Make Ahead

Carrot-Halwa Blondie Bars (Carrot Cake Blondies)

March  2, 2011
7 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Makes 25 blondie bars
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

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kaite
  • eva @myfrontburner
    eva @myfrontburner
  • lillianstrange
  • boulangere
  • Kris
A biomedical engineer/ neuroscientist by training, currently a mommy blogger on a quest for all things food - Indian Palate, Global perspective!

31 Reviews

Kaite November 9, 2019
I was excited to give these a try as I love carrot halwa. The taste of these is great. The texture is so not a blondie. This is definitely more cake like. Unless I did something wrong.
Panfusine November 10, 2019
You're spot on right.. I created this recipe when I was a complete newbie to cooking and blogging, it was one of my very first recipes and quite frankly, i randomly slapped the term blondie simply because of the color, rather than the texture. Its become a challenge to try and change the name now!
Pavithra May 27, 2019
This really tastes like carrot halwa. I was worried that it be too sweet with the condensed milk and sugar. But it was perfect, in fact since I left out the raisins could do with a tad more sugar. I used coconut evaporated milk instead of whole milk. Delicious!
Burton April 28, 2019
This looks tasty, but it really shouldn't be categorized as a Passover recipe when it is pretty blatantly not kosher for Passover
eva @. April 19, 2019
food 52 - you might want to check your passover recipes. I've looked at 2 dessert recipes - including this one that and they both have all-purpose flour. Just thought you might want to review your tags.
Lamia August 10, 2018
Hello, I would like to make half the recipe for a test batch to see if my kids will like it. Do you suggest a 9x9 or 13x9 inch pan for the half recipe?
lillianstrange October 8, 2016
I made this today and it is so delicious. The wonderful aromas that filled the kitchen when it was baking caught everyone's attention. I subbed coconut condensed milk and almond milk to make it vegan. I even used half AP flour and WW flour and it still came out moist. Next time I will toast the nuts
Great recipe!
Panfusine October 8, 2016
Omg, the coconut milk idea sounds fantastic! Thank you
lillianstrange October 8, 2016
You're welcome. I love coconut milk, too!
boulangere September 7, 2015
Congratulations! High time we saw you here. I'd love to try these, but I'm allergic to nuts. Would the world end if I used crushed peanuts instead?
Panfusine September 7, 2015
You could omit the nuts altogether Cynthia, and make it a nut free version (I do that for school bakes)
boulangere September 8, 2015
Thank you, Niv. I will try them this week.
Kris June 10, 2015
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?
Desa October 4, 2016
I'm going to try this adaptation tonight! I have a lot of mawa in the freezer. Looking around it looks like you'd need 3/4 to 1 c of sugar added to unsweetened mawa to replace a can of sweetened condensed milk.
Panfusine October 4, 2016
Never tried using Mawa for the recipe. You may need to account for the liquid part of the condensed milk as well. I'd say increase the amount of milk.
Naaz December 29, 2014
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?
Panfusine December 29, 2014
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!
AntoniaJames November 7, 2014
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)
Panfusine November 7, 2014
Your opinions mean a lot to me AntoniaJames, looking forward to your validation!
Sureni March 22, 2013
Sorry, I meant baking powder not soda.
Panfusine March 23, 2013
regular baking powder is fine!
Sureni March 22, 2013
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?
Panfusine March 23, 2013
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
[email protected] November 4, 2021
I used a 13 x 9 glass pan and sliced like focaccia or biscotti. We ate half and will be freezing the rest. So good with a cup of tea. Sweet enough but not too sugary. The cardamom is so fragrant my house smells amazing. Any dessert that can sneak some more vegetables into our diet is good. I think sweet carrots help too. Nuts and other pieces of dry fruit like figs or persimmon could be nice and if you want it sweeter, drizzling sweetened condensed milk or a light glaze would be yummy. I’m excited about this recipe and glad I impulsively made it today.
Socks April 2, 2012
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!
Panfusine April 2, 2012
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.
AntoniaJames February 16, 2012
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)
Panfusine February 16, 2012
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!
Panfusine March 17, 2011
Thank you VanessaS for your wonderful review..
drbabs March 2, 2011
AntoniaJames March 3, 2011
I totally agree. Really want to try this recipe! ;o)