It is the end of February — the time of year when Minnesotans’ thoughts turn longingly to seeds, gardens, and produce. I was in just this sort of funk coupled with an itch to bake something when I came across Janet Ballantyne’s Desserts from the Garden in the Kirschner Collection. This book has recipes from the expected (strawberry tart), to the very unique and intriguing (green tomato chocolate cake). I decided to try out the carrot chocolate chip bars since I had nearly everything on hand. They’re a very dense, not-too-sweet bar and the carrot gives just a hint of what lies ahead.
Carrot Chocolate Chip Bars
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups grated raw carrots
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°
Cream together the peanut butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix well with the peanut butter mixture. Stir in the carrots and the chocolate chips. Butter a 9″ x 13″ pan. Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 40 minutes, cool completely, and cut in squares.
By Desserts from the Garden by Janet Ballantyne, 1983