spiced carrot cookies
On the very yellowed piece of paper that I found in a small envelope labeled ‘Opal’s Recipes’ (my Great Grandma Scheuer), was this ‘carrot cookie’ list of ingredients, as well as some extremely vague directions I’m-not-even-going-to-call-them-directions:
- cream together 3/4 c. shortening and 1 cup cooked carrots
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 2 c flour sifted with 2 Tbs baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup nut meats
- drop by spoonful and bake
- juice and grate 1 small orange. Add enough powdered sugar to spread. glaze cookies while they are still warm.
That’s it. That’s all I had. It was odd yet extremely liberating. I had room to play. Room to build the recipe from this foundation, and frankly, figure the foundation out as well.
I love playing with existing recipes just to see where swapping ingredients, and tweaking flavors will take me. I often end up in a joyous and comforting place and sometimes…not so much. I wanted the happy place. The place filled with cookie goodness. In order to get there I figured I had to kick this recipe up a bit. I added some spices, because really, spices will improve almost any carrot-y cake so I figured it would work for cookies, as well. I left out the nuts for two reasons: 1) The Baby has a peanut allergy, and I wanted her to be able to eat these, and 2) I plain ‘ole forgot them. What can I say? I sped ahead to the orange and powdered sugar glaze, and frankly, never looked back. This glaze is a thing of beauty. Like a bowl of melted creamsicle. It boosts the cinnamon and nutmeg and takes these cookies into a class of their own.
Carrot Cookies Recipe
Yield: 30-33 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Preheat oven to 350°. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together shortening, carrots and sugar until soft and slightly fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the egg and vanilla. Increase speed to medium and beat until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl, as needed.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. With the mixer on a low speed (so as to not create a cloud of flour all over your kitchen) gently add the flour mixture to the carrot mixture a little at a time. Gradually increase speed to medium until just mixed.
Using a tablespoon scoop, scoop and drop cookies onto the parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until cookies have set. They will remain soft and generally light in color. Transfer to a wire rack for glazing and cooling. Place wire rack on baking sheet or towel lined counter top to catch glaze drips. Gently spoon glaze over cookies while they are still warm from the oven. The glaze will be absorbed into the cookie. Don’t panic, this is what is supposed to happen.
Make the glaze: While the cookies are baking in the oven, make the glaze. Zest and juice a small orange. In a small bowl, mix zest and powdered sugar together. Slowly whisk in the melted butter. Gradually add orange juice until desired consistency is achieved. This should be a runny, yet slightly thickened glaze.