Bake Some Purple Carrot and Blueberry Bars for Prince’s Birthday
June 7 is Prince’s Birthday
I’m a Minneapolitan, and let me tell you, we all felt the loss when Prince left us too soon. He was our home town musical genius, rockstar, and part of our personal soundtracks since the 80’s. He was also a quiet philanthropist, sharing his wealth anonymously with a host of good causes in our state and the world. The Sexy M’F’er was also a plant-based organism.
I even interviewed to cook for Prince, back in the day.
Prince the Vegetarian
The Purple one was famously vegetarian, leaning toward vegan. After his passing, his private chefs gave a few interviews, and shared the broad strokes of what he liked to eat. Ray and Juell Roberts cooked for Prince for several years, and he treated them well.
I’ve known a few of Prince’s chefs over the years, and had heard that he was a plant-based eater. My own near-miss was several years ago, when his assistant called me to see if I would cook for him. We talked, but I had a steady gig, and the job was to go on a cross country tour with him, so I passed it on to others.
I sometimes wish I had gone, just to have the experience. But I was never good at being on call 24/7.
So, in his memory, I am posting this purple treat. He loved sweets, and the color purple. He might have thought his was a little too healthy, but it would be an energizing snack for someone who expended so much energy performing.
This bar is completely plant-based, relying on ground flax to provide the structure that eggs would in a conventional bar. Non-dairy milk and lemon juice provide the liquid, and enough acid to activate the baking soda. There are a few different varieties of purple carrots, some are just purple on the outside, while some are purple all the way through. Either way, they add an antioxidant-rich purple hue to the bars.
Whole Grains, Fresh Flour
I used my favorite freshly ground, locally grown flour from Baker’s Field Flour and Bread. It’s a flavorful, whole grain flour that hasn’t been sitting in a warehouse for months, losing nutrients. I know you might not be able to get a locally ground flour, so you can always use whole wheat pastry flour.
For a final flourish, I whipped up an easy “cream cheese” frosting that makes just enough to cover it lightly. If you want a thicker layer, just double it. I used Miyoko’s non-dairy cream cheese, but you can use your fave, or even dairy cream cheese.
The violets from my yard give it a sweet little kiss of color.
Happy Birthday, Prince, wherever you are. We’ll keep playing your music.
Purple Carrot and Blueberry Bars
These moist bars will disappear as soon as you put them out on a plate. With sweet berries and just enough creamy frosting, they pack a veggie punch in a cookie package.
- 1 cup shredded purple carrots
- 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
- 3/4 cup raw sugar
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk plain
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 11/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
- 4 ounces non-dairy cream cheese
- 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Lightly oil a 9-inch square baking pan, and preheat the oven to 350 F.
Shred the carrots and reserve. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut oil and raw sugar and stir. In a cup, mix the non-dairy milk with the flax, lemon and vanilla, let stand for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, ginger, baking soda and salt, and whisk to mix.
Stir the milk mixture into the sugar mixture, then stir quickly into the flour mixture. Don't over-mix. Fold in the berries and spread in the prepared baking pan.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bars comes out with no wet batter attached.
Cool on a rack. For frosting, place the cream cheese in a food processor and puree, stopping to scrape down a few times and repeating until the cheese is creamy and has no lumps. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and process, stopping to scrape down as needed. Spread over cooled bars.
Refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to a week.