cookies/ Dessert/ Easter

Carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frosting

30 March 2021 | Last Updated: 31 March 2021 By Aleksandra

These delicious carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frosting are a must-have Easter dessert! They are thick, soft, chewy, filled with lots of carrots, crunchy nuts, oats, and flavored with cinnamon. Cream cheese frosting takes them over the top! They taste like my favorite carrot cake in portable form, but are so much easier and quicker to make!

Carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frosting on a piece of parchment paper, topped with marzipan carrots and walnuts.

Ingredients:

Here’s what you need for carrot cake cookies:

  • Granulated sugar and light brown sugar – they can’t be used interchangeably. There is more brown sugar than granulated sugar in those cookies to make them thicker and provide a great flavor that pairs well with carrots.
  • Carrots – it’s important to use fresh carrots, not pre-grated packaged carrots that are too dry and have less flavor. Grate them on the small holes of a box grater, not the big holes – this way they provide great flavor and moisture to the cookies, but are not noticeable.
  • Oats – use rolled oats, not smaller instant/quick oats. Oats add structure and chewiness to the cookies.
  • Walnuts – provide great crunch, structure, and flavor! I love my carrot cake with nuts, so I also add them to my carrot cookies. You can use other nuts instead, like pecans. You can also omit them but then add more oats. You could also add raisins instead of nuts.
  • Flavorings: vanilla and cinnamon. You could also add other spices like a big pinch of nutmeg, cloves, and allspice.
  • Basic cookie ingredients: butter, flour, baking soda, salt (it’s used so that the cookies don’t taste flat!), egg.
Labeled ingredients for carrot cake cookies.

Here’s what you need for cream cheese frosting:

  • Cream cheese – use cream cheese in a block not spreadable cheese in an oval package (the former is thicker).
  • Butter
  • Powdered sugar.

This cream cheese frosting is not overly sweet! If you’d like it sweeter, go ahead and add more powdered sugar. Usually, you need to add lots of sugar to your frosting, otherwise, it’s runny. The key to a lightly sweetened frosting that is also thick, is creaming butter with powdered sugar first, and just then adding cream cheese!

I also tried making these cookies with cream cheese icing and they were SO MUCH better with cream cheese frosting!!

What is the difference between cream cheese icing and cream cheese frosting?

Cream cheese icing is made with powdered sugar, cream cheese, and milk, but there is more sugar and less cream cheese in comparison to the frosting (also, no butter).

You could also omit the frosting but why? It’s, so good, please make them with frosting!

Labeled ingredients for cream cheese frosting.

Some important notes before you start:

Room temperature butter – it’s important for baking cookies. Cold butter won’t properly combine with the other ingredients and too soft butter will make the cookies spread too much while baking.

What is room temperature butter: when you press it with your finger, it should make an indent, but your finger should not slide all the way down. It’s also slightly cold to the touch.

How to quickly soften butter: I usually cut butter into small cubes and leave it on the counter for 10-15 minutes, it’s usually enough. Another option is to beat the butter with the mixer for about 1-2 minutes, then wait about 5 minutes.

How to measure flour: if you will use a kitchen scale to measure out all the ingredients, it all goes easy breezy! But if you’re using measuring cups, remember that 1 cup of flour can weigh 120-150g, depending on how you’re filling your cup. Don’t scoop the flour directly into the measuring cup, which can compact it! 1 cup of flour in my recipes weighs 125g. To correctly measure the flour, you need to:

  1. Fluff the flour by stirring it in the bag/flour container with a spoon.
  2. Spoon the flour and sprinkle it into your measuring cup.
  3. Sweep off the excess flour with the back of a knife.

How to make carrot cake cookies step by step:

Scroll down for printable recipe card and ingredient list.

Start with preheating your oven to 350°F / 180°C / Gas Mark 4, no fan (if you have a convection/fan oven reduce the temperature by about 20° or follow the manufacturer’s instructions).

Sugar and butter in a bowl. Creamed sugar with butter and egg in a bowl. Creamed butter, sugar, and egg in a bowl.

STEP 1 (photo 1): Add both types of sugar and room temperature butter into a mixing bowl.

STEP 2 (photo 2): Beat for about 1-2 minutes until well-combined. You can use a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle-shaped attachment. Add the egg and vanilla extract.

STEP 3 (photo 3): Beat for 1-2 minutes or until well-combined.

Flour with spices in a bowl. Flour added to creamed butter with sugar and egg. Half-combined cookie batter.

STEP 4 (photo 4): Stir flour with baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.

STEP 5 (photo 5): Add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl.

STEP 6 (photo 6): Mix over low speed until half-combined (the flour shouldn’t be fully incorporated at this point).

Oats, carrots, and walnuts in a bowl. Carrot cake cookies batter in a bowl. Balls of cookie batter on a parchment paper.

STEP 7: Roughly chop walnuts, peel the carrots, and grate them on the small holes of a box grater.

STEP 8 (photo 7): Add oats, grated carrots, and chopped nuts to the cookie batter. Mix over low speed until evenly distributed. Don’t mix the cookie dough for too long (photo 8).

