Creamy dreamy frosting plus crunchy, spicy crust plus F-I-V-E layers of goodness equals TRIPLE THREAT for your taste buds. These amazing bars have all the flavors you crave in a carrot cake but in a healthier bar version of this classic dessert. The crispy crust packed with spicy notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, then topped with a rich carrot cake, and finished with toasty nuts and a creamy frosting.
Carrot Cake Paleo Magic Cookie Bars [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the Bars:
- 2/3 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 13.5-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
- 1/3 cup agave
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 2/3 cup carrot, grated
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
For the Crust:
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, at room temperature (should be the consistency of softened butter)
- 3 tablespoon agave
- 3/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
- 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch of sea salt
For the Frosting:
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons agave
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and line an 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper, leaving a little to use as a handle one the bars are baked.
- Place the pecans on a small baking sheet, and the coconut flakes on a separate baking sheet.
- Place them into the oven and bake them until they're golden brown and toasted, about 10-12 minutes for the pecans and 2-4 minutes for the coconut.
- In a large pot whisk together the coconut milk, agave, and pineapple juice and bring them to a boil over high heat.
- Once boiling, boil them for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the mixture, stirring it frequently until the sauce reduces to a total of 1 cup, about 18-20 minutes. It's important to reduce the liquid to 1 cup.
- While the sauce reduces, in a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the coconut oil with the 3 tablespoons of agave until smooth and creamy.
- Stir in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pinch of salt until a wet dough forms.
- Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. This will be a little bit tough, just be patient with it.
- Do not bake the crust until the sauce finishes reducing, as this allows the sauce the thicken and cool while the crust bakes.
- While you wait for the sauce to finish reducing, chop the toasted pecans and set aside.
- Additionally, place the grated carrots and the crushed pineapple into separate kitchen towels and ring out the excess moisture.
- Once the sauce has reduced to one cup, set it aside to cool while you bake the crust.
- Place the ready-to-go crust into the oven and cook it for 8 minutes.
- When the crust comes out of the oven, it may have risen in some spots. Take a small spoon and gently press it back down, being sure not to leave cracks in the crust.
- Sprinkle the chopped nuts on top, and lightly press them into the crust. Then, sprinkle on the coconut flakes, followed by the grated carrots and then finally the pineapple. Be sure to spread everything out evenly.
- Finally, pour the coconut milk sauce evenly over top of everything, making sure you get it down the sides of the bars.
- Use a knife to swirl around the layers in a few spots where the sauce pools, to make sure it seeps down into all the layers. Then, gently shake around the pan to ensure the sauce really sinks in everywhere.
- Place the dish into the oven and cook it until your bars are golden brown and bubbly. This should take about 28-30 minutes. Let them cool on the counter to room temperature. While the bars cook, drain the cashews and place them into a small food processor.
- Add in the milk, agave, vanilla, and salt and blend the mixture until creamy. This could take a good 3-4 minutes. With the food processor running, stream in the coconut oil until well combined. Transfer the frosting to a bowl and place in the refrigerator to firm up.
- Once the bars are at room temperature, spread the frosting over top. Cover and chill the bars overnight to let everything set. The next day, lift the bars out of the pan, and slice.