It’s a rainy Sunday, and I planned on spending the day cleaning the house, doing laundry, and doing a little baking. To me, there is nothing better than a whole day with nothing to do except look through your cookbooks and then bake a few things before starting on one of those dinner favorites that you don’t usually have time for.
Of course, it complicates matters when the cold and rain conspire to keep you inside. It makes for good baking weather, but not such great grocery shopping weather. The idea of bundling up, pulling out an umbrella and then standing all damp and cranky in a check-out line with a bunch of other damp and cranky people is completely unattractive to me. So I began rummaging through my pantry and fridge, trying to find inspiration for my baking project for the afternoon. Wow, pretty well stocked. I was just starting to get impressed with myself for having such a wide range of ingredients when I got this niggling little feeling about my eggs. I made eggs for breakfast yesterday… how many had I used? Uh oh. I wouldn’t have left one egg in the carton, would I? Oh, but I did. I saw my dreams of baking all afternoon dashed.
I half-heartedly looked through my cookbooks for a recipe that would only call for one egg. Sure, there were a few. But none of them sounded warm, rich, cakey, which is what I’m craving when it’s chilly. And then I found this gem: Inside-out Carrot Cake Cookies. And it only called for one egg! Not only that, but I had carrots, AND walnuts, AND raisins. So I felt a little bit better about my kitchen-stocking abilities after the egg disappointment.
I forged ahead and never looked back. The cookie part of this is basically made up of the same stuff you’d find in regular old carrot cake- carrots, your usual butter, sugar, egg situation, nuts, raisins, cinnamon, etc. The only difference is that the liquid is much less, because obviously we’re making cookie dough here as opposed to batter. But the taste is familiar. And the smell… as soon as you pop these guys in the oven, the cinnamon and vanilla take over. As if the cookies weren’t good enough already, you make a frosting of cream cheese and honey and sandwich the cookies with this delicious cream in the middle. The effect is startlingly good. Somehow the honey combined with the cream cheese tastes… I don’t know… clean and fresh. Because you how sometimes cream cheese frosting can coat your mouth and tongue and stick with you for a while? This doesn’t do that. It’s sweet, but not too sweet. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty much the whole point of the cookie for me.
However, if I made these again, I’d probably make a few changes. I’d probably make my cookies a little bit smaller next time. They were fine how they are, but I prefer a little smaller cookie, so I can justify eating more of them. And with all the frosting, these were pretty rich. Also, the original recipe called for ½ teaspoon salt, but I think it was a little much. I’ve changed it to ¼ of a teaspoon in the recipe below. Other than that, they were pretty delicious as they were- the perfect Sunday afternoon snack. My only disappointment was that they didn’t take very long to make at all. And so, with these cookies in my belly and no more eggs in the fridge, I’m left with the rest of the afternoon to do my laundry and clean the house. My kingdom for a dozen eggs!
Inside-Out Carrot Cake Cookies
Adapted from Gourmet
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely grated carrots (2-3 medium)
1 cup walnuts (3 ounces), chopped
1/2 cup raisins (2 1/2 ounces)
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup honey
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare two sheet pans (either grease or use Silpat).
Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
Beat together butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in carrots, nuts, and raisins at low speed, then add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
Drop 1 1/2 tablespoon batter per cookie, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are lightly browned and springy to the touch, about 15 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets for 1 minute, then transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.
While cookies are baking, whip cream cheese and honey with the electric mixer until smooth and slightly fluffy.
Sandwich flat sides of cookies together with a generous tablespoon of cream cheese filling in between.