Carrot Cake Cookies

This delicious take on carrot cake is the perfect treat for your kiddos after school snack!

Carrot cake has carrots, so it’s technically a vegetable, #amiright? Seriously, though, I totally love carrot cake. When I was in culinary school, I was gifted the carrot cake recipe of the grandmother of my boss. And you know what I some point through the years, I lost the recipe. And I have never been able to recreate it. I’ve come close, but I haven’t gotten it just where I want it. I’ll keep trying, but in the meantime, I have several other options for carrot goodies, including these delicious carrot cake cookies!

My best friend from my culinary school internship actually provided me with the original recipe for these delicious carrot cake cookies. After a few tweaks, I’ve made them my own, and I love the result.

One of my favorite things about these cookies is that they are delicious with or without the icing. I could totally gobble them up on their own! Also, in all seriousness, they are loaded with carrots, pecans, and raisins, so while they are not a go-to healthy option, they are slightly more guilt free than some other dessert choices.

Some FAQ’s:

So what makes these cookies so special?

The texture is on point! It’s almost the texture of cake, but in the shape of the most perfect cookie.

Can these be made ahead of time?

They sure can! You can make the dough ahead of time and freeze it for up to a month, or you can bake the cookies ahead of time and freeze them that way too. I personally like to make cookie dough ahead of time, freeze the dough balls, and then bake a few at a time!

Can you make these dairy free?

I haven’t tested them with dairy free butter or cream cheese, but I’m sure it would be great!

Can these be made gluten free?

I used to have a vendetta against the 1 to 1 gluten free flour options, but they have come a long way! This one is my favorite, and while I haven’t tested this recipe with this option, I’m almost certain it would work well!

How do these come together?

Make the cookie dough. Place butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and well creamed, scraping down the bowl of the mixer as needed.

Next, add eggs, one at a time, until combined. Scrape down the bowl, and add the vanilla and mix until just combined. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, stir together the carrots, pecans, and raisins.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and mix on low until just combined. Scrape down the bowl, and add the carrot mixture. Mix on low until just combined. Remove from the mixer, and scrape the bottom of the bowl, ensuring the mixture is well combined.

Scoop the cookies. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and scoop cookies onto parchment paper, using a 2 TBSP sized scooper. Place the cookies in the freezer to harden for 1-2 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the cookies from the freezer, and place on parchment lined baking sheets, alternating rows, so the cookies are offset, creating 2 inches between each cookie dough ball.

Bake the cookies. Place the cookies in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Repeat with remaining cookies. Once the cookies are baked, let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

While the cookies bake, make the icing. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high until smooth and add the butter. Beat on high until well combined, and then add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix on low, just until the sugar is incorporated. Stop the mixer, and scrape down the bowl to ensure all the butter and cream cheese is incorporated. Turn the mixer on high, and let whip for 2-3 minutes, or until light, fluffy, and pipeable.

Remove from the mixer, and place in a piping bag. Cut the tip of the piping bag, about ½ inch up. Pipe frosting on the inside of half the cookies. Top the frosting with the other half of the cookies. Store in the refrigerator if not eating right away. Remove from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before serving.

ENJOY! And as always let me know what you think in the comments below and over on Instagram @sugarandsalt_co!