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Healthy Dessert: Pumpkin-Carrot Bars With Cream Cheese

Bake Up a Batch of Lightened-Up Pumpkin Bars With Cream Cheese Frosting

Low in calories while remaining full of flavor, these pumpkin bars make a great dessert — perfect for potlucks (much easier to share with large groups than pies) and relatively guilt-free. The bit of cream cheese frosting adds a deceptive element of decadence, but a single serving only contains 71 calories and 1.7 grams of fat. These bars are high in vitamin A — and trust me, you cannot even taste the shredded carrot. With nutritional stats like that, it's OK to go back for seconds.

Photo: Lizzie Fuhr

Pumpkin-Carrot Bars With Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup Earth Balance (or other butter substitute)
2 eggs
2 large egg whites
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin pie filling
2/3 cup finely shredded carrot

Cream cheese topping:
4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon skim milk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 15 x 10 inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. In a larger bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the sugar, brown sugar, and Earth Balance until crumbly. Add the eggs, egg whites, pumpkin pie filling, and carrots. Beat until well blended.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix until well blended. Spread onto greased pan.
  5. To prepare cream cheese topping, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and milk until thoroughly blended.
  6. Drop teaspoons full of topping over pumpkin batter and swirl and cut mixture into batter with a butter knife.
  7. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pan completely on wire rack before cutting into squares.
  9. Makes 48 squares.


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