Carrot-Halwa Blondie Bars

By • March 2, 2011 16 Comments

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Author Notes: Winter in New Delhi usually heralds the advent of warm comfort foods like Jalebi, coal-grilled sweet potatoes, and decadent Gajar (Carrot) Halwa, none of which may be defined as soft or melt-in-your-mouth,

The flip side of Gajar Halwa, which can be described as a sweet pudding, is that it isn't something that you multitask with—no leisurely stroll with a cup 'o joe in one hand and a sticky brownie-like treat in the other while window shopping!

I created this variation of the brownie for my fusion food blog (http://iyer-n-chef.blogspot.com) last year. Since then it's been a favorite snack to whip up at home on short notice.
Panfusine

Food52 Review: WHO: Panfusine is the author of a blog of the same name that features primarily vegetarian, Indian-fusion dishes.
WHAT: Carrot cake marries blondie bars, then honeymoons in India.
HOW: Fold melted butter into warmed carrots, whole and condensed milk, sugar, and raisins. Combine with flour and baking powder and bake the mixture in a sheet tray, with slivered almonds on top.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We came for the eye-catching orange color, but stayed for the slightly sweet, spiced flavor and rich texture. In short, this is what you serve to that friend who "doesn't like dessert."
The Editors

Makes 25 blondie bars

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons double acting baking powder (leveled)
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • One 14-ounce can condensed milk
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 5 to 7 pods cardamom seeds, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a large bowl, sieve together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. Combine the shredded carrots, whole milk, sugar, and raisins in an oven proof bowl. Pour the condensed milk over top.
  4. Mix well and microwave for 5 to 8 minutes, until the carrots are soft and have lost their raw taste.
  5. Add the melted butter, cardamom, and nutmeg. Combine well. (I prefer to add the spices after the carrots are cooked to ensure that the essential oils in the spices do not dissipate)
  6. Pour the carrot mixture into the center of the mixing bowl containing the flour. Fold it in gently from the sides towards the center. Take care not to over-mix, as this can cause the gluten to bind together, resulting in a tough and leathery texture.
  7. Spread evenly onto a sheet tray and sprinkle with slivered almonds. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown.
  8. Allow to cool, cut into squares, and serve. These bars freeze well and will keep for up to a month in the freezer.

More Great Recipes: Rice & Grains|Vegetables|Bread, Rolls & Muffins|Cookies|Desserts

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Comments (16) Questions (0)

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3 months ago Kris

Great idea to turn carrot halwa into blondie bars :)

I don't have condensed milk at home but I have some mawa . Can I add that and milk and sugar and cook the carrots. How much should I add? Do you know how much carrot mixture approximately that you end up with?

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8 months ago Naaz

Hi can't wait to try these,
Sweet or unsweetened condensed milk?
And I'm rubbish with spoon measurement so I'd say just under a teaspoon of nutmeg?

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8 months ago Panfusine

Hi Naaz, Sweetened condensed milk.. (thats where most of the sugar comes from) and nutmeg is more like a pinch or two, under a teaspoon would be too much!

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10 months ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Whoa, these certainly are tempting. Looking forward to making a batch, soon. (I have a large jar of homemade condensed milk in my fridge for which I've been waiting for an appropriate use. Found!) ;o)

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10 months ago Panfusine

Your opinions mean a lot to me AntoniaJames, looking forward to your validation!

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over 2 years ago Sureni

Sorry, I meant baking powder not soda.

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

regular baking powder is fine!

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over 2 years ago Sureni

Baking pan size is not given. Can some one suggest a size. Also, is double acting baking soda essential for this, or can we substitute regular baking soda?

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

I've not tried this with Baking soda, but since there is no acidic ingredient such as buttermilk involved, it may not work. I'd stick to baking powder. The baking pan is the standard half sheet 15 x 10 x 0.75 inches

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over 3 years ago Socks

Okay I made this tonight, first thing I tried from Food52 because I had most of the ingredients, love halwa, etc.

Changes: Allergic to almonds, so omitted. Added sugar/cinnamon mixture I had sitting around instead on top. No milk, so I used yogurt with a bit of cream instead. The rest I did as suggested.

Was confused how thick to make it, so I made it the thickness of say a biscotti. The texture turned out to be more cakelike than I imagined, but very nice. Sort of like a muffin I guess, semi-hard exterior and soft middle.

The first bite I thought it needed more sweetness, the last bite's aftertaste had me thinking wow, perfect amount of sugar afterall..

Never retrieved the cardamom pods, so I guess I'll have to look out for those as I eat.

Thinking orange zest might be a nice addition next time. Very nice and I'll make again. I'm going to cut into biscotti sized finger lengths and freeze some as suggested. Thanks for the recipe!

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over 3 years ago Panfusine

So glad you liked the recipe, A Sugar/cinnamon topping sounds wonderful! I'll definitely keep that in mind when I make this again for my son's class events.

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over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

These look perfectly divine! How do you think they would hold up, if I were to ship them to my sons at college? I usually just send them an uncut square of whatever bars I've made, secured with heavy cardboard of the same size on either side. And do they keep well? If I bake first thing in the morning, the boys usually receive what I've sent via priority USPS two days later . . . . I know they would both love these! Plus, I can see playing with the spices for a bit of variety in their "care" packages. E.g., I'm utterly enamored these days with cardamom + fennel. These would be perfect for that combo, don't you think? Thank you. ;o)

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over 3 years ago Panfusine

Thanks AJ..Priority USPS should work, I haven't sent them out by mail, although I've lugged them in ziplock bags by car. they hold up their shape quite well!

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over 4 years ago Panfusine

Thank you VanessaS for your wonderful review..

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over 4 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

yum

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over 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I totally agree. Really want to try this recipe! ;o)