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Frosted Carrot Cake Cookies with Pecans
Everything we love about Carrot Cake in cookie form!
Carrot Cake Cookies have a nice soft and chewy texture from the old-fashioned oats, raisins and shredded carrots. They’re also well spiced with plenty of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Toasted pecans add a nice bite, especially on top of the luscious and rich cream cheese frosting.
This recipe was originally based on our deliciously successful Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies. While neither recipe tastes exactly like a classic Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, there’s an unforgettable chewiness and terrific texture you’ll recognize.
Overview of ingredients:
For the cookie dough:
- old-fashioned oats – for great texture and chewiness
- quick oats
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- baking soda
- cloves (optional)
- unsalted butter at room temperature
- light brown sugar
- granulated sugar
- egg at room temperature
- vanilla extract
- coconut extract – optional but highly recommended
- shredded carrots – shredded on the small side of a large box grater
- golden raisins
- toasted pecans or walnuts – use pecans as a garnish, whole or chopped, or add them to the cookie dough with the raisins
For the cream cheese frosting:
- unsalted butter, room temperature
- cream cheese, room temperature
- powdered sugar
- milk or cream if needed for desired consistency
Overview: how to make Carrot Cake Cookies
For the cookie dough:
First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat and set aside.
Next combine the dry ingredients: oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, coconut extract and shredded carrots.
Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just until blended. Fold in the raisins.
Chill the dough for 30 minutes. This step is optional, but recommended. If you don’t chill the dough, the cookies will spread just a little more and the dough will more sticky when rolling.
Roll into balls and bake on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
To make the cream cheese frosting:
Beat the butter and cream cheese together until blended. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla beating until combined and smooth.
Spread frosting on top of each cookie. Top with chopped or whole pecan halves. Refrigerate to set the icing.
Serve and enjoy!
Honestly, these cookies are great without frosting. So if you’re not in the mood, don’t worry about it! However, if you want the full Carrot Cake experience, smear on some cream cheese frosting and a sprinkle of pecans. That’s my favorite way to enjoy the cookies.
I like to sprinkle pecans on top because once chilled and set, you can stack the cookies between sheets of wax or parchment paper for storing. And I love the flavor of toasted pecans in, or on, these cookies. The combination of textures from the cookie, frosting, and pecans is perfection.
For a visual cue, pipe tiny carrots on top using some of the frosting tinted orange and green. These are great for Easter, too.
We love hiding vegetables in our dessert!
Shredded carrots are a terrific addition to many desserts. They’re naturally sweet and have a terrific texture, even after being baked.
Both pineapple and carrots are the stars of our Carrot Loaf Cake. Such a simple but delicious treat that comes together in minutes. Make two loaves and freeze one to enjoy later!
And don’t forget to try this recipe for Carrot Cake from America’s Test Kitchen. It’s a stunning showstopper and easy to make, too. Everybody loves a good, moist Carrot Cake!
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Carrot Cake Cookies
For the cookie dough:
- ½ cup old-fashioned oats (50g)
- ½ cup quick oats (50g)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (135g)
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (113g or 8 tablespoons)
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed (115g)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (45g)
- 1 large egg room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon coconut extract, optional
- 1 cup finely shredded carrots not packed (90g) about 2 medium carrots
- ½ cup golden raisins (90g)
- ½ cup toasted chopped pecans for garnish
For the frosting:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature (1 ½oz)
- 3 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- ¾ cup powdered sugar (93g)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- pinch of salt
- Garnish with additional toasted pecans or decorate with tinted frosting piped into carrots
To prepare the cookie dough:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter and the sugars together until fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, coconut extract and carrots to the butter mixture. Beat on medium until blended. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat again until well mixed.
- Add ½ of the oat mixture to the creamed butter and carrot mixture. Mix on low speed just until blended. Repeat and blend until all oats are incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and blend one more time to ensure all the flour and oats are incorporated. Fold in the raisins.
- Chill the dough for 30 minutes while preheating the oven. This step is optional, but recommended. The cookies won’t spread as much if the dough is chilled first.
- Using a cookie scoop, roll the dough into 1 ½-tablespoon balls and place on the prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until the bottoms just begin to brown. Do not overbake. The cookies will flatten out a bit as they cool.
- Allow the cookies to rest for 5 minutes then remove to a rack to cool completely.
To prepare the frosting:
- Beat the butter and cream cheese together until blended. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium until combined. Add 1 teaspoon of milk, if needed for desired consistency. Spread 1 teaspoon frosting on top of each cooled cookies. Immediately sprinkle with chopped pecans, one pecan half or decorate as desired.
- Refrigerate the cookies in a single layer.
- You don’t have to chill the dough before baking. However the cookies will spread just a little more and the dough will more sticky when rolling.
- Store the cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Without frosting the cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Once iced, the cookies will soften a bit over time.
- For good chewiness we prefer the combination of old-fashioned and quick oats. If using all old-fashioned or all quick oats, the texture may be slightly different. Without any old-fashioned oats the cookies will be less chewy.
- The chopped pecans can be added to the cookie dough at the same time as the raisins or used as a garnish
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