Make these Carrot Cake Tahini Power Bars for a healthy energising snack. Gluten-free, wholegrain and vegan.
Almost everyone loves carrot cake. I know I do. Growing up I used to love it with sweet cream cheese frosting, but now I prefer it without. I really do!
Okay, yes I like it with the frosting, but that frosting doesn’t like me. Sugar highs always lead to sugar lows. So, I’ve learned over many (many) years that full on sugar is not my friend. It doesn’t lend me a fiver, or compliment my hair. So other than being sweet it doesn’t offer much. As delicious as that frosting is, 15 minutes of mmm doesn’t balance with 2 hours of zzz. When I do want a little energy pick me up I tend to head outdoors for a power walk, swinging my arms like a mad woman. It is always breezy in Edinburgh (understatement of the year) so the fresh air is a great perker-upper. Calorie-free, too.
But if my flagging energy isn’t cured by a walk (or the weather is particularly lousy) I want to eat something quick to give me a needed energy boost.
As someone with a natural savory tooth, hummus with my Scandinavian multi-seed crispbreads will invariably be my go-to for long-lasting energy. The fiber, protein and multiplicity of essential nutrients make seeds and nuts veritable powerhouses. And we can harness some of that power, deliciously and healthily. Just grab a small palmful and chew. As simple as that.
Nuts and seeds are fabulous of their own, but I also like to make little treats like these carrot cake and tahini power bars. Combining the natural sweetness of young carrots and date syrup with the power of protein-packed tahini (sesame seed paste) and cooked millet is a win-win situation. And the fact that they are super simple to make, vegan and gluten-free is a happy bonus.
These carrot cake bars are only minimally sweetened using homemade date syrup (so easy! so caramely! recipe below!). Really just enough to qualify as a sweet treat.
I use warm spices and vanilla here to amplify the sweet taste without adding more sugar – however natural. If you don’t have the spices listed (there aren’t many), just use a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice blend. It’s not the same but it will have the requisite warm spices to boost the cosy, feel-good factor of these power bars.
These bars will keep for about a week and are great to pop into a lunchbox, snack bag, backpack and, um, in your mouth.
PS instead of the sesame seeds, you can spread on some cream cheese frosting. I won’t tell. 🙂
What’s your go-to energy snack? Do you too find sugary snacks a fail?
Carrot Cake Tahini Power Bars
Make these Carrot Cake Tahini Power Bars for a healthy, energising snack. Gluten-free, wholegrain and vegan. xx
60g (1/3 cup) millet seeds (or quinoa, cooking for 12 minutes) – cooked weight is 115 grams
125ml (2/3 cup) water
180g (1 & 3/4 cups) rolled oats
50g (1/2 cup) lightly toasted walnut halves or pecan halves, ground to flour/meal OR use bought almond meal
1/4 tsp each of ground nutmeg, allspice and cardamom
Rounded 1/2 tsp cinnamon
50g (1/3 cup) shelled hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
100ml (1/3 cup) maple syrup or date syrup* (see below for how to make your own date syrup!)
50ml (scant 3 tbsp) olive oil or (Europe/UK only) rapeseed oil
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
150g (scant 1/2 cup) tahini
150g (1 cup) grated finely carrots
Grated zest of small unwaxed orange or lemon
Extra seeds hemp seeds or some sesame seeds for top
1. Preheat the oven to 160C fan/180C/350F. Line a 18cm x 27.5cm (9 x 11 in) baking pan with unbleached parchment paper.
2. Bring the water to the boil, add the millet and cook on a fast simmer with lid on for 8 minutes. Drain and “air dry” while you sort the other ingredients.
3. Put the oats and ground nuts into a large mixing bowl, along with the spices and hemp seeds; dry whisk or stir.
4. In a smaller bowl, thoroughly mix together the syrup, oil, vanilla and tahini. It will be very thick.
5. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry mix, along with the carrots and citrus zest. Stir very well then scrape the fragrant mixture into the lined pan, smoothing the top as best you can. Sprinkle over seeds, if using.
6. Pop the pan onto the centre shelf of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cake is just starting to pull away from the sides. Remove pan from the oven and cool on a rack before lifting out the cake and cutting into 12-16 bars/pieces.
These bars may be frozen. Wrap the individual pieces with parchment paper and put them all into a labelled freezer bag.
How to make your own date syrup
So easy, and completely natural!
85g of pitted dates (about 18 deglet nour dates or 10 Medjool dates)
225ml (scant 1 cup) hot water
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Soak the dates in the hot water for half an hour. Add dates and soaking water to a powerful blender with the lemon juice. Process on a high speed for up to one minute, or until completely smooth. If it’s not as thick as you’d like add a couple of extra dates. You may also wish to simmer it down to make a more concentrated syrup.
Use the syrup in porridge/oatmeal, baking and wherever you might use maple syrup. It goes without saying that you need to use best-quality dates here. Transfer to a lidded jar, refrigerate and use within 10 days.
A Few Tahini Treats on Food To Glow
Great tahini ideas from fellow healthy bloggers
RIPE FOR PINNING!