One recent weekend Neil and I were invited to a small gathering where the theme of the night was soup. The basic idea being that the hostess makes two or three varieties of soup to choose from, someone brings bread, someone else brings handheld nibbles, and we eat, drink, and are merry, then run outside into the cold New England evening to watch the annual Torchlight Parade (several towns trim their fire trucks out in Christmas lights and parade down the main thoroughfare).
Since bread had been accounted for, as had corn muffins, southern style red beans & rice, and three varieties of soup, I decided to bring cookies. While at lunch that afternoon Neil commented “I wish that there were such a thing as carrot cake cookies.” and it was decided that was what we’d make. What I did to create this recipe was look at existing carrot cake cookie recipes, then cross some of my favorite elements with our family recipe for carrot cake, which includes the likes of shredded coconut and fresh pineapple. The result was a chewy cookie with a creamy and not-too-sweet filling that was very well received by party-goers.
- 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup coarsely grated carrots (2 medium)
- 1/2 cup raisins (I like to use a variety: Thompson, red flame, and golden)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup fresh pineapple, diced (see note if using canned pineapple)
- 1/8 cup coconut flour
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1/4 cup honey
- zest of 1/2 a lemon
- Preheat your oven to 375 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment pape
- Whisk together flour, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, baking soda, and salt in a bow
- Beat together butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla until pale and fluff
- Mix in carrots, and raisins, shredded coconut and pineapple at a low speed, then add the flour mixture and beat until just combined
- At this point the dough will be a little too wet to scoop, so add in the 1/8 cup of coconut flour a little at a time until the dough just tightens up
- Drop walnut-sized balls of dough for each cookie cookie 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, about 12 minutes
- Pull the baking sheets out and flatten each cookie with a fork in a manner similar to that performed on a peanut butter cookie, then pop them back in the oven for 1 minute to finish
- Cool cookie sheets on racks for a minute, then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely
- While the cookies are baking, blend the cream cheese, honey and lemon zest until smooth
- Sandwich the flat sides of the cookies together with a generous helping of cream cheese filling
*Note: if using canned pineapple, your dough will be more wet. To offset this, add up to 1/4 cup coconut flour at the end to tighten it up to the appropriate consistency.
You could also add walnuts to the cookie dough for depth of flavor. A great alternative to cream cheese would be a soft goat cheese. Feel free to omit the lemon zest if it’s not to your liking.