Carrot Cake Mix Cookie Bars are decadent dessert bars that are like magic cookie bars but with carrot cake. The moist carrot cake mix base is topped with pineapple, pecans, white chocolate chips, coconut, and a gooey layer of sweetened condensed milk cream cheese filling for a quick, easy dessert that carrot cake lovers will adore.
I'm kind of obsessed with 7-layer bars, magic bars, Hello Dolly bars … whatever you call them. So I turned a box of carrot cake mix into these easy carrot cake bars.
They have everything you'd find in a traditional carrot cake with cream cheese frosting AND a 7-layer bar -- and they're the best carrot cake bars ever!
These delicious carrot cake bars with cake mix are soft and gooey and filled with sweet and spicy flavors and tons of texture from the dried fruit, toasted coconut, and crunchy nuts.
So, next time you need an easy dessert recipe for the holidays, a bake sale, or to satisfy your sweet tooth, make a pan of these gooey cream cheese carrot cake bars.
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Carrot cake box mix. I have used both Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines cake mixes, and both work well in this carrot cake cookie bar recipe. Disregard the instructions on the back of the box of cake mix.
Butter. Use room temperature butter for this recipe. If you forget to take it out of the fridge, cut it into small cubes and let it sit out at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
Dried pineapple. Dried pineapple tastes delicious with carrot cake and adds chewy texture to these cookie bars. Cut it into small pieces for even distribution throughout the bars. If you can't find dried pineapple in the grocery store, you can order it at Amazon. Or substitute with your favorite dried fruit like raisins, golden raisins, dried cranberries, dates, dried apricots -- any kind of fruit you like in carrot cake.
Pecans. Any kind of nuts will work. I just like pecans :).
White chocolate chips. White chocolate adds buttery flavor and goes perfectly with the cream cheese sweetened condensed milk. Peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, or toffee bits would also be delicious.
Cream cheese. Use cream cheese from a block, not the kind in a tub.
Sweetened condensed milk. I always prefer Eagle Brand over store brands because it has a thicker consistency.
Sweetened coconut. I prefer to bake with Baker’s Angel Flake sweetened coconut because it’s so moist and tender. Store brand coconut tends to be dry.
How to Make Carrot Cake Bars with Cake Mix: Step-by-Step Instructions
Step 1: With a hand mixer or stand mixer, combine cake mix, egg, and softened butter in a large bowl until thoroughly combined into a thick batter.
Step 2: Pat the carrot cake batter evenly into a 9 x 13 pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. You may need to use the back of a silicone spatula sprayed with cooking spray or dip your fingers in water to get it to spread more easily into the baking pan.
Step 3: Layer pineapple, pecans, and white chocolate chips on top of the cake batter.
Step 4: In a medium bowl, whip the softened cream cheese at medium speed until it’s smooth and creamy. Add the can of sweetened condensed milk to cream cheese and mix until combined.
Step 5: Pour the cream cheese layer over the top. Carefully spread it, if necessary, to ensure even coverage over the layers.
Step 6: Place the coconut on top of the bars in an even layer. Use a fork to gently press it into the cream cheese mixture.
Step 7: Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until the coconut is golden brown. Place the baking dish on a wire rack to cool the cookie bars completely.
Step 8: Cut into small squares, serve, and enjoy!
- If the cake mix is too sticky to pat into the pan, dip your fingers in water or coat a spatula with cooking spray to help you out.
- Use room temperature butter and cream cheese when making these delicious bars.
- If the dried pineapple is in large chunks, chop it into small pieces.
Store leftover bars in an airtight container or in the pan covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.
Yes. Freeze carrot cake bars with cake mix in an airtight container with parchment paper or wax paper between the layers.
If you have a boxed cake mix in the pantry and are looking for a simple recipe idea, turn it into a 7-layer bar . Mix the cake mix with one egg and one stick of softened butter with an electric mixer and pat it into a pan. Top it with layers of chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, and sweetened condensed milk, and bake until golden brown.
Carrot cake typically has warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, so it’s fair to say that carrot cake is a type of spice cake. The folks at BonAppetit agree.
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Carrot Cake Mix Bar Cookies
- 1 box carrot cake mix
- 1 egg
- 1 stick butter, softened
- ½ cup dried pineapple, chopped
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups sweetened coconut
- Preheat the oven to 350. Spray 9 x 13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. I use a glass pan.
- With a hand mixer or stand mixer, combine cake mix, egg, and softened butter in a large bowl until thoroughly combined into a thick batter.
- Pat the cake mixture evenly into the prepared pan. You may need to use the back of a silicone spatula sprayed with cooking spray or dip your fingers in water to get it to spread more easily into the baking pan.
- In a medium bowl, whip the softened cream cheese at medium speed until it’s smooth and creamy. Add the can of sweetened condensed milk to cream cheese and mix until combined.
- Layer pineapple, pecans, and white chocolate chips on top of the cake batter.
- Pour the cream cheese layer over the top. Carefully spread it, if necessary, to ensure even coverage over the layers.
- Place the coconut on top in an even layer, pressing it gently into the cream cheese mixture.
- Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until the coconut is golden brown.
- Place the baking dish on a wire rack to cool the cookie bars completely. Cut into small squares, serve, and enjoy!
- Store leftover bars in an airtight container or in the pan covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator. You can also freeze them in an airtight container with parchment paper or wax paper between the layers.