Happy Valentine’s Day! I have a delicious present for you.
Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting! I was actually grateful to be snowed in for two days because it gave me a lot of time to play in the kitchen and to work on my book. On my “must buy at the grocery before the snow comes” list was chocolate chips, sugar, cream cheese, eggs and all the baking essentials. I spent quite a while searching through cook books, Pinterest boards and websites to decide what I wanted to bake. My original plan was some sort of cookies AND carrot cake cupcakes but then I realized that the one thing that I forgot to get at the store was butter and I had less that two sticks to work with so it was one or the other. I combined the two ideas and made these cookies.
I’m happy I had to compromise because these cookies are one of the best things I’ve EVER baked. When researching carrot cake cookie recipes, I was looking for something that was more like a cookie than cake. I am not a fan of cake texture cookies.
The texture of these cookies was exactly what I was looking for. They were chewy but still soft in the center and held up well to the frosting without falling apart.
The dough was basically like an oatmeal cookie with lots of extra add ins. Many of the recipes I found didn’t include oats but I thought they would be necessary to get the texture I was looking for. The process of preparing the dough was the same as your typical oatmeal cookie. I creamed together the butter and sugar and then added the egg and flour mixture and then slowly incorporated the oats and mix ins at the end. I love all the different tastes and textures in this cookie…crunchy walnuts, chewy coconut, plump golden raisins and of course the carrot to bring it all together. One thing I did that really made a difference with the raisins was to place them in a bowl, cover them with water and microwave for about a minute. It really gave them some volume and juiciness.
Many recipes I read had reviews that the cookies spread so I chilled the dough in the fridge for about an hour before baking. They still spread a little so it’s important to space them out well and not overcrowd your cookie sheets. Give it a good 2-3 inches between cookies.
I let the cookies cool completely before frosting them. The cookies would have been amazing without the frosting but if you have a chance to put some frosting on something…how can you say no!?
If you or your Valentine are carrot cake lovers you must bake these cookies. Enjoy!
FOR THE COOKIES
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup golden raisins (see note above about soaking raisins)
3/4 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
FOR THE FROSTING
2 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted (important so you don’t have lumps in your frosting!)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
FOR THE COOKIES
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, cream together butter and sugars for 2-3 minutes until lightened in color and fluffy. Do not cut this step short! Add the egg and the vanilla and keep mixing to combine. Turn off mixer and scrape down sides of the bowl before moving to next step.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Whisk to fully incorporate. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low until just combined. With the mixer still on low, add the oats, coconut, raisins, carrots and walnuts. Place dough in the refrigerator for an hour to set.
TO BAKE THE COOKIES
Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Scoop the dough into evenly sized mounds and place a couple inches apart on the cookie sheets. I used a tablespoon to scoop it out and rolled it into balls by hand. They were probably about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until set around the edges but still soft in the center. You may want to rotate your cookie sheets halfway through cooking or bake one sheet at a time to ensure even cooking. I usually go with one at a time. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack.
FOR THE FROSTING
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Once incorporated, slowly add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Keep mixing until light and fluffy.
Note: I had JUST enough icing with these ratios. If you want to really spread it on thick then I recommend doubling the frosting.
Yield: about 24 cookies