Put a spin on your Easter celebrations with carrot cake swirled cream cheese bars, which are going to surprise and delight your guests!
Vegetable casseroles and carrot cake have been Easter menu mainstays for decades, but with the majority of millennials now hosting holiday family gatherings, retro dishes are getting a flavorful facelift with new ingredients and flavor twists.
Put a Twist on Easter Dinner!
Before we delve into this scrumptious recipe, Chef Kevan Vetter of the McCormick Kitchens is offering us some tips to put a new spin on Easter favorites:
1. Liven up the Easter ham with a spicy-sweet glaze of apricot jam, pineapple juice and chipotle chili pepper.
Brush on a spiral-cut ham before roasting in the oven.
2. Upgrade a traditional vegetable casserole by sprinkling a layer of cheddar cheese and topping with potato tots.
Bake until the tots are crisp and golden brown and the casserole is bubbly.
3. Combine two classic Easter desserts in one; swirl carrot cake batter into a smooth and creamy cheesecake base with a hint of lemon with the following recipe, offered by McCormick.
Bake and cut into bars.
Carrot Cake Swirled Cream Cheese Bars
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, divided
- 2 cups sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Ground Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Ground Nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs, divided
- 2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
- 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Lemon Extract
Directions for carrot cake bars:
Step 1: Preheat oven to 325°F.
Step 2: Mix 1 cup each of flour and sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl.
Step 3: Add oil, 2 eggs, vanilla extract and carrots; mix well.
Step 4: Spread 1/2 of the batter into greased and floured 13×9-inch baking pan. Reserve remaining batter. Set aside.
Step 5: Beat cream cheese and remaining 1 cup sugar in another large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
Step 6: Add milk, remaining 2 tablespoons flour and lemon extract; beat until well blended.
Step 7: Add remaining 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended.
Step 8: Drop spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture and reserved carrot cake batter, alternately, over carrot cake batter in pan.
Step 9: Cut through several times with knife for marble effect.
Step 10: Bake 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.
Find more inspiring recipes on Mommy Evolution!
Elevate your holiday meal with these creative updates to Easter classics. For more recipes and tips, check out McCormick.com.
And try these great baking cookbooks with lots of ideas for other dessert bars:
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