If I had been a little more on my game, I would have done these before Easter, so that you could be all seasonal and have them on Easter if you wanted, but…it’s not like carrot cake ever goes out of fashion.
It does, however, usually have one huge drawback, and I say this as a person who loves cake: carrot cakes are, for the most part, monstrously huge. They are often three-layer affairs with frosting slabbed on top, and frosting carrots, and oh my stars and whiskers, it’s just too much. These cookies allow you to enjoy carrot cake on a much smaller and more reasonable scale. Since this recipe comes from Cooking Light, that’s no surprise.
- 2 cups shredded carrot
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 4.5 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
A couple notes on the above: I got two medium sized carrots and they worked out to two cups. I also substituted applesauce for the oil, because I hate baking with oil. Adding that fat bothers me, but applesauce is an ideal substitute. I also subbed allspice for cinnamon, as cinnamon and I are still on a break. Mix up your spices as you will!
Preheat your oven to 350.
Grate your carrots. Take 3 tablespoons of the brown sugar and mix it into the grated carrots. Set this mixture in a mesh sieve, and allow to drain the liquid for at least 10 minutes. I also pressed mine to get more liquid out — there may be a lot. Cooking Light suggests macerating the carrots is to “tenderize” them, but if you have a fine grater…you aren’t going to have tough pieces of carrot. Mostly, you want that liquid out so you don’t end up with a mushy cookie. You won’t use this liquid in the recipe.
In a small bowl, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the vanilla, oil (or applesauce), orange rind, and egg. Whisk until blended. Mix your dry ingredients in a medium bowl (flour, the rest of your brown sugar, spices, salt, soda), and add the carrots and wet ingredients. Mix!
The original recipe says to line your baking sheet with parchment. I used my silicone pad. Either way, I suspect these would stick easily if you use a plain sheet. You are aiming for a 2″ diameter cookie, so drop your dough by spoonfuls and then flatten them out a little. These cookies will not spread, I got 12 safely on two sheets.
Bake for 11 minutes. When you take them out, you’re going to look at them and think “oh my gosh what.” They are strangely cakelike. Do not be alarmed. Let them cool on a wire rack until they are not hot at all.
And then? Cream cheese frosting, duh!
- 4 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 tablespoons of butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
With your fats at room temp, you really don’t need a mixer for this. I used a bowl and fork. When your cookies are totally cool, sandwich them together.
The cookies are super cakey, not cookie-like at all. I put mine in the fridge overnight, concerned about leaving the cream cheese filling out, but this has resulted in very sticky cookies. The stickiness seems to vanish as they come back to room temperature, but I’m not sure I would fridge them again.