I have to admit, I have not grown up with any particular fixed food associations with Easter other than eggs so I am a little puzzled by some of what I have been seeing recently – for example, what exactly makes carrot cake something you would have for Easter? Is it the link of carrots to rabbits that then links to the Easter bunny idea or am I reading too much into it? I might have to do a little investigating. Seeing lots of carrot cake-type things recently, though, I’ve had it on my mind and it led to me coming up with the perfect way to get your carrot cake fix without baking. In fact, hardly any effort at all and it gets better: these no-bake carrot cake energy bites are delicious and have lots of healthy ingredients in them. Plus there’s no refined sugar, they’re gluten free and easily made vegan. All you need are a few ingredients, a few minutes and a food processor.
Originally when I was thinking about doing a twist on carrot cake my mind was going off on all sorts of tangents (as can happen when I’m awake in the middle of the night thanks to the little one) but then as I was coming home from the store to try to work on something it struck me – why not make them super easy rather than more complicated? These energy bites are made with carrot, walnuts, oats and dates, along with a little cinnamon and ginger so you get a pretty good match to carrot cake flavors (you could easily add a little more spice if you like). The dates hold them together a bit, but there’s then coconut oil in there to help things along. All you do is grate the carrots, melt the coconut oil then put things in the food processor to break them up and bring them together. Scoop out little balls and roll them into bite-sized pieces of tastiness.
You could easily leave them just like this, but I thought a little carrot-cake-like topping might be nice too, so I made a very simple mix of cream cheese, maple syrup and Greek yogurt to be close to your traditional frosting but a bit healthier. Both the maple syrup and yogurt help thin and sweeten the mixture without being overly runny or sweet. Dab or pipe a little on top to make them both cute and a little fancier looking.
I took these along with us when we were meeting friends in the park earlier this week and they went down really well with everyone – toddlers and adults alike were asking for more. The adults were happy they were pretty healthy and tasty while the kids felt they were getting a cookie (no need to spoil the illusion!). I would have been cleared out of stocks in minutes if I hadn’t stopped my son from eating them all (in the hope he’d still eat his dinner OK), but given they’re both healthy and so quick to make, that’s totally fine. I will definitely be making more of these soon. Do give them a try – they’re verging on addictive but given everything in there, it really doesn’t matter. I’d say it’s an addiction to embrace! I’ll be whipping up a few batches and taking them with me to Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Natalie @ Kitchen, Uncorked and Hilda @ Along The Grapevine, Throwback Thursday, Foodie FriDIY and Saucy Saturdays.
- ¼ cup/ 25g quick/one minute oats
- ¼ cup/ 28g walnut pieces
- 2oz/60g carrot (1 medium)
- 2oz/60g pitted medjool dates
- ¼tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼tsp ground ginger
- 1tbsp coconut oil
- To top (optional)-
- 1½tbsp cream cheese (or vegan cream cheese for vegan version)
- 1tsp maple syrup
- 1tsp Greek yogurt (or omit for vegan version)
- Place the oats and walnuts in the food processor and pulse a few times until you get a coarse breadcrumb-like texture.
- Finely grate the carrot, break the dates into pieces and add both to the food processor along with the cinnamon and ginger. Pulse a few times to combine.
- Melt the coconut oil and allow it to cool slightly then add to the food processor, pulse to combine. Take small scoops of the mixture (I used my ½tbsp measure) and roll it in to balls, flattened slightly.
- For the topping, blend together the cream cheese, maple syrup and yogurt until well combined and smooth. Dab or pipe a little of the mixture on top of each of the energy bites. Store in the refrigerator - they should keep a few days (although I have only been able to test a day, they go too quick!).