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Carrot Cake Cookies 

carrot cake cookies

I'm here to praise two things--carrot cake cookies and the CCP team I've been coaching for the last three months. Delicious, both.

If I saw this photo, I'd be wanting to hear about the cookies first. Exclamations! Pep rallies! Honor rolls! Trot out all the awards for these. They're better than carrot cake for several reasons--1)Surface Area Quotient. More edges to get chewy and a little bit crispy 2) Honeyed cream cheese with cardamom, more gently sweetened than your average, cloying cream cheese frosting 3) Handheld. No plate and fork necessary 4)"Special occasion" like a cake, but far less work. Biting into them, with their bits of toasted pecans and candied ginger and the frosting peeking out the sides, they stay perfectly intact. And they might help you forget for a minute that the Gulf is an oil slick  and city budget cuts threaten to shutter half of Seattle's parks before the year is over.


And Number Five: they're not cupcakes. Have I gone into my snotty cupcake rant? Ubiquitous, expensive, poor ratio of cake to frosting. If you're a Cupcake Lover, please keep on loving them. They're just not my thing.

Now, please stay around for this. As much as I eschew cupcakes, I love my CCP team. Six amazing people--2 grad students, 2 Organizational Development practitioners, a high school counselor and an IT professional--all coming together to help a local non-profit with mission and purpose. We've been meeting every Tuesday night since February, and they've done stellar work together. They've served the client, given hard feedback to each other, been extraordinarily faithful to their commitment, and taught me a whole lot about how great groups function. I'll miss our times together, and I look forward to knowing them for a long time.

I made these cookies for them. Some have become faithful readers of this blog, and I think they've been wondering, "Where's all this food she's been talking about?" Our meetings have been pretty austere--a bowl of chips on the coffee table, and lots of hard work. Have a cookie, Tuesday Titans. It's really the least I can do.

treats for titans

Carrot Cake Cookies
Adapted from Epicurious. You can sub raisins for the candied ginger, leave the spices out of the filling, throw in some coconut. And you could leave out the nuts, though that makes me sad. This recipe makes only a dozen cookies, so you'll need to double it if you're making them for a crowd. I strongly recommend using parchment paper to line your baking sheets, as these cookies stick. If you don't have parchment, make sure to generously butter your pans. And keep an eye on them as they cook to avoid overbaking.

1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely grated carrots (2 medium)
1 scant cup pecans (3 ounces), toasted and chopped
4 Tb. candied ginger chopped
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup honey
10 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed
Grating of fresh nutmeg

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 2 baking sheets (or line with parchment).

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

Beat together butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in carrots, nuts, and ginger at low speed, then add flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Drop 1 1/2 tablespoons batter per cookie 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are lightly browned and springy to the touch, 12 to 16 minutes total. Cool cookies on sheets on racks 1 minute, then transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.

While cookies are baking, blend cream cheese, honey, cardamom, and nutmeg in a food processor or mixer until smooth.

Sandwich flat sides of cookies together with a generous tablespoon of cream cheese filling in between. Makes one dozen.

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Reader Comments (45)

OMG these look amazing! I think I'm going to make them for Ryan's birthday this weekend! Shhhhhhh....

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKelsey

Your cookies look so yummy!

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

we must be on the same wavelength, because I was just going to make carrot cake cookie sandwiches.

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKamille

And Sarah about the cupcakes--because someone is sure to mention about it. When you say a poor ratio of cake to frosting--what do you mean? For me when it comes to cupcakes (specifically cupcake boutiques/shops), it's about them putting way too much frosting on the cupcake. My thought on cakes in general (or cupcakes) is the cake is the star, while the frosting adorns & brings it together. That's me though.

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKamille

You're going to think I'm insane, but I've been wanting to make carrot cake cookies- NOT cupcakes and I had a dream about doing so last night. Then today, I get on your blog that I love so much, and here they are! (I can hear the choirs singing!) These will be the perfect treat for my grad school classmates tonight- last day of school screams carrot cake cookie eating. Thank you!

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAli

I just learned about carrot cake cookies this Christmas & have poked that idea in the back of my head to return to (somebody on Facebook posted about making them, so I've just been obsessed with this idea as I never even tasted them!).

My boyfriend's b-day party is this weekend, and I'm definitely making a chocolate cake (Orangette's hearts-and-minds chocolate cake as it's a perfect b-day cake). I've been worrying though as I'm not sure how many people are coming over (it could be 8 of us or it could be 15 or ??), and the cake serves about 10 if you do small slices. I've been pondering a 2nd option just so everyone gets something (and maybe even some leftovers :).

I kept thinking about carrot cake or some kind of cookies, and now here you are with this! This would be the perfect amount to go with the cake. Hurray! (plus I LOVE cream cheese frosting & this sounds like a more sophisticated twist). Thanks!

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermaija

oh and peacs = pecans?

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermaija

=) Confirm - they were amazing. Thank you so much!!! (for more than the cookies!)

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAthena

....off to the store I go, no wonder all your frat groups love you so. I want a coach who brings me carrot cake cookies!

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermfm

Love these cookies. Great spices and I love the filling!

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

Wow, these look positively spectacular! I'm going to bookmark them. THanks for sharing this recipe.
*kisses* HH

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeavenly Housewife


These may replace the carrot cake cupcakes I make for my birthday every year!

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEm

I'm with you, Kamille. Cupcakes have too much frosting for me. And it's piled up in one place!

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersarahmk

Love your story about the dream, Ali. I put a lot of stock in my dreams and take them seriously.

Happy last day of school!

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersarahmk

Happy Birthday to your boyfriend, Maija! For the record, I've made Winnings Hearts and Mind cake stretch a lot further than ten people :)

Though I'm not trying to discourage you from making these delicious cookies...

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersarahmk

Good for you, Em! I think you might be my new best friend!

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Yes. I'm a measure-once-cut-twice kind of gal. That translates to lots of typos.

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersarahmk

Seriously, that may be my dream cookie. Yum yum yum.

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeth R&V

They look mouth-watering good.

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNoel

They were delicious!!! Trent raved and he's a carrot cake afficionado. He wanted to know how "deadly" they were. From the looks of the recipe, I'd call them "medium deadly." Add another stick of butter and then you're nearing the threshold. Why does he only ask that when he's staring at a pile of yummy crumbs?

Thanks for bringing your kindness and your kitchen into our lives!!

May 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

oh Sarah...we have carrots in the fridge...these look pretty darn good. :)

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeth DeK

These look great cannot wait to try!!

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRichard

um....YUM! i wonder how this fits into the "too much white flour and sugar" resoluation? *wink*

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbethany

Love love love..

May 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

omg must make this..thanks for the recipe

May 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMillenion

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