STEP 9 (photo 9): Scoop the dough with a 2-tablespoon scoop (each cookie dough ball should weigh about 35g, they should be rather small!) and place about 2-inches (5 cm) apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

STEP 10: Bake the cookies in batches for about 15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden and the tops just very slightly golden (the cookies should be soft! – they will finish baking on the baking sheet). Leave the cookies for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a cooling rack using a spatula.

Butter and powdered sugar in a white bowl. Creamed butter and sugar in a bowl. Cream cheese frosting on a rose spatula.

STEP 11: Make the cream cheese frosting: Beat the butter and powdered sugar with a mixer (photo 10+11) (fitted with a whisk attachment), for about 2-3 minutes, until fluffy (it will look crumbly at first, but just beat it until it’s creamy). Add the cream cheese and mix until the frosting is smooth and fluffy (photo 12). The order of adding ingredients is important!

When the cookies are completely cooled, spread the frosting over them.

Enjoy!

Carrot cake cookies on a piece of parchment paper, topped with marzipan carrots and walnuts.

Storage and freezing instructions:

Storage

These cookies taste best on the day of baking them but they are also very good the next day (although a little bit softer). They are good for about 3 days (maybe longer, but I haven’t tested that, I think they will be completely soft). Store them in a tightly closed container or on a plate covered with plastic foil.

If you have a lot to prepare for Easter you can make them 1 day ahead.

You can store the cookies and the frosting separately or you can store frosted cookies. Frosted cookies are a little bit softer and denser (but in a good way), frosting softens them.

You can store the cookies without frosting at room temperature, but store frosted cookies in the fridge. The frosting will firm up when chilled so you need to take the cookies about 1 hour from the fridge before enjoying them.

You can store the frosting for up to 3 days in the fridge.

You can store cookie dough in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Freezing

I haven’t frozen these particular cookies but based on my experience with freezing cookies and freezing carrot cake with cream cheese frosting I can tell you that:

  • cookie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months, bake it straight from the freezer about 1 minute longer than written in the recipe
  • you can freeze baked cookies with the frosting, thaw in the fridge then leave at room temperature to warm up (my carrot cake freezes perfectly WITH the frosting, tastes almost like freshly made)
Carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frosting on a piece of parchment paper, topped with marzipan carrots and walnuts.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frosting

These delicious carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frosting are a must-have Easter dessert! They are thick, soft, chewy, filled with lots of carrots, crunchy nuts, oats, and flavored with cinnamon.
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Carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frosting on a piece of parchment paper topped with marzipan carrots and nuts.
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 19 cookies
Calories 237kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

for the cookies:

  • 1/2 cup (115g) soft butter
  • 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (155g) flour spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup carrots grated on the small holes of a box grater 120g, lightly packed, 1 large+1medium carrot
  • 1/2 cup (50g) roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup (100g) rolled oats not quick/instant

for the cream cheese frosting:

  • 4 tablespoons (60g) soft butter
  • 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
  • 8 oz (230g) cream cheese at room temperature

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C / Gas Mark 4, no fan (if you have a convection/fan oven reduce the temperature by about 20° or follow the manufacturer's instructions).
  • Add both types of sugar and room temperature butter into a mixing bowl. Beat for about 1-2 minutes until well-combined. You can use a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle-shaped attachment.
  • Add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat for 1-2 minutes or until well-combined.
  • Stir flour with baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl. Mix over low speed until half-combined (the flour shouldn’t be fully incorporated at this point).
  • Roughly chop walnuts, peel the carrots and grate them on the small holes of a box grater.
  • Add oats, grated carrots, and chopped nuts to the cookie batter. Mix over low speed until evenly distributed. Don’t mix the cookie dough for too long.
  • Scoop the dough with a 2-tablespoon scoop (each cookie dough ball should weigh about 35g, they should be rather small!) and place about 2-inches (5 cm) apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake the cookies in batches for about 15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden and the tops just very slightly golden (the cookies should be soft! – they will finish baking on the baking sheet). Leave the cookies for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a cooling rack using a spatula.
  • Make the cream cheese frosting: Beat the butter and powdered sugar (should be sifted!) with a mixer (fitted with a whisk attachment), for about 2-3 minutes, until fluffy (it will look crumbly at first, but just beat it until it's creamy). Add the cream cheese and mix until the frosting is smooth and fluffy. The order of adding ingredients is important!
  • When the cookies are completely cooled, spread the frosting over them.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • If you frosted warm cookies and the frosting starts to look runny but it quickly in the fridge to chill.
  • What is room temperature butter: when you press it with your finger, it should make an indent, but your finger should not slide all the way down. It’s also slightly cold to the touch.
  • How to quickly soften butter: I usually cut butter into small cubes and leave it on the counter for 10-15 minutes, it’s usually enough. Another option is to beat the butter with the mixer for about 1-2 minutes, then wait about 5 minutes.
  • How to measure flour: Fluff the flour by stirring it in the bag/flour container with a spoon. Spoon the flour and sprinkle it into your measuring cup. Sweep off the excess flour with the back of a knife. Note: using a scale yields perfect and consistent results.
  • Calories = 1 cookie (1/19 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
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