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Frosted Zucchini Bars

"I grow tons of zucchini in my garden—and this is a wonderful way to share it," says green thumb Sandi Laskowski of Rapid City, South Dakota. "These moist tender bars are topped with a yummy caramel cream cheese frosting. When I bring a plateful of them to work, they're always a hit!"
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 25 min.
  • Makes
    18 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • CARAMEL CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
  • 10 caramels
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions

  • In a bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, oil, applesauce and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients; add to the egg mixture and mix well. Stir in zucchini, dates and walnuts. Spread into a 13x9-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  • In a saucepan, heat caramels and water over low heat until caramels are melted, stirring occasionally. In a bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Add caramel mixture and salt; mix well. Spread over cooled bars.
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