Fall is in the air and I couldn’t be more excited! The weather has that perfect crispness to it, football is taking over my weekends and I’m starting to dream about all things warm and spicy. It’s the time of year for pumpkin scones, spiced pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie bites. It’s pretty clear that my fall repertoire tends to revolve around that picture perfect, round orange squash. How about we mix that up a little?
A warmly spiced, raisin studded carrot cake cookie. Moist, tender and sweetened with real maple syrup these cookies evoke all your favorite carrot cake flavors in a handheld, perfectly portable version. These cookies are made with whole wheat flour, oats and sweetened only with raisins, maple syrup and agave nectar, making them a fall treat you can feel good about feeding your family. Don’t worry, I didn’t leave out the best part … these cookies are topped with a delicious, naturally sweetened cream cheese icing!
These things are freakn’ delicious. My future husband polished off the batch and declared them the best cookies I’ve ever made. I’ll take that compliment. These are a perfect mix of autumn spices, packed with lots of walnuts and sweet raisins. They are moist, whole wheat and have a good amount of whole grain oats in each cookie. A word of warning: These cookies do not spread out when they are cooking so be sure to press the dough down into a proper cookie shape before baking!
I’d be lying if I said that my favorite part of a slice of carrot cake is the cake. Wrong. It’s always the cream cheese icing. How can you not love cream cheese icing when it’s paired with a spicy, carrot studded cake? I was dead set on finding a way to add a cream cheese frosting element to these little cookies. It’s just not carrot cake without the cream cheese frosting!
Since I wasn’t willing to use the pounds of powdered sugar usually required for cream cheese frosting, I experimented with a maple syrup sweetened icing. I’m happy to report that it worked out wonderfully! It’s very sweet so you only need a drizzle on each cookie. You could even decrease the amount of maple syrup if it’s too sweet for your tastes. A drizzle is more than enough to get the entire carrot cake experience in your mouth in one little cookie.
Carrot Cake Cookies
For the cookies:
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2/3 cup walnuts chopped
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 1 cup finely shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup agave nectar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the glaze:
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
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- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, salt and spices.
- Stir in walnuts, raisins and shredded carrots.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup maple syrup, agave nectar, oil and vanilla.
- Pour wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Drop rounded teaspoons of batter onto prepared pan. Press down to flatten and shape into circles.
- Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove to a wire cooling rack to cool.
- While cookies are baking, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in 4 tablespoons maple syrup and vanilla. Beat until smooth and thoroughly combined.
- Once cookies have cooled, drizzle cream cheese glaze over the top of each cookie.
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