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.