Chewy Carrot Cake Cookies with warm spices, freshly grated carrots, a hint of vanilla and rich butter. Topped with classic cream cheese frosting made with butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Make for Easter and springtime holidays.
When I think of springtime, carrot cake always comes to mind. I love the simplicity of the cake. Freshly grated carrots, aromatic spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Then, there’s the frosting. Carrot cake needs a silky smooth and tangy cream cheese frosting. In this case, I’ve swapped the cake out for chewy Carrot Cake Cookies and frosted it with a rich cream cheese frosting.
As a baker, it’s important to play around with recipes. What I like about this recipe is that it incorporates shredded that are then drained. The cookies go through a simple process to remove excess moisture. The result, a chewy cookie instead of a “cake-y” cookie.
A simple sugar and salt mixture will drain excess liquid from the carrots. Since the carrots are getting a light bath in the salt, the cookie batter will not need salt later.
The process also ensures that the cookie batter won’t flatten much while baking due to that extra liquid. Of course, I’ve included a few tips in the notes section of the recipe, in case this does happen to the batter.
The cookie dough doesn’t necessarily need a mixer to be made. Although, I think it’s faster to whip the dough up, a simple spatula or wooden spoon will do. It’s important to remember that the dough is only getting mixed until the ingredients are incorporated.
You’ll want to use a cookie scoop or tablespoon measurement to evenly measure the cookie dough. I use a 1 + 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop to make my cookies. Use whatever you have and adjust the baking time.
If the first batch of cookies come out sort of flat, fold in a tablespoon of flour at a time. While baking, I like to remove the cookies while they still have that pillow center. The cookies will be chewier the following day if the ends to get a little crisped.
Every oven is different. Since moving in February, I’ve noticed a difference in my cookies and bake time. Monitor the dough throughout the baking process. Don’t be afraid to add more liquid if the batter is clumpy or flour if it’s too runny.
Carrot Cake Cookies
For the Carrots
- 12 ounces carrots , peeled and shredded (2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Cookie Dough
- 2 cups all-purpose flour + plus more if needed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
For the Frosting
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
- 1 + 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
- 6 ounces cream cheese , cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- Peel carrots and grate them on a cheese grater. In a medium bowl, toss carrots with 1 teaspoon sugar + 1/2 teaspoon salt. Allow carrots to sit for 30 minutes. This step will remove extra liquid to ensure a chewy center. Place carrots in center of dish towel or use hands to wring extra liquid out. Liquid should amount to at least 1/4 cup, mine was 1/3 cup; set liquid aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a bowl fit with a mixer, combine melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg and egg yolk and vanilla extract. Beat until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Mix just until combined.
- Slowly beat/stir in drained carrots and nuts.
- **If mixture is too clumpy and dry, fold in a tablespoon at a time of carrot juice.
- **If mixture is too wet, fold in a tablespoon of flour at a time.
- Scoop about 1 + 1/2 tablespoon - 2 tablespoons cookie dough onto baking sheet. Bake in oven for 16-19 minutes. *See notes if first batch of cookies are flat.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes. Place on cookie rack to cool.
To make the frosting
- Beat softened butter and confectioners' sugar for 3-5 minutes. Beat in 1/4 softened cream cheese at a time. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat for an additional 2 minuets.
- Frost each cookie and top with chopped pecans or walnuts.
**Carrots can be drained with a dishtowel or by squeezing between clean hands. Reserve liquid for later, if needed.
***Melted and cooled butter refers to butter that is melted and slightly cooled. It should read between 85-95 degrees F.
******If mixture is too clumpy and dry, fold in a tablespoon at a time of carrot juice. Alternatively, if mixture is too wet, fold in a tablespoon of flour at a time.
NOTE - If cookies come out flat, bake for less time or add more flour!