But the deciding factor? The baby food carrots.
Exciting? No, not really, unless you're itching to test out a new baby food maker that has been sitting in your closet for months and when you just realized it will still be another 8 months before baby is born and is eating some solid food. Yes, I'm a little weird to be so excited about pureeing food, but a kitchen gadget is a kitchen gadget and I love them all. (Verdict on the baby food maker: awesome.)
I had a definite idea of what I wanted in my carrot cheesecake before I started trying recipes. For one, cheesecake always seems less intimidating to me in bar form, plus it is easier to share the calories that way, so I definitely wanted bars. Second, I wanted the cheesecake to have the depth of flavor, color and sweetness from real carrots, so that is where the baby food carrots and freshly grated carrots come in. Third, I feel like pecans and carrot cake go hand in hand so I made sure there were pecans incorporated into the crust.
The final carrot cheesecake bars are just amazing. They remind me of a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting all rolled into one. And not as messy. The pecans give them just enough crunchy texture, and the spices are well balanced with the carrot flavor. Though the ingredient list looks long for the cheesecake layer, it is quick to put together (especially if you aren't making your own baby food carrots) and makes a large batch that is easy to share. If you are a carrot cake fan, you will love these bars. If you are cheesecake fan, you will love them, too. And chances are that if you love both, are almost 8 months pregnant and want to use a new baby food maker, you'll think you just about died and went to heaven.