Carrot Cake Bites

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These make a great gift or road-trip snack!

After making carrot cake pancakes, I found myself on a carrot cake kick! Say that ten times fast… I just tried and failed.

Rainbow carrots--so gorgeous

Rainbow carrots–so gorgeous

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That’s when I discovered these gorgeous little bundles of spring. I absolutely love hemp hearts/seeds, and have a big ol’ mason jar full of them in my freezer. I typically add them to my daily green smoothie (or this Peanut Butter and Beet Smoothie), and was stoked to have another use for them. Hemp seeds are a great source of protein and healthy fats, making them a great addition to these carrot cake bites!

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Another bonus? They are sweetened with dates, rather than refined sugar. I absolutely love dates and plan on using them a lot more in my desserts. During my last shopping trip, I noticed the woman ahead of me in line purchasing a bundle of these deliciously sweet treats. The cashier didn’t know what they were—she even said that she had never seen anyone buying them before. I was shocked! I encourage everyone to venture into the world of date-sweetened desserts.

Wanna date, anyone? Too bad, I'm taken.

Wanna date, anyone? Too bad, I’m taken.

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These little carrot cake bites are packed with protein from the hemp seeds, beta carotene from the carrots and healthy fat from the almonds and the hemp seeds. They provide antiseptic properties from the cinnamon along with digestive aid from the ginger and nutmeg. Man oh man.

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I packed these little beauties for our roadtrip to Portland, and ended up eating an entire mason jar full of them. Oops! Good thing they are such a nutritional powerhouse.

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The original recipe from the absolutely gorgeous and genius Blissful Basil calls for walnuts, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand. I seem to always have almonds hiding somewhere. If you don’t have hemp seeds, you can substitute flax seeds.

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CARROT CAKE BITES
Prep time: 5 minutes   Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients:

•           1½ cups pitted Medjool Dates
•           ½ cup finely shredded carrots
•           ½ cup raw almond pieces
•           ⅔ cup GF rolled oats
•           2 TBSP shelled hemp seeds (aka hemp hearts)
•           ½ tsp vanilla extract
•           1 tsp cinnamon
•           ½ tsp ground ginger
•           ⅛ tsp nutmeg

Directions:
Add all the ingredients to a food processor or Vitamix. I put the 3 carrots in the Vitamix first to shred them super quickly, and then added the rest of the ingredients.

Pulse until the mixture starts to come together. Roll the dough into 20 bite size pieces. Place them in the freezer for 15 minutes to set up. Store them in the freezer or fridge for a great, healthy, protein-packed snack!

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Mason jar full o’ carrot cake!



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Carrot Cake Pancakes

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Pancakes for dinner? OKAY! I had recently stumbled upon some beautiful rainbow carrots, and after scouring the internet for recipes, the colorful bunch was destined for soup and pancakes—not to eat at the same time… yuck. The boyfriend and I decided that we would celebrate a Monday with breakfast for dinner. Why? Because it was Monday. Duh. In my opinion, pancakes are so much better as a fun dinner than boring ol’ breakfast!

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And to be honest, folks, as much as I am looking forward to the carrot and coconut soup (and it’s still cold and rainy here in WA so it’s completely acceptable), these carrot cake pancakes had me giddy with excitement!

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When I was a small squib of a thing, my family and I drove from Arizona to Canada for a family reunion. One of the most memorable parts of that trip (other than the crazy-long drive in a minivan with my parents, my grandmother, and my 3 older sisters–yikes, amiright?) was THE carrot cake. Stay with me for a second; I’ll explain.

At one of the many family gatherings, sitting amongst the food on the banquet table was this stupidly delicious-looking cake adorned with a carrot made out of frosting. I ate 3 pieces. And I wanted nothing to do with any of the other food (I’m sure my parents loved that). From then on, carrot cake has been one of my all-time favorite desserts.

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I stumbled upon a great recipe by Cara at Fork and Beans for carrot cake pancakes. Mmmm, yes please! I changed the recipe up a bit to make the pancakes a bit more naturally-sweetened. My intention was to use only dates to sweeten these puppies, but after mixing the batter up, they were definitely not sweet enough for my liking! Hence the addition of the agave. When I remake these (as I know that I will… heck, maybe this week!), I think I’ll double the dates and see where that gets me. Give it a shot!

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The pancakes are a perfect blend of carrots, spices, and sweetness to make a similar flavor to carrot cake. Covered in maple syrup, they are unstoppable!

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Carrot Cake Pancakes
Prep time: 15 minutes         Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes a dozen pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 3 pitted dates, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and blended into small pieces
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp flax meal
  • 2.5 Tbsp warm water
  • 1 cup un-sweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or vegan butter (I used Earth Balance Coconut Butter)
  • 2 Tbsp agave or maple syrup (add more or less, depending on the desired sweetness of your pancakes—I found that 2 was perfect for a touch of sweetness but not overpoweringly so)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour blend
  • 3 large carrots—grated

Directions:
Soak the dates in warm water for 10 minutes. In either a blender or food processor, pulse the dates into small pieces.

In a large mixing bowl, prepare your flax egg by combining the flax meal and warm water. Let it set up for 5 minutes. Add all ingredients except for the flour and grated carrots. Mix in the flour, ½ a cup at a time. Stir in the grated carrots.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Scoop about ¼ cup of batter into the pan. Once bubbles begin to form in the batter, flip that sucker over!

This recipe made about a dozen delicious, carrot-y, cinnamon-y pancakes. You’re going to love these!

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Proof that the boyfriend loved these pancakes!