Make Ahead

Carrot-Halwa Blondie Bars

March  2, 2011
Photo by Bobbi Lin
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 ( last year. Since then it's been a favorite snack to whip up at home on short notice. —Panfusine

Test Kitchen Notes

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
In This Recipe
  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.

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A biomedical engineer/ neuroscientist by training, currently a mommy blogger on a quest for all things food - Indian Palate, Global perspective!