Carrot Cake Cookies
My dad’s birthday rolls around every April and because he likes dessert almost as much as I do, I usually like to bake something special for him when I visit. In the past I’ve made chocolate cupcakes and chocolate boston cream pie, so this year I decided to do something a little different.
Aside from chocolate, my dad really likes carrot cake. Carrot cake isn’t usually something that gets me drooling, but hey, not my birthday. The only hitch was that a carrot cake would not hold up well the long car ride to my parents’ house. That’s when I remembered a recipe for carrot cake cookies I saw in a magazine a few years ago. Perfect!
And oh, they were. Two-bite sized soft, cake-y cookies flecked with sweet carrots, chewy raisins and aromatic cinnamon. The original recipe called for sandwiching two cookies together with a dollop of cream cheese frosting. They’re good (if not messy) that way, but I found I preferred to eat them one at a time with a generous smear of frosting on top for a better cake to frosting ratio.
And eat them I did. For breakfast. As an afternoon snack. After dinner for dessert. I don’t even love carrot cake and I couldn’t stop eating them! I kind of forgot that they weren’t for me. Oops.
Carrot Cake Cookies
Adapted from Gourmet
Makes about 24 cookies (12 filled cookie sandwiches)
I don’t recommend using pre-shredded carrots. Freshly grated carrots have more moisture which I think is important to the cookie’s final texture. Chilling the dough before baking keeps the cookies from spreading too much in the oven. Don’t be afraid to bake these a day ahead – I thought the cookies had more flavor the day after they were baked.
3/4 cup golden raisins (2 1/2 ounces)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
pinch of cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 + 3 tablespoons cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup finely grated carrots (2 medium or 4 small)
1 cup walnuts (3 ounces), chopped
8 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Place raisins in a small bowl and add enough hot water to cover. Set aside for 5-10 minutes, then drain thoroughly and pat dry.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, spices, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, sugars, egg and vanilla until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in carrots, walnuts and raisins (drained!) on low speed. Add flour mixture and beat just until combined. Set dough in refrigerator to chill for 15-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper.
Working with one baking sheet at a time, drop 1 1/2 Tablespoons of dough per cookie onto baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake each sheet separately, 13-15 minutes or until centers spring back to the touch. Cool on pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, pulse cream cheese and butter in a food processor, scraping down sides with a spatula as needed, until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, and pulse until combined.
If making ahead, store cookies at room temperature and frosting in refrigerator. Frost cookies before serving.