Carrot cake lovers, here it is: your favorite cake is even better transformed into a cookie! Although you usually have to wait until Easter to taste a slice of hazelnut carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, now you can get your fix anytime of the year with ease! And the best part is that these delicious cookies can be baked and frozen, so you can fill up quickly whenever the craving strikes!
Where does carrot cake come from?
Rich in natural sugars, carrots were often used in desserts and baked goods in England during World War II when sugar was rationed. American bakers quickly caught on, and carrot cake became a hugely popular wedding cake in the 1970s.
Can you use pre-grated carrots in this recipe?
While it might be tempting to grab a bag of pre-shredded carrots, we recommend grating fresh carrots for these cookies! Grated fresh carrots have a higher water content and will result in more moist and tender cookies. To make grating the carrots easier, use a food processor with the grating blade attached. Alternatively, grate the carrots over the small holes in your box grater.
Can you make carrot cake cookies ahead of time?
You bet! Cookies can be baked, cooled and frozen in a Ziploc freezer bag for up to one month, then thawed for two hours. Top with icing and toasted nuts or jimmy orange chips just before serving.
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For the cookies:
salted butter, softened
large eggs, at room temperature
all purpose flour
finely grated fresh carrots (from about 6 medium carrots)
crushed roasted nuts
For the icing:
cream cheese, softened
unsalted butter, softened
Orange jimmy nuggets or chopped toasted walnuts, for sprinkling
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- For the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350° with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper; put aside.
- Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until well blended, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl if necessary.
- Whisk together flour, cinnamon, ground ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture with mixer on low. Beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Stir in carrots and nuts.
- Drop spoonfuls (about 2 tablespoons each) of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets using a 1 3/4-inch cookie scoop, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake two pans at a time, rotating halfway through, until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool the cookies on the molds for 3 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
- For the frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add powdered sugar and vanilla with mixer on low speed, beating until combined. Increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Drop a dollop of frosting on top of each cookie and spread it all over the top. Sprinkle with orange jimmy chips or chopped toasted walnuts, if desired.
Unfrosted Carrot Cake Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Top with frosting and nuts or sprinkles just before serving.
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