy but by the twentieth bar, they were pretty pretty. This is thicker, denser, and a bit chewier than a cake so I am glad I opted for the bars. They were just the right size and easy to pick up and eat like a carrot.

Carrot Zucchini Bars

2 eggs
1/2 c applesauce
1/4 c honey
1 t vanilla
3/4 c brown sugar
1.5 c shredded carrots
1 c shredded zucchini
1.5 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t baking soda

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz softened cream cheese
1 c powdered sugar
zest of one lemon

Makes ~20 1-inch bars. Store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Real Mom Kitchen, originally from Better Homes and Garden.


FURY said...

LMAO!! Im so glad they turned out good. They are very pretty!!