Calling all carrot cake fans! Now you can get your carrot cake fix in cookie form. Add whatever you love – from raisins to crystallized ginger to walnuts. For an extra special treat, top the cookies with a fluffy lemon cream cheese frosting.
Hi there, cookie fans. It’s been a while.
I’ve made my return to baking with a recipe that combines two of my favorite things: carrot cake and cookies.
Carrot cake. It sounds like such a snooze, but it’s one of my top three desserts (along with key lime pie and tiramisu). Now that I can get my carrot cake fix in cookie form, it’s the best of both worlds.
Before we go too far down the carrot cake cookie path, let’s talk about carrot cake add-ins. Are you a raisins person? Nuts? Something else entirely?
I can take or leave the raisins, but walnuts are a must. I also added some chopped, crystallized ginger as my “something else”.
I imagine most people don’t keep crystallized ginger in their pantry – I certainly didn’t before I started dedicating time to baking – but now it’s one of my favorite things. I love adding it to recipes, and a piece dipped in dark chocolate is the perfect sweet bite.
I usually buy crystallized ginger at a local spice shop, but it’s also available at Trader Joes and, because it’s 2019, Amazon.In this recipe, crystallized ginger adds a bit of warmth, a lot of flavor, and a chewy bit here and there.
If that does not sound appealing, perhaps considering adding a ½ cup of pineapple (well drained and patted dry!) or shredded coconut. Here are a few more things to keep in mind when baking these cookies:
Carrot Cake Cookies Recipe Notes
This recipe does not make a lot – only 16 cookies using a medium-size OXO cookie scoop. OXO says this size scoop yields cookies with 2 ¾” diameter, and my own baking confirms that’s accurate.
I grated my carrots on a fairly narrow shred – the same as the carrots that garnish the cookies. You could definitely go thicker or use a combination.
The cookie dough is a little on the thin side in spite of everything – carrots, walnuts, favorite add-ins – that you add to it. Just be sure to give it a stir to reincorporate all of the ingredients if your scoops start to get a little uneven.
The lemon cream cheese frosting is optional. Highly recommended, but optional. It provides a subtle lemon flavor that pairs perfectly with the crystallized ginger.
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, you will have some leftover frosting. You can store it in the fridge or use it to make another batch of cookies or cupcakes or whatever you please.
If you frost the cookies, you’ll want to store them in the refrigerator. The cookies will start to dry out after a day or two in the fridge, so keep that in mind when you are considering how many to frost at one time. Not that they’ll stay around that long, but just in case. Enjoy!
For the cookies
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup olive or canola oil
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup chopped candied ginger, optional
- ½ cup raisins, optional
For the frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 ounces (½ stick) butter, softened
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- Whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the carrots, milk, and oil.
- Gently pour these wet ingredients in the large bowl of dry ingredients and stir until combined.
- Gently fold in the walnuts and the raisins and/or crystallized ginger, if using. Despite stirring in these delicious add-ins, the dough will be somewhat thin.
- Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving an inch of space to account for spread.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until the cookies look just set.
- While the cookies cool, make the lemon cream cheese frosting.
- Place the cream cheese and butter together in a mixing bowl and beat on medium speed for 3-5 minutes. Don’t skimp on time here – you really want to get this mixture light and fluffy.
- Reduce speed to medium-low, slowly add in the confectioners’ sugar and mix until combined.
- Next add the lemon zest and 2 teaspoons of the lemon juice and mix until fully incorporated. If you need to adjust the consistency of your frosting, add a small amount of confectioners’ sugar or lemon juice.
Please take a couple of extra minutes and sift your confectioners’ sugar. Removing the lumps makes your frosting look so much nicer.
You can store the extra frosting in the refrigerator. Just set it out about 30 minutes before you are ready to frost your cookies.
Cookie recipe adapted from the Thug Kitchen cookbook.