I was born in the early 70’s when Carrot Cakes were the hottest trending dessert in every dinner, café & restaurant. All I know is that no matter what new fad comes and goes in the dessert world, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting will always be in the top 5 , of all time favorite dessert food category.
Interestingly enough carrots cake has been around since the medieval times, when carrots where used as the primary source of added sweetness to dessert confections. Sugar was a rare commodity and carrots one of the only vegetables (other than beets) that have a high natural sweet sugar content, were easily available and used regularly in place of sugar in those days. However carrot cake as we know it today, was only really introduced to the American dessert menu in the early 60’s.
The first thing I did when putting together my cafés menu before we ever opened our doors, was to make sure I had the perfect carrot cake recipe. It was one of the 5 desserts we first featured on our small menu, and was sold out every day. A few years later, while I was playing around in the kitchen, it suddenly occurred to me to make a cookie out of the carrot batter. Who wouldn’t love a carrot cake cookie that you can dip into your milk?
After some experimentation and discovery of a similar idea and recipe in an obscure cookbook my mother had, I had perfected what I call the Spiced Carrot Cake Cookie. I love this cookie not only because it is the perfect combination of savory spice flavor with the generous use of cinnamon & nutmeg it perfectly accompanies the subtle sweet carrot, raisin & coconut filled cookie.With every bite, there is another burst of texture and taste that just makes your taste buds do a happy little jig.
But I warn you all, once you start making these cookies, it is very hard to stop nibbling on them. Personally there is nothing I love more than eating these hot out of the oven with a tall glass of cold milk. Thankfully as far as cookies go, these are quite healthful. Who says you can’t have your vegetables in a cookie form?
Have a Great Monday!
FYI: Just the other day I had to make about 12 dozen of these babies along with many other Thanksgiving type pastries for a huge order that I had to fill. My house was filled with warm aromatic flavors from these spice cookies all day, and my assistant Johanna and I were giddy from taste testing these delicious cookies all day. Not a bad way to spend a rainy Thursday working I say!
Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies
Tips: these are great freezer cookies and will last for up to 3 months
Tips: The key to this cookie is to really not over bake them – set your timer for this cookie and even though it will look under baked – take them out when the buzzer goes off! They will harden up slightly when cooling – but the best thing about this cookies is its soft and chewy texture.
tip: this recipe makes about 5 dz cookies 12 1/2 inch drop cookies – feel free to half recipe.
2 cup raisins
3 large carrots, wash & peeled and shredded in a food processor
3/4 cup orange juice
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground all spice
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. finely grated lemon or orange zest
heaping 1/2 tsp. of kosher salt
1 1/2 cups of packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups of corn oil
2 large eggs
3 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup toasted shredded coconut
Pre heat oven to 350 F. Prepare several baking sheets that have been coated with non-stick spray.
In a large sauce pan over medium-high heat, stir together the raisins, carrots, and orange juice. Bring everything to a simmer all while occasionally stirring. Cook for about 4-5 minutes and then remove from stove and set aside.
In a separate mixer bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, all spice, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.
Once the carrot mixture has cooled, transfer it to a large mixing bowl and add the sugar and oil. Using a rubber spatula, stir the carrot mixture well until fully blended. Then add the eggs, zest, and vanilla and stir again until evenly incorporated.
Now slowly add this wet mixture into your dry flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in the walnuts and shredded coconut.
Drop the dough by the heaping spoonful on to the prepared baking sheets. Note, these cookies really spread when cooking, so leave a nice space about 2 1/2 inches between each cookie drop.
Bake the cookies in the middle of the oven for about 10-11 minutes. Rotate cookie sheet once halfway through baking. the cookies are done when they are lightly tinged brown around the edges and firm when pressed in the center. Transfer cookie sheet to a wire rack and let them stand and cool for at least 10 minutes, they will firm up while cooling.
Store in airtight container